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Topic-icon New Aztec buyer

  • Chris Kenefick
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2 weeks 2 days ago #2138

New Piper guy here, buying a 1960 Piper Aztec that a friend owns. Any thoughts or comments from other early Aztec ones/flyers would be greatly appreciated! This will be my first twin....own a Stearman and a 170 now....had a V-tail. Gotta love the old birds :)

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2 weeks 2 days ago #2139

Hi Chris;
Steve here. I answer most of the member's questions. I'm an A & P mechanic but do not have any experience on the Aztec. I've heard they are sweet teddy bear airplanes--comfortable, not very fast, and operate well out of relatively short strips.
As a general rule, which I suspect you already know is to buy the airplane that fits your mission AND hire a mechanic who is familiar with Aztecs to do a pre purchase inspection.
Hopefully, other Aztec owners will weigh in with tips and hints.

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2 weeks 2 days ago #2140

Chris, one other note. If you look at the top of the Piper Flyer online page, you'll see a heading titled "Piper Models" Click, a menu will drop then click on Piper twins and you'll find some previously published articles on Apaches and Aztecs.

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  • Chris Kenefick
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2 weeks 2 days ago #2141

Thanks Steve. Been wanting a twin for a while.....looked at 310s (fairly high yearly cost, but fast), love Twin Bonanzas (but, not many people like the GO-480s), Baron....ahh.....My brother loves Pipers and when I ran cross this plane at a friend's place I took a longer look. Having never had a twin, I think that the Aztec tending toward more docile is not a bad thing. also, most of my favorite places are shorter and narrow so it seems like a good fit, along with the ability to fly a couple people, dog and bags from Cal to Dallas in a day :)

I'll check out the forums as you suggest.

Thanks again! Chris

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1 week 2 days ago #2158

Hi Chris, I have about 4 hours in Aztecs. I owned a C310R. I flew the Aztecs after having owned the C310R and found the Aztec very easy to fly. I never thought the C310R was difficult to fly, but the Aztecs I flew with the Hershey bar wings which are high lift and stable at low speeds. My C310 had vortex generators, so was not scary near a stall. I flew an Aztec for the first time with a new friend I had made who was a United captain. We flew his Aztec out of the hills of Kentucky. One piece of advice he gave me was, "If you lose and engine on takeoff, just fly the airplane. Push everything forward, keep the correct bank into the good engine, raise the gear and fly straight ahead. Don't do anything else until you are at a safe altitude. Pilots have been killed in Aztecs by accidnetallypulling the good engine after mis-identifying it in haste." I thought that was great advice. I looked at two different Aztecs before buying my Twin Comanche (2016). The one owner insisted I takeoff , then land the Aztec without his help. It was a joy to takeoff and land. The fuel burn is an issue unless you want to go rather slowly for a twin. If the speed is not an issue, it is a spacious and forgiving airplane. I live in SW Michigan, and Aztecs are known as ice haulers. You can find deiced Aztecs. I'm not sure if any are actually FIKI, but they will do the job. Likewise, they can carry a good load. They are pretty simple in design. If you can't get the gear down with the hydraulics, there is a blow down canister. Some Aztecs only have one hydraulic pump located on the left engine, but you can have one on both. The hydraulic system is prone to leaking and I guess it's difficult to work on the part of the system that proportions the fluid. The lower cowlings are a real pain to remove, as in half a day just to get them off. Diamond Aire in Montanna has an STC which basically allows you to drill out many of the rivets and replace them with fasteners. I just looked on their website and don't see that STC, so you can give them a call, as they do many mods to Apaches and Aztecs. Evidently this makes the job of removing the lowering cowling much easier. I was warned of possible tubing corrosion , as the cockpit is protected by tubing. Speaking with IA's recently, I do not think this is a problem if the plane has been hangared all it's life. I think the landing gear is sturdy, and not prone to damage nearly as much as the C310. If I had the choice between a C310 and an Aztec, I would pick the C310, as it's , faster by a lot for the same fuel burn, it sit's up high, looks great, and is fun to fly. The R model is deiced, too. There may be a main spar inspection requirement at some time for the C310, which would be expensive. A C310 has a lot more that might need repair. To rig the C310 gear correctly, it can take 2 mechanics about 8 hrs. I had trouble with a camshaft on the IO520 in the right engine on my C310 and had to replace a couple of cylinders on the IO520 in my C210. The IO540 Lycomings in the Aztec are as bullet proof a big bore engine you can find, similar to the small block IO-320's in my Twin Comanche in terms of reliability. I would not turbocharge unless you really need it on either the Aztec or the C310. You can put as much avionics as you wish in either if you are thinking of a glass panel in the future, as there is plenty of panel space. The only issue might be is if the panel makers STC the Aztec or C310. Those are some of my general impressions. Good luck on your search for the "perfect for you" airplane.
Clear Skies,
Gomer

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  • Chris Kenefick
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1 week 2 days ago #2161

Hey Gomer,

Thanks for the input! A lot of good information there. I have looked at a few different twins and, the speed of some is awesome! That said, if I can do "half the country" in a day I'll be good. I'm 6-2 and the room inside the Aztec is really nice. The 310 and T-bone are good to. I thought the baron, while really good looking, was a bit smaller for two guys. Been a while though, I'd have to check that again to be sure. I'm looking at a 1960 model, so O-540s (carbs) are the name of the game. Fuel injection would be nice but, not sure it would mean much in fuel burn.

Any other comments, please send them my way!

Chris

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