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June 2013

It’s 1967 and you want to buy a new single-engine retractable. What are your options? Beech, Cessna, Mooney and Piper all have offerings, but you’re a loyal Piper flyer and want to stick with the brand. That still leaves you with two alternatives: the PA-24 Comanche and the newly introduced PA-28R-180 Cherokee Arrow.

The Comanche is fast and sleek. The Cherokee Arrow looks like and flies like—well, a Cherokee—which is not necessarily a bad thing, but here’s the clincher: the Arrow’s base price is just $16,900. The Comanche is groovy, but its $30,000-plus price tag is a bit of a bummer. Besides, the Arrow has that rad landing gear system.

The Arrow project began in 1964 as the Cherokee 180 C “Special.” Work focused initially on finding the right engine and nosewheel combination. The Lycoming O-360 was chosen originally and paired with various nosegear retraction systems, but none were suitable.

Eventually the fuel-injected IO-360 was chosen as it allowed room under the engine for gear retraction. It was necessary, however to reduce the nosewheel size to 500 x 5 inches to get the gear to fit.

September 2015

With a little (okay, a lot!) of help from his friends, Tom Grove’s Piper PA-28 Cherokee 235 was deemed Outstanding in Type at EAA AirVenture in 2014.

“I think I caught him in a weak moment,” PFA member Tom Grove explained to me when I asked him how he came to own his newest aircraft, a Cherokee 235. The previous owner—who flew it for 27 years—is a personal friend.

“The plane was all original until about 12 years ago,” he said. Then, his friend started some serious refurbishing. Today, it’s a top-of-the-line example of a legacy aircraft.

Grove also owns and flies a 1979 Tomahawk, which you’ll read about in a future issue of Piper Flyer. “I fly both [aircraft] pretty regularly,” he said. And he really enjoys flying around Texas with his buddies.

“I needed a good four-place airplane that could really carry four people, camping gear and other stuff,” he explained. The PA-28-235 allows him to do so easily. “I use it mostly for just playing around, getting hamburgers, flying to Louisiana to visit family, and an occasional long trip.”

 

Living the $100 hamburger life
As a retired American Airlines check airman, Tom Grove is fortunate enough to live a $100 hamburger life in his retirement. Residing at Eagle’s Nest Estates, an airpark community in Midlothian, Tex., with Rheta, his wife of 47 years, the couple has easy access to their planes, a 3,200-foot lighted runway in their backyard—and plenty of opportunities for socializing with fellow pilots.

Grove and his flying companions can enjoy breakfast or lunch at Lancaster Airport (KLNC) just six minutes away, or they can get a bowl of the best tortilla soup in Texas (Grove maintains that he and his friend Tim are tortilla soup experts!) at Dallas Executive (KRBD), just eight minutes away.

On the weekends, they can head out for the best Sunday brunch at Hicks Airport (T67), a short 12 minutes away. For a world-famous barbecue treat, they head west 32 minutes to the Hard Eight restaurant in Stephenville, Tex. (KSEP). (Regular readers of Piper Flyer may recall Hard Eight BBQ from an article entitled “Best of the Best Airport Restaurants.” This two-part series by Dan Pimentel ran in February and March 2015. —Ed.)

 

Cross-country Cherokee
Tom Grove does a lot more than fly-out lunch runs. Shortly after he acquired his 235, he and some friends took an extended flying trip from Texas to Utah, Nevada and Arizona. The mission, Grove told me, was to canyon fly—“and generally have fun,” he added.

Grove and his friends camped at the Utah Back Country Pilots fly-in held at Huntington, Utah. They also flew in to the private airstrip at Caveman Ranch Lodge in Moab, Utah.

When I asked him what the best part of the trip was, Grove quickly said, “I got to fly the Grand Canyon corridor and Canyonlands National Park (KCNY) twice with my longtime flying buds!”

Another unforgettable memory for Grove and his friends includes landing at Bullfrog Basin Airport (U07) on the Arizona/Utah border and spending time at a resort in Lake Powell. They arrived just before the United States government closed Glen Canyon National Recreation Area due to sequestration. “Fortunately,” Grove recalled, “it wasn’t closed by air! The park was really spectacular.”

 

A cool, fun flying machine
Many of Grove’s flying friends are well acquainted with aircraft restoration and have been closely involved in projects on N8771W. In fact, Grove’s 235 wouldn’t be the award-winning plane it is today without the help of many, many hands.

