Investor Breathes Life into Aero Commander Rebirth Bid

Dating back to the 1970s, the Aero Commander line of piston singles had limited success in the marketplace, but the airplane still enjoys strong support among its proponents. They appreciate its large, comfortable cabin and two-door ease of entry, as well as its tall, trailing-link landing gear and sleek appearance. Now, a former Commander owner has a plan to restart the production line at its Cape Girardeau, Missouri factory, but faces some formidable obstacles. Ronald Strauss, a European investor currently living in Montreal, has proposed a deal to purchase the manufacturing rights through a newly formed company named Aero-Base. But the terms reportedly must include a viable settlement on the factory building, itself. The previous holder of the aircraft's rights owes 18 months of unpaid rent to the town of Cape Girardeau (which built the building and still owns it) to the tune of close to a half million dollars. The cost to construct the facility and maintenance costs have stretched the city's resources to their limits. Aero-Base would have to convince city officials that, as the fourth company to attempt a restart of production of the aircraft line, it is a viable risk. If Aero-Base is successful, Strauss promises, he will upgrade the product line.