Almost 50 years after it was designed, the Aerostar remains both an enigma and the hottest GA piston twin in the world. Its reputation for performance comes hand in hand with a less desirable one, myth or otherwise, of rather tricky handling. I was lucky enough to flight test the ultimate manifestation of the design—the Aerostar Super 700—that won the 2001 London to Sydney Air Race.
The Aerostar was the culmination of a legacy of design firsts from one of the 20th century’s great aeronautical engineers. His name was Ted Smith, an American pivotal in the design of many record-breaking aircraft, including the Douglas A-20 Havoc bomber—better known to Brits as the Boston.
Ted Smith also designed the Aero Commander, an aircraft made famous by display pilot Bob Hoover that is often mistaken for the Aerostar. Smith set about designing the Aerostar in 1964.