“I would like to thank all my friends at my home base (2TS6) for the hard work, long hours in cold and hot hangars, and the time and energy they’ve given to me and my airplanes,” Grove said.

“Without Jimmy, Steve, Marvin, Dan, Tim and JJ, my airplanes would just be pieces of dusty metal in a hangar, instead of really cool, fun flying machines that make great memories.”

 

“Phase one” upgrades
Firewall-forward
“In 2003, a collective effort was started to do a firewall-forward engine overhaul,” Grove explained. “Everything was removed from the engine compartment. The firewall, inside of the cowlings and engine mounts were carefully painted by Jimmy,” he said.

“The engine then went through a major overhaul, with lots of attention to detail by Jimmy, an A&P; Steve, an A&P/IA and me, the Master Flashlight-Holder, Tool Boy and Hangar Cleaner,” Grove recalled.

“After everything was assembled, the engine was painted Lycoming gray with crimson Millennium valve covers and hung back on the airplane.

“All hoses were replaced and firesleeved, along with the addition of a heavy-duty oil cooler and an Airwolf external spin-on oil filter,” he continued.

“The exhaust system was replaced, along with new ignition wires, all-new engine baffles and a new starter. A dual toe-brake system was added. All glass was replaced. Then, dual batteries were installed on an FAA Field Approval,” Grove explained.

The whole process took about a year.

 

Panel
In 2004, the Cherokee’s instrument panel underwent a partial overhaul. “At that time, they updated the panel shape—removed the big hump in the top—and overhauled the Century autopilot, attitude indicator and directional gyro,” he recalled.

“They also added an Electronics International instrument package, including an FP-5 Digital Fuel monitor; SC-5 Superclock, VA-1A Volts and Amps, OPT-1 Oil Pressure/Temperature, R-1 Tachometer and M-1 Manifold Pressure gauge.” An Insight engine analyzer (red LED) was also added.

 

Aesthetics
In 2006, the interior was redone. “The original design in 1964 did not include headrests,” Grove told me, so Steve and Jimmy installed later model front seats. They also removed the rear bench and added later model Piper individual seats in the back. New matching seatbelts were installed.

The aircraft then received a custom three-color leather interior, and matching carpet was installed by a company located at Northwest Regional Airport (52F) in Roanoke, Tex. (The shop has since closed due to the owner’s health. —Ed.) Also that year, third side windows were added.

 

Aerodynamics
N8771W received late model main landing gear wheel fairings, new wing gap seals and wing root fairings.

In addition, the previous owner added aileron and flap and stabilizer gap seals and a late model extended vertical fin stabilizer.

 

Paint
The airplane was repainted in 2007 at A-One Aircraft Paint on the field at Midway Airport (KJWY) in Waxahachie, Tex. The paint scheme is crimson and a two-tone gold. The tasteful design and colors were selected by the previous owner and his wife.

“The main color is sand, not white,” Grove said, “and one of the accent stripes is called ‘Las Vegas gold.’

“Several coats of paint plus two coats of clear coat make this plane look like a high-dollar, corporate-jet paint job,” he continued.

 

Acquiring the plane
“One day, my wife and I were flying back from Alexandria, La. (KAEX) in our Piper Tomahawk after visiting family. The airplane was loaded to maximum with her sewing equipment, which she needed for our bimonthly, week- or two-week visits,” Grove said.

“She mentioned, ‘We could use a four-place airplane that could carry more stuff—or people.’ Now, my wife, being as wise and practical as she is, was absolutely correct.”

He continued, “After some discussion on budget, we decided that maybe my good friend, Steve, might be willing to sell us his now-very-beautiful Piper Cherokee 235.

“After all, I had known the airplane for 10 years; it had even lived in our hangar for a few years when it was an ugly duckling in its original Piper orange and brown paint.”

Furthermore, Grove said, “I’d watched the engine go through a firewall-forward engine overhaul, partial panel upgrade, paint and interior. It seemed like a natural choice to make: low-time, clean airframe; low-time, bulletproof engine; and a good load hauler.

“The next day I called Steve and announced, ‘Steve, I would like to buy your 235.’
“I think he was in shock, because in all the years we had known each other, I’d never expressed an interest in buying it,” Grove explained. “In his disbelief, he tossed out a number you only give to a good friend.

“It was right in the middle of where I’d hoped it would be, and without hesitation, I said, ‘I’ll take it! I’ll be right there with a check.’”

