Flight Test Assessment: Piper PA-22 ColtWritten by Nick Bloom
With 150 hp (the original had just 108 hp) Piper’s rag-and-tube nosewheel classic is a “no-worries airplane”
Frank Rothera would be the first to admit that his Piper Colt has a look that is.... well, let’s say striking. “The paint scheme was the previous owner’s,” he says. “And I didn’t feel like changing it, since all the fabric and paint work had just been done when I bought the airplane.”
It seems that the previous owner was a sales representative for a company selling house paint. “No doubt that explains the bizarre colors,” says Rothera.
Rothera is retired now—he used to be a mining engineer—and the Colt was in pieces when he bought it. That was eight years ago. The previous owner had been working on restoring the airplane for 10 years, then decided to sell up. Rothera paid $5,000 for work on the airframe and $7,500 for the engine and propeller overhaul.
“The airplane ended up costing a lot more than if I’d bought a Colt that was already flying,” he admits, “but this way I figured I wouldn’t have to pay any big maintenance bills for the next 10 years or so. Take that into account, and I consider that it was a good investment.”