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Comes with Breakable Parts

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October 2012

When I was living in Vero Beach in 1965, I got a summer job at the Piper plant. I was able to take lessons in a brand-new Cherokee 140 for just the price of gas and oil, and that year I soloed in the tough, forgiving 140.

What a great plane! Sometimes I think I could have flown it without any instruction at all—not because I’m an ace, but because the plane is just a good, solid, forgiving design. In fact, on my second hour of solo time—without any training for a flapped landing—I decided to pull the Johnson bar and deploy flaps on final, pulling in all 30 degrees of flaps just as I was entering ground effect.

The plane suddenly had a whole lot of lift and rose back up into the air so that I had to land again… and again. I sure showed everyone waiting to take off what real porpoising was all about! The touchdown was okay, and I learned my lesson about the importance of training.

Working at Piper I was so impressed by the construction of the Cherokee 140, that I own a 1965 Cherokee 140 today. It’s still the same strong forgiving design, except I added a few STCs to recover some lift from the Hershey bar wing and to make a few components easier to work on. Piper should be proud of having built this plane.

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