“Before either one of us had a chance to get buyer’s or seller’s remorse, the deal was done. Within a day or two, we exchanged keys and paperwork and taxied the airplane over to my hangar.
“And that,” Grove said, “is how the good ones never make it into the classified ads!”

He added, “Since we live on the same airport community, Steve still has full visitation rights, and is still involved in all the new projects and maintenance.

“He also knows they keys are in it anytime he wants to visit his old friend of 27 years.”
Grove bought the plane in 2012 when it had about 2,700 hours total time.

“During the time my friend owned it, he’d installed a very nice IFR Narco radio stack,” Grove recalled. “I bought it with that panel. It had the old 1960s-style switches—and the old ‘60s wiring,” he said.
N8771W’s O-540 had 300 hours since overhaul, and the prop and governor had been overhauled at San Antonio Propeller.

Grove took it on the cross-country to Utah the following year, and soon, more improvements were to come.

 

Wiring
“After we returned from Utah, I decided to redo some things,” Grove said.

He took the plane to Avionics 1st at Dallas Executive (KRBD). “Dennis Sorber, Lloyd Timmons and Gus Moreno got rid of all the old switches and relays,” he recalled. “Dennis gutted almost all the old wiring and replaced it with very nice custom-built harnesses made on-premises.”

“An all-new split electrical bus system was installed; all circuit breakers were replaced with new; and a split master rocker switch was installed,” he said.

“They replaced the old 1960s toggle switches with very reliable factory rocker switches and dual avionics switches.” These electronics components give Grove excellent peace of mind.

 

Avionics
Grove started planning his instrument panel project several months before work began. “I used Panel Planner software from One Mile Up. It lets you select every radio, instrument, warning light, switch and knob,” he explained.

“The software allows you to rearrange your panel to your heart’s content—in full color and in full detail.

It even gives you a cost breakdown before any money is spent at your avionics shop,” Grove said.
“My actual panel was so close to the pictures I’d printed from the software, it was amazing.”

N8771W received a completely new upper and lower instrument panel. A new extra-strength metal panel was custom fitted, and all holes, circuit breakers, switch locations and flight instrument locations and controls were carefully placed to allow easy access and viewing.

“The completed panels were then painted to match my interior and sent to a silk-screening company to have all the labels, checklist and limitations imprinted,” he said.

“Next, Dennis Sorber and his team reinstalled my Aspen 2000 Evolution package,” he explained. “They had installed it a year earlier, complete with Synthetic Vision and Terrain Warning on both displays and XM weather.”

“In the center stack they installed a Garmin 340 intercom, and Garmin GNS 530 and GNS 430 WAAS. Just to the right of that, they reinstalled my Garmin 560, which also has a Garmin GDL 39 ADS-B receiver for additional stand-alone weather and traffic alerting,” he said.

“In the far right of the panel, they reinstalled my Century 21 autopilot and added an Aspen EA-100 autopilot interface to control it with digital precision. Just below the autopilot, they installed my Garmin 327 transponder.”

“I didn’t put in a big fancy analyzer,” Grove explained, “but the new G1 engine analyzer is a good color display instrument.

“It flattens the temperature bars, which makes it easy for leaning, and gives you numerical values for your EGT and CHT, as well as colored bars,” he said. “I usually see temps at about 370 to 380.”

“Avionics 1st is very easy to work with and provided a very nice finished panel. With such a large project, there were a few minor problems at completion time, but all items were resolved without hassle,” he said. “It’s a good shop; I will definitely use them again in the future.”

 

Other changes
The previous owner upgraded to a later model alternator for its better-quality electricity and higher capacity.

Grove upgraded to a later generation lightweight Sky-Tec starter and Sky-Tec starter relay. “The people at Sky-Tec in Granbury [Texas] are very friendly, and a treat to deal with,” he told me. “A great Texas company, full of Texas hospitality.”

Other aftermarket improvements include Bogert Aviation battery cables. “I’m a firm believer in Bogert cables. I’ve put Bogert on every plane I’ve ever had,” he commented.

He elected to keep the vacuum pump on the aircraft, just to have a truly free-standing backup system.

 

… and a Lindy Award winner, too!
With 46 years of flying and many more to come, Grove has made several trips to EAA AirVenture and other aviation events. With his Cherokee in such fine shape—and some pushing by friends JJ, Danna, Steve and Dan—Grove decided to admit the aircraft for judging in the Lindy Awards just two summers ago.

