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10 Nov 2021 15:20 #3227

Eric,

N1189P is a beautiful airplane and I have had the pleasure of flying her. a good friend of mine Rich owned it and did all the Avionics upgrades in it. Glad to see you are enjoying it!

-Levi Vickers

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27 Oct 2021 21:58 #3218


Lots of stuff fit in that Apache. But we had room for more! Although maybe not much more....


We called ahead and had a rental car waiting when we got there.


The weather was perfect for all the flying days even though it rained between.

We just got in from a fun 4 day family trip. Three of us went to Louisville, KY to visit family and we typically would have driven (7 hours of driving time!) or gone by Regional Jet (sigh). So the Apache got used for the perfect trip for that little plane. We loaded up all the "stuff" a family takes (including presents). We were pretty much at gross with 5 hours of fuel. But no issues and with a little headwind we got up there in about 2:15. I filed IFR more for practice than anything as the weather was perfect. Some rain came through Louisville but when my niece asked for a ride it had cleared out and we had a fun time letting her "sightsee" and enjoy the view above the clouds. It was just a short half hour flight but I burned off some of the extra fuel in the aux tanks so I wouldn't be quite so heavy going back as I really didn't need the extra fuel. We got more rain but again it cleared and we had a great day to come back. I had planned on a bigger tailwind but didn't really get it until I got up to 11,000' just before getting to NC. Return trip was about 2:02. I was concerned that we might get too cold at 11,000' but since the sun was out it actually worked out well although we had blankets. Heater isn't installed yet! Apache flew well even at gross but it was cooler weather and that always helps.

Now we plan on installing the Bogert copper starter cables and hopefully we will get the new gauges installed soon as well.

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19 Oct 2021 01:26 #3208


Two vintage Pipers sharing the ramp. The Comanche was getting checked for possibly being bought.

My mechanic buddy and I flew down to the South Carolina coast to check out a possible Piper Comanche to buy and fix for a flip. The flight was about 168 nm and I figured about 1.5 hours flight time. That would be in still air, which we didn't have! So we went down very quickly doing about 180 mph average ground speed at 7,500' and came back at about 130 mph average at 6,500'. The trip down was about 1:15 and back was 1:45 so winds do make a difference. Going Apache slow means the winds make a bigger percentage difference too! We probably would have been faster coming back a little lower but it was smoother up high and I like a little altitude anyway.

We got to try out the new Rosen visors for the first time as we left late and headed into the sun. We were trying out all the tech and everything was working great. I'm very pleased with how well the autopilot works, it is a favorite feature!

We haven't decided on whether to buy the Comanche at this point. It will need some serious attention to get it up to flying status but there seems to be a lot of good left in the plane. Hard to see such a nice plane going to waste.

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Last edit: 19 Oct 2021 01:38 by Eric Parks.

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17 Oct 2021 02:44 #3206

Let’s look at a few “myths” about the Piper Apache. Please remember that the Apache was Piper’s first twin and was very early in a long list of now familiar twins. So with all the history for the Apache it isn’t surprising that a few stories have built up around it.

Myth #1
1. You can’t crossfeed an engine from an aux tank.

Not true.

This little “untrue” fact has gotten on the internet and is repeated even though it is incorrect. In reality as long as the fuel selector is set to a tank that has fuel and either the engine driven fuel pump or the electric aux fuel pump are operating on that side you can supply fuel to both engines. As long as you have one side selected to a tank with fuel in it and at least one pump running you can open the crossfeed and supply both engines at once from the same tank, Main or Aux.

Note: The Apache came with 36 gallon Mains and optional 18 gallon Auxiliary tanks in each wing.

Myth #2
2. The Apache was originally designed by Stinson and when Piper bought Stinson they used the Twin Stinson design to create the Apache.

Not true.

This one shocked me! The internet has repeated this story so much I “knew” it was true. Jennifer Dellenbush writes in the July 2018 issue of Piper Flyer magazine that on researching the subject (there’s a novel thought, research!) that there is no evidence of Stinson designing the airplane we now know as the Piper Apache. Apparently when Piper first bought Stinson they initially considered marketing the new twin they were working on as a Stinson but later changed their mind and it “became” a Piper. However, it was designed and built by Piper all along. It IS true that the original prototype Apache (called at the time “Twin Stinson”) had a fabric covered fuselage, 135 hp engines with fixed pitch props and a twin H vertical stab tail (like a B-25). All these features were changed in the final design.


