Command-Aire started in 1926 as the Arkansas Aircraft Co. Inc. of Little Rock, Arkansas.
The 3-C-3 was one of the most pleasant and stable aircraft of the 1920’s. In the companies “hands off” flight demonstration, the fearless pilot would climb out of the cockpit and straddle the turtle deck like a horse while the aircraft cruised the skies, this proved a quite effective sales technique.
One year after Lindbergh’s record flight, the number of aircraft manufacturing companies rose 300 percent. In 1928 over 180 manufacturers existed, of which only 109 were able to produce a single aircraft. In 1929 Command-Aire was one of the top manufacturers and was recognized for having one of only two designs to pass the Guggenheim Safety Trial, in which all existing aircraft designs were flown and judged for safety. In 1930 the company entered their “Little Rocket,” in the All American Derby. The aircraft won the 5,500 mile race and $15,000 prize (a fortune in the depression) with an average speed on 127mph. Command-Aire despite all of its successes was unable to survive the post-depression era and closed their doors forever in 1931.
The 3-C-3 is similar in construction to most aircraft of the period and used a war surplus OX-5 engine. One of the notable features was the metal cowls, cockpit and turtle deck which made half the aircraft metal covered–not fabric covered. The aircraft was controlled by push-pull tubes and bell cranks, there were no wires, cables or pulleys.
The 3-C-3 sold for $5500 in 1929, this aircraft was delivered by Rail car to its first owner in Santa Barbara, Ca. In the 1930’s it was owned by Walter Ballard, a pioneer pilot with TWA.