“Steve and I loaded up the 235 and headed for Oshkosh,” he said. “To our surprise, N8771W received the award for ‘Outstanding in Type’ in the Contemporary (1956-1970) class for 2014.

“The paint job is what probably won me the award at Oshkosh!” he joked. (That, and all the help from his friends!)

“It was a real honor to be chosen from so many airplanes for an award at such a great worldwide event,” Grove said.

“But just as rewarding was the smile on Steve’s face when we walked up to the airplane and saw the announcement hanging from the prop.

“We were like two proud parents—didn’t stop smiling for weeks!”

 

Heather Skumatz is managing editor for Piper Flyer. Send questions or comments to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

RESOURCES >>>>>

Airwolf Filter, LLC
airwolf.com

A-One Aircraft Paint
a-1aircraftpaint.com

Aspen Avionics
aspenavionics.com

Avionics 1st
avionics1st.com

Bogert Aviation
– PFA supporter
bogertaviation.com

Electronics International
– PFA supporter
buy-ei.com

Garmin
– PFA supporter
garmin.com/en-US/explore/intheair

Insight Instrument Corp.
– PFA supporter
insightavionics.com

One Mile Up, Inc.
panelplanner.com

San Antonio Propeller Service
sanantoniopropeller.com

Sirius XM/XM WX Weather
– PFA supporter
xmwxweather.com/aviation

Sky-Tec Partners Ltd.
skytecair.com

Utah Back Country Pilots
utahbackcountrypilots.org

Thursday, January 15 2015 00:00

The World's Nicest Tomahawk

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January 2015-

When I was a student pilot, I wasn't much of a Tomahawk fan. The aircraft had a reputation for being difficult to fly well. Years later, one of my students bought one—and I got to fly the little Piper for the purpose it was intended. That's when my opinion changed for the better.

Wednesday, April 23 2014 11:22

The PA-18 Super Cub

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December 2005- It was the last of the old-time bush and utility planes. It was in production longer than it takes for a human to go from birth to embarrassing 40th birthday presents and parties. It first flew shortly after the Greatest Generation won the “big one,” and is still flying today during a much different but equally important conflict.

The Piper Super Cub, an apt name when comparing it to its forbears the J-2 and J-3, has appeared in more guises and configurations over the years than Liz Taylor or Prince. I don’t think you can name a realm of flight, except perhaps space flight, that the Super Cub hasn’t taken part in.

Wednesday, April 30 2014 22:02

Two-Seat T-Tailed Trainer PA-38 Tomahawk

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May 2014- It was a rather long road to certification for the airplane which eventually became the Tomahawk, with lots of starts and stops along the way. 

Piper began design of a two-seat, low-wing tricycle gear training aircraft in 1958. It was to feature side-by-side seating and be made of fiberglass reinforced plastic with a gross weight of 1,500 pounds.

PA-29

The first (and as it turned out, only) prototype—N2900M—was completed in spring 1962 and was designated the PA-29 Papoose. It boasted an all-moving horizontal tail, flaperons and a 108 hp Lycoming O-235-C1B engine.

Piper management seems to have been underwhelmed by the plane and initiated a project review to determine the model’s viability.

Concerns were raised about the longevity of the fiberglass material and it was decided that prototypes should be sent to Arizona and Lock Haven to test the material’s ability to withstand summer heat and winter cold.

Other changes were suggested and eventually N2900M received new wings, which met with mixed reviews and added 30 pounds to the empty weight of the plane.

Piper management discussed the future of the PA-29 and considered dropping the project altogether, but really seemed to want a replacement for the PA-22-108 Colt, so they moved forward with the Papoose project. Howard Piper continued to mull over the advisability of committing to fiberglass construction.

Over the next couple of years changes were made to N2900M which included extended wingtips, centering springs on the flaperon system and other fixes. In 1964 a complete redesign was proposed with two possible variations for the canopy, larger wings and a change in material from a paper honeycomb construction to an aluminum honeycomb construction.

None of the proposed changes for the PA-29 were undertaken. Piper had begun production of the two-seat Cherokee 140 in 1964 and it seemed a safer bet to stay with that more tried-and-true design.

Piper’s historian Roger Peperell believes that the Papoose took its last flight on Feb. 22, 1965.

