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PA-24 Comanche

PA-24 Comanche (5)

The PA-24 Comanche is a four-seat, low-wing, all-metal, light aircraft of monocoque construction with retractable landing gear.

Comanche 180

The original version of the Comanche was the PA-24, which featured a carbureted 180 hp (134 kW) Lycoming O-360-A1A engine, swept tail, laminar flow airfoil, and all-flying stabilator.

Comanche 250

In 1958 Piper introduced the PA-24-250, a 250 horsepower (186 kW) version using a Lycoming O-540 engine.

Comanche 260

In 1965 the first of four 260 horsepower (194 kW) versions of the Comanche was introduced. They were:

  • PA-24-260 (1965)
  • PA-24-260B (1966 to 1968)
  • PA-24-260C (1969 to 1972)
  • PA-24-260TC

Comanche 400

The PA-24-400 Comanche 400,while identical to other single-engined Comanches, it is structurally strengthened, primarily in the tail. The aircraft has an extra nose rib in the stabilator and in the vertical fin. 

Twin Comanche

The Piper PA-30 Twin Comanche is a twin-engined cabin monoplane. It is the twin-engine development of the PA-24 Comanche single-engine aircraft.

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PA-28 Cherokee

PA-28 Cherokee (14)

PA-28-140 Cherokee Cruiser

Two place, fixed landing gear landplane, Lycoming O-320-E2A engine of 150 hp (112 kW), gross weight 1,950 lb (885 kg). First certified on 14 February 1964. Approved as a 2,150 lb (975 kg) gross weight four place aircraft on 17 June 1965.

PA-28-150 Cherokee

Four place, fixed landing gear landplane, Lycoming O-320-A2B or O-320-E2A engine of 150 hp (112 kW), gross weight 2,150 lb (975 kg). First certified on 2 June 1961.

PA-28-151 Cherokee Warrior

Four place, fixed landing gear landplane, Lycoming O-320-E3D engine of 150 hp (112 kW), gross weight 2,325 lb (1,055 kg). First certified on 9 August 1973. Changes from the PA-28-150 include a tapered wing.

PA-28-160 Cherokee

Four place, fixed landing gear landplane, Lycoming O-320-B2B or O-320-D2A engine of 160 hp (119 kW), gross weight 2,200 lb (998 kg). First certified on 31 October 1960.

  PA-28-161 Warrior II

Four place, fixed landing gear landplane, Lycoming O-320-D3G or O-320-D2A engine of 160 hp (119 kW), gross weight 2,325 lb (1,055 kg). First certified on 2 November 1976. Changes from the PA-28-160 include a tapered wing. Certified on 1 July 1982 for gross weight of 2,440 lb (1,107 kg).

PA-28-161 Warrior III

Four place, fixed landing gear landplane, Lycoming O-320-D3G engine of 160 hp (119 kW), gross weight 2,440 lb (1,107 kg). First certified on 1 July 1994.

PA-28-180 Cherokee

Four place, fixed landing gear landplane, Lycoming O-360-A3A or O-360-A4A engine of 180 hp (134 kW), gross weight 2,400 lb (1,089 kg). First certified on 3 August 1962.

PA-28-180 Archer

Four place, fixed landing gear landplane, Lycoming O-360-A4A or O-360-A4M engine of 180 hp (134 kW), gross weight 2,450 lb (1,111 kg). First certified on 22 May 1972. Changes from the PA-28-180 Cherokee include a five inch fuselage extension, wing span increase, larger horizontal tail, gross weight increase and other minor changes.

PA-28-181 Archer II

Four place, fixed landing gear landplane, Lycoming O-360-A4M or O-360-A4A engine of 180 hp (134 kW), gross weight 2,550 lb (1,157 kg). First certified on 8 July 1975. Changes from the PA-28-180 include a tapered wing.

 

PA-28-181 Archer III

Four place, fixed landing gear landplane, Lycoming O-360-A4M engine of 180 hp (134 kW), gross weight 2,550 lb (1,157 kg). First certified on 30 August 1994.

 

PA-28-201T Turbo Dakota

Four place, fixed landing gear landplane, turbocharged Continental TSIO-360-FB, engine of 200 hp (149 kW), gross weight 2,900 lb (1,315 kg). First certified on 14 December 1978.

  PA-28-235 Cherokee Pathfinder

Four place, fixed landing gear landplane, Lycoming O-540-B2B5, O-540-B1B5, or O-540-B4B5 engine of 235 hp (175 kW), gross weight 2,900 lb (1,315 kg). First certified on 15 July 1963.

PA-28-235 Cherokee Pathfinder

Four place, fixed landing gear landplane, Lycoming O-540-B4B5 engine of 235 hp (175 kW), gross weight 3,000 lb (1,361 kg). First certified on 9 June 1972. Changes from the 1963 certified PA-28-235 Cherokee Pathfinder include a five inch fuselage extension, wing span increase, larger horizontal tail, gross weight increase and other minor changes.

 

PA-28-236 Dakota

Four place, fixed landing gear landplane, Lycoming O-540-J3A5D engine of 235 hp (175 kW), gross weight 3,000 lb (1,361 kg). First certified on 1 June 1978. Changes from the 1