For those of us that are Piper Flyer Association (PFA) members, we get it. For the cost of several gallons of Avgas each year, we’re members of this great organization. The value proposition is obvious; we get more out of the organization than it costs.
For those pilots and Piper owners who aren’t members, the value isn’t so obvious. After all, PFA is not EAA, nor is it anything like AOPA. Rather, PFA is a type club. Collectively, we are members that have Piper airplanes.
That alone—being a Piper pilot and/or owner—makes... Read more
Alaska is called The Last Frontier for good reason. The state has over 500,000 acres of uninhabited land (about 94 percent of its total acreage). It’s home to about 30,000 brown bears (grizzlies included), as many as 100,000 black bears and a far smaller number of (estimates say under 5,000) polar bears. Caribou and the largest subspecies of moose (Alces alces gigas) roam across the state. And it’s mountainous. Seventeen of the tallest peaks in the United States are located there.
Then there’s the weather: strong, variable winds and ice. The... Read more
Shell Oil issued the following press release on Dec. 1, 2013:
SHELL REMOVES LEAD FROM LIGHT AIRCRAFT FUEL
Shell today became the first major oil company to develop a lead-free replacement for Aviation Gasoline (Avgas 100 and 100LL), which will now begin a strict regulatory approvals process. Avgas is one of the last common transportation fuels to contain lead and is used by light aircraft and helicopters. Shell’s new lead-free formulation comes after 10 years of exhaustive R&D, as well as successful initial testing, carried out in the last two months... Read more
Since its introduction in 1956, Cessna’s 172 had been dominating the single-engine market, both for personal use and flight training. The folks at Piper thought a version of its popular Cherokee line—with a higher useful load and minimum-four-place design—might give Cessna a run for its money.
Using the longer fuselage of the Archer, Piper added a large all-moving horizontal tail and a new semi-tapered wing, subsequently nicknamed the “Warrior wing.” According to Piper’s official historian Roger Peperell, “the wing was not constant chord planform as used on the existing Cherokees, but... Read more
I recalled from my days as a tech rep that the most common failure of a light airplane fuel bladder is age-related deterioration of the top surface due to long-term exposure to heat. So my first thought was to dig back into the airplane records to find out if the airplane’s right bladder had ever been changed.
Then I remembered—I’d bought my Piper Comanche, Papa, at below market value because the maintenance records only covered the preceding three years.
Being an experienced A&P mechanic, I figured I would be... Read more
Over the years I have relished the challenge of the efficiencies of packing. Early in my life, I owned a Corvair, notably short of space when packing for a 10-day vacation involving some camping along with some hoteling. When I was finished, the car held everything—but no more toothbrushes, please.
Several years later I was again challenged when packing for a week’s vacation on the Outer Banks of North Carolina—and it all had to fit in a C-172 along with two adults and three young children. Again, it was a success... Read more
Ever since the dawn of the Computer Age, two engineering factions have regularly engaged in trench warfare. One group believes that hardware-centric devices are inherently more stable solutions for an engineering problem, while the other group—the software-centric crowd— believes that its approach offers greater flexibility for less money.
Garmin, arguably the best-known purveyor of aviation GPS devices, thinks that in the case of passive ADS-B devices, both approaches should be offered to the marketplace to allow the customer to choose which is best.
Enter the GDL 39 Portable ADS-B Datalink—and its handmaidens,... Read more
All pilots should visit the place where it all started.
I’ve been a pilot almost all of my adult life. I love machines that fly, the people who fly them fascinate me, and I am sort of an armchair historian of aviation. I’ve been to every major airshow on the planet, and visited most every significant aviation museum that is open to the public. But in all this time, I had never managed to get to the Wright Brothers memorial at Kill Devil Hills, N.C.
I’ve flown over it a hundred... Read more
If you’ve never thought that your propeller will need an overhaul, think again.
Without a doubt they’re the hardest working, most underappreciated part of your airplane. I’m of course talking about your propeller.
Most of us just think of a propeller as a chunk of metal spinning around on the front of our airplane. How wrong we are.
Your propeller is one of the most highly stressed components on your airplane. During normal operation it has to withstand 10 to 20 tons of centrifugal force, which is trying to pull the... Read more
July 2013 -
April 21, 2013 1340Z
"Columbus Clearance, Shane 1. Through the Warren County RCO requesting VFR Flight Following to South Bend Regional at six thousand, five hundred."
"Shane 1, Columbus Approach. Good morning, squawk 6666; maintain VFR and contact Columbus Approach on 118.55 when airborne."
"Columbus Approach, Shane 1. Squawk 6666; contact Columbus on 118.55. We'll be airborne shortly."
On a see-forever Sunday morning in late April, I'm sitting in a twin engine airplane at I68, Lebanon-Warren County airport, 20 miles north of Cincinnati. In the back is Chuck DiGiovanna. He was supposed... Read more
STC packages for your Cherokee
If the engine on your PA-28-140 or PA-28-151 is getting tired and it’s time to do something about it, you have a few options to consider. You can get a factory rebuilt engine from Lycoming, an overhaul from an engine shop or install a brand-new engine. You can also take your engine to RAM Aircraft to have one of its engine STCs installed.