PA-38

Although Piper executives had dropped the Papoose project, the company continued to look into other possibilities for its training fleet and in 1969 began development of the PA-38. The project was cancelled rather abruptly in July 1970, but Piper continued its market research of the flight training segment by testing competitive aircraft and through market surveys.

In 1972 Piper sent a survey to 10,000 flight instructors throughout the United States asking them what features they would most like in a training aircraft. The top five responses were “handling characteristics,” “performance,” “operating costs,” “cabin comfort” and “price.”

With this information at hand, Piper restarted the Light Trainer program with Richard Kroeger as project director.

Both two- and four-place aircraft were designed, and a wing based on a modified Whitcomb GA (W)-1 airfoil was tested and was fitted to the prototype. It had a conventional low tail and a 100 hp Continental O-200 engine held on by a sheet metal mount rather than the more standard steel tubular mount. Airflow problems created by the sheet metal mount were to be worked out during testing.

Although Kroeger left Piper in 1973*, work continued on the PA-38 for a short time. The prototype received new wheel fairings, wing fences, a new aft fuselage fairing and other changes, but the project was stopped in October 1973 and the prototype was disassembled and stored.

In September 1974 the PA-38 once again resurfaced as the “New” Light Trainer Project. The previous prototype was reassembled with changes; the sheet metal engine mount was scrapped in favor of a tube steel mount used to affix a Lycoming O-234 115 hp engine to its front. It also received sprung-steel landing gear, a new cowl and a change to the fuselage at the door.

Lynn Helms had been hired as Piper’s president in 1974 and he thought T-tails would help to modernize the Piper fleet. The PA-38 received a T-tail in 1976. Despite its modern T-tail, the Piper board would not approve production of the model and the project was once again scrapped on May 25, 1976.

Under the direction Bill Barnhouse, the project was re-re-revived in late 1976. Changes were made to the flaps, wings and ailerons and a 112 hp Lycoming O-235-L2C was fitted to the airframe. A bubble-like cockpit provided exceptional visibility.

Finally the PA-38-112 (now dubbed Tomahawk) was approved for production. It was presented to Piper dealers and training centers in October 1977 to good effect and 1,400 pre-orders were taken. It received its certification on Dec. 20, 1977. Deliveries began in April at a price of $15,280.

Magneto failures caused the FAA to temporarily suspend the Tomahawk’s Airworthiness Certificate in September 1978, but the problem was corrected and production resumed.

Additional stall strips (above what had already been originally certified) became standard equipment on the PA-38 from January 1979 on, and Piper issued a Service Bulletin recommending installation of the additional strips for earlier models. In 1983 AD 83-14-08 was issued and it required (among other things) installation of Piper Flow Strip Installation Kit, Part No. 763-930.

In March 1981 Piper began deliveries of the Tomahawk II. This model came with improved cabin heating and windshield defroster performance, an improved elevator trim system, improved engine thrust vector, better cockpit soundproofing, larger six-inch wheels and tires for greater propeller ground clearance, and improved performance on grass and dirt runways, among other enhancements.

Sales of the Tomahawk II were poor and the model met its final end in 1982.

A total of 2,519 Tomahawks left the Piper production line and about 649 remain on the FAA registry.

Flying characteristics

The Tomahawk received a reputation for being dangerous in a spin, and in fact in 1997 the NTSB estimated that the Tomahawk’s stall/spin accident rate was three to five times that of the Cessna 150/152.

The AOPA’s Tomahawk Safety Review published in 1997 researched this apparent tendency. The report states, “Looking at the stall/spin scenarios in some detail, we found that the vast majority of them occurred at low altitude where, by our estimate, it would have been difficult—if not impossible—to recover from an incipient spin, regardless of aircraft type.”

It offered this advice for pilots and prospective pilots of the aircraft: “Some Tomahawk critics contend that the aircraft should not be stalled or spun. After looking at hundreds of accidents involving both the PA-38 and comparable aircraft, we note that some caveats are in order.

“No aircraft should be stalled or spun at low altitude, but we would extend the margins a bit in a PA-38. Before going solo, pilots should check out with an instructor who has considerable spin experience in the PA-38 and should have spins demonstrated to them, if circumstances permit, in strict accordance with the POH.”

Designed by a committee of thousands

The Tomahawk was—and is—a unique aircraft. You would think that designing an aircraft to the specifications of its end users would be a winning approach, but the process to get the Tomahawk to market seems remarkably convoluted.

