April 2014- The PA-23 Apache was Piper’s first twin engine aircraft. In 1952 Piper began construction and testing of a prototype, but the original design—with 125 hp engines, a twin tail arrangement and fabric covering—was unsuccessful.
The aircraft was tweaked and the new design included 150 hp Lycoming engines, retractable landing gear, constant speed full feathering Hartzell propellers, all metal construction and a more conventional single tail.
Now called the Apache, the 150 hp prototype flew in 1953. The design received its FAA type certificate on Jan. 29, 1954. There were 2,047 Apaches and 4,930 Aztec models produced from 1954 to 1982, including a few U.S. Navy models.