The infamous "Twin Stinson" that was actually a Piper Apache prototype!

Myth #3
3. The Piper Apache has the worst single engine performance of any twin.

Not true. Well, not completely true…

The Piper Apache started out with 150 hp engines and later versions used 160 and 235 hp engines. But I will use the 150 hp for comparison. Let’s take a look at the Apache compared to a few other twins.

Piper Twin Comanche 160 hp SE rate-of-climb 260 fpm
Piper Apache 150 hp SE rate-of-climb 240 fpm
Beech Duchess 180 hp SE rate-off-climb 235
Piper Seneca II 200 hp SE rate-of-climb 225 fpm
Piper Seminole 180 hp SE rate-of-climb 212 fpm
Beechcraft TravelAir 180 hp SE rate-of-climb 205 fpm
Grumman Cougar 160 hp SE rate-of-climb 200 fpm - Note: I earned my multi-engine rating in this plane!
Piper Turbo Seminole 180 hp SE rate-of-climb 180 fpm

You can see by the numbers that the Piper Apache is NOT the WORST but in reality this is a pretty lousy group to be in. The Apache got even worse later with the 160 hp version getting only 180 fpm (OK, this version of the Apache is tied for the worst!) and the 235 hp version getting 220 fpm. You ask why? Because the gross weight on later models went up more than the horse power! To be fair the 150 hp Apache does not have as much margin in gross weight and typically the other planes would probably be further from their certified gross weights and therefore may actually beat the Apache in the real world due to better useful load margins. Light piston twins don’t have great singe engine performance, period.

Another factor to keep in mind is that any Apache is pretty old at this point and these planes have quite a bit of use on them. Most likely many of them will not perform quite as well as they did when they were brand new and being flown by a test pilot. Also, since the Apache was a trainer a lot of these stories came from pilots that earned their multi-engine rating in the Apache. They probably didn’t have the absolute best techniques when flogging around in the Apache either! However, the original Apache actually does pretty well for only 150 hp! Many current airline pilots earned their multi-engine ratings in the Piper Apache so I think it does OK.

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Last edit: 25 Nov 2021 17:46 by Eric Parks.

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13 Oct 2021 02:28 #3204


Working on modifying the battery box


Fortunately the Apache has big panels to remove on both sides of the nose to give decent access to to systems.


It was dark by the time we finished and test ran the engines.

In case you haven't been keeping track it takes a lot of work to get an old plane "up to speed" after it has "declined"!

Since the left engine had done a "slow crank" the last time I flew it I immediately wanted to get that taken care of. We had the engines cranking and starting very well so I want to "weed out" any more issues. First on the agenda for today's work was to check the battery trickle charger. It was working but only rated at .25 amps. We replaced it with one that charged at 1.2 amps and also gave indications of the charging status. That was a quick and easy fix but we weren't done yet. We then started on the battery box STC mod by Bogerts. We pulled the battery out and got the battery box out. We then found both box vents and drain clogged. So they were unclogged and repaired. The box was modified and then the battery reinstalled. The new trickle charger was tested and seemed to work fine. My mechanic then found a very tiny hydraulic leak coming from a line he thinks is for the flaps. He fixed that leak as well. At this point we still have the copper cables to install but when I tested the engines they cranked right up so for now it appears we have improved the Apache a little bit more! We got started about 2:30 and didn't get done until about 7:30 so it was getting dark by the time we pushed the plane back into the hangar after test running the engines.

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10 Oct 2021 22:50 #3202



Got to fly the Apache a bit today, the weather was too nice to waste! My older daughter came with me to get her "familiarization ride" as we are planning on flying to visit family in Louisville, KY later this month. So just a quick, short hop but it let her see how everything works and what it feels like.

We got to spend time talking on the drive out and back and I'm not sure but maybe she enjoyed that more than the flying! But it was a good day and she was willing to pose with the plane:) B)

So now everyone in the family has had a least one ride although my wife is getting to be pretty comfortable with the Apache as she has ridden in it more.

Left engine was a little slow to crank today although it started right up as it typically does. We will check my trickle charger as I suspect it isn't doing enough. Also we may push up the installation of the Bogert copper cable for the starters.

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