The Tomahawk is nonetheless appreciated by its adherents and with cruise speed ranging from 90 to 110 knots, a fuel flow of about five gph and a range (with reserves) of more than 400 miles, it’s still used today as both a trainer and economical personal transport.

Jennifer Dellenbusch is president of the Piper Flyer Association. Send questions or comments to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

*Roger Peperell tells the story of Richard Kroeger’s post-Piper deeds. He writes, “Richard Kroeger left Piper in September 1973 and went to the University of Michigan, where he refined the design of his ‘light trainer’ in February 1974. Not surprisingly the design looked similar to the Piper ‘light trainer.’ Beech Aircraft [was] offered the design, which they accepted and it became the Beech model 77 Skipper that went on sale in 1979 and explains why the Skipper looks similar to the PA-38.”

RESOURCES

“AOPA Tomahawk Safety Review” by Bruce Landsberg

http://www.aopa.org/News-and-Video/All-News/1997/February/1/Tomahawk-Safety-Review


Sunday, January 13 2013 11:54

The Future: Cherokee Six Avionics Upgrade

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January 2005

I have seen the future. I have seen the future and it was installed in a 1976 Cherokee Six. As I sat in the cockpit of N4300F, it dawned on me that what I was looking at was the future of General Aviation.

Airframe and powerplant advances in General Aviation aircraft are virtually impossible to find. With few exceptions like the Cirrus, we are flying the same designs behind the same power plants that were designed in the 1950s. But avionics have made terrific advances.

It would stand to reason that a tried-and-true airframe and powerplant combination combined with modern electronics would create the next generation of personal aircraft. That is essentially what the factories are selling.

That is what I found when I arrived at Peninsula Avionics at the Tamiami Airport (KTMB) in Miami, Fla. Shop owners Jim Prince, a virtually newly minted pilot, and his partner Nick Popvski were understandably proud of their “new” toy.

Thursday, January 22 2015 00:00

Comanche Mods List

Written by

February 2005-

ACD Corporation
Tacoma Narrows Airport
Gig Harbor, WA 98335
Installation of Truboplus/Electronics Int'l Gauges and switches.

Monday, April 21 2014 12:04

The Airplane They Named a Wing After

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October 2005- Few airplanes qualify as icons: Say the name, and everyone (within reason) will know what you mean, though this can sometimes be misleading.

Say “Cessna,” and everyone will assume you mean a high-wing, fixed-gear single. Say “Cherokee” and you must be talking about a low-wing single, fixed-gear single. There are exceptions in each case—Cessna 210’s and Piper Arrows are both retractables—but you get the idea.

Say “Warrior,” though, and you’ll get a different reaction. People who know a little about airplanes will say, “Isn’t that a Cherokee?” And they’ll be right… mostly.

Sunday, November 18 2012 13:41

Piper's Ubiquitous Cherokee

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October 2004 -

If you tell someone you fly a Piper PA-28, you should be a little more specific. There is a choice of 12 separate types with a dozen different names and at least 30 variations on those themes. And they have straight wings or tapered wings and T-tails and flying tails. They range from 113-knot two-seaters to 175-kt cross-country speedsters.

PA-28s comprise the largest number of aircraft Piper has produced over the last 40 years. It all started innocently in the early 1950s, when Piper Aircraft Co. saw the need to supplement—if not replace—their tube and fabric aircraft.

They had been successful with the PA-22 Tri-Pacer, of which they had built nearly 4,500 from 1950 to 1956, but chief competitor Cessna was beginning to corner a big share of the single-engine market with their all-metal 180 (at twice the price) and was making plans to add more models to their line, while Beech's successful Bonanza was defining GA aircraft of the future.

I  learned to fly in Cessna 150 rental airplanes out of Colts Neck, N.J., a half-mile dirt strip. When the pressure from real estate developers outweighed the interests of a few grass-strip banner-towing pilots in 1988, Colts Neck closed, and I considered buying one of the student-rental airplanes. My pre-purchase inspection became a “no-purchase” inspection and I ended up buying N4372J, a friend’s 1967 Cherokee PA-28-140. It had lousy paint, a torn-up interior, a chewed-up
propeller... and wonderful handling. From 1988 through 1995, N4372J got an intercom wired in, a new propeller, new paint, a fixed-up interior, a better radio and the other usual improvements we read about in Piper Flyer. It also received a LyCon 160 hp engine upgrade through Western Skyways.

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