The Rockwell Aero Commander (AC-500S) is a versatile and stable high-winged twin piston-engine aircraft that is suitable for a variety of missions. Standard configuration allows for mission equipment and two pilots. However, with the scientific packages removed, seating for five additional passengers may be installed. NOAA's two aero commanders are utilized primarily as aerial survey platforms for visual verification of aeronautical charts, high-resolution aerial photography, and snow water equivalent and soil moisture content measurements. Additionally, the aircraft has been used in biological investigations, such as algal bloom measurements and sea turtle population assessments, and post-hurricane and severe flood damage assessment photography.
The Shrike is one of the world's finest examples of this fast and capable cabin twin.