RAM Aircraft, based in Waco, Tex. was founded in 1976 and has spent the intervening years honing the craft of overhauling and improving... Read more
Several months ago (“Heading Bug,” June 2012) columnist David Hipschman weighed in with his ideas about what to carry in your Piper for emergencies, and he shared what he carries:
“Here’s what is currently in my ditch case. But I need to point out that it changes often as I come across things I like, or contemplate flights that differ in their potential for survival challenges:
A comprehensive first aid kit (unless you have a medical background, get a kit with good instructions in case what might happen exceeds your knowledge)... Read more
Freshening up your aircraft’s interior can be an important update for many reasons. In addition to looking good, it increases your and your passengers’ comfort. New carpet and seat coverings often add value to your aircraft while reducing cockpit noise and vibration.
Many pilots dream of the day their airplane’s cockpit is a Perfect 10, and for many, leather seats are at the top of the wish list. “There is nothing more beautiful than a leather interior in a plane—especially one that is custom designed in colors to give the... Read more
You can’t get there from here? Yes you can… if you fly your own airplane!
I’ve been a fan of flying since I was a little kid—and I’m going to be 60 in February. I grew up in Bensenville, Ill. just a mile away from O’Hare (KORD) and I would ride my bike down to Runway 14R all the time to watch the DC-3s, Electras and DC-6s.
I started training for my private pilot certificate in 1980, and flew about 50 hours. Then my first son was born—this may sound... Read more
IN A TOUGH ECONOMY, AIRSHOWS ARE STILL RIDING A WAVE OF POPULARITY.
There are now more than 325 airshows held each year across North America drawing millions of spectators. This year, airshow promoters expect attendance numbers of 10 to 12 million which illustrates that even in a recession, airshow attendance is strong. Why? Airshows are one of the best entertainment values around.
Consider a trip to Disneyland. Tickets for a family of two adults and two children to step through the gates of the Magic Kingdom total just over $250, and that’s... Read more
In the first few decades of the aviation age, airplanes quickly became a part of Americans’ daily lives. In addition to providing invaluable service in World War II, aircraft also served in a war against six-legged pests.
The first known use of a heavier-than-air machine occurred in August 1921. A United States Army Air Service Curtiss JN-4 Jenny piloted by John A. Macready was modified at McCook Field to spread lead arsenate to kill Catalpa Sphinx caterpillars at a farm near Troy, Ohio. This first test was considered highly successful.
The first... Read more
The object of an annual inspection is to determine that the aircraft is in condition for safe operation and complies with the type certificate. Here are some practical suggestions from an A&P/IA. I am often asked by aircraft owners, “What can I do to reduce the cost of an annual inspection?” and I will offer some suggestions and observations in this article. The key lies in preparation for the annual.
Owner Maintenance Owners performing maintenance should coordinate their efforts with their mechanic/inspector. Check with your inspector prior to changing the engine... Read more
I came to own piper(Papa), a 1960 PA-24 in a roundabout way. I had been screening ads in Trade-A-Plane and on the Internet for another airplane. I had studied Mooney, Beech and Cessna options but the airplanes that fit my needs were either quirky in some way or beyond my means.
I had previously owned a 1947 Piper PA 12. (Editor’s Note: For the story of Steve’s PA-12 see “My First Airplane, What Mike Taught Me About Flying”) June 2011, Piper Flyer) It was a very simple airplane and didn't burn... Read more
According to FAR Part 43 Appendix A, “Major Alterations, Major Repairs, and Preventive Maintenance,” aircraft owners are permitted to service the spark plugs in their engine. The following should help owners get more acquainted with this task.The short list of removal and reinstallation tools include a six-point 7/8-inch deep socket; a ratchet wrench and extensions that fit the socket; either a ¾-inch or 7/8-inch open-ended wrench to remove and reinstall the spark plug high-tension leads; a torque wrench to insure that the plugs are tightened properly during re-installation; and some... Read more
“Pilot Report: Gorgeous!” That’s what I said when closing my flight plan after a two hour air tour during a flying vacation in (and over) Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons, two of the premier vacation destinations in the U.S. Both parks and related areas, including the resort town of Jackson Hole, Wyo., turned out to be particularly well suited for a flying vacation—in fact, as our photos show, some features really can’t be fully appreciated unless you see them from the air.The scenery in both parks is so spectacular that... Read more
In October of 1958, Piper proposed a twin-engine version of the successful Comanche single. This was not the PA-30 Twin Comanche, the planning of which had begun two years earlier but development and production of which would be several years hence (thus the skip in numeric order). Piper initially planned for the model to be developed in California by Bill Lear, and would furnish a PA-24 Comanche airframe and two 200 hp IO-360 engines. Whether this actually ever happened is not recorded, but in 1962 the PA-30 project was given... Read more
Most aircraft profiles start out with a long dissertation on the history of the aircraft’s type and its lineage—blah, blah, blah—okay, so here’s what you need to know to set the stage for this story.
The PA-23 Apache/Aztec was the first twin-engine aircraft built by the Piper Aircraft Company, and between 1952 and 1981 they turned out nearly 7,000 of them. Of all of the surviving airworthy Aztecs, the one owned by father and son partners Jerry and David Naylor is, without a doubt, the coolest, most technically advanced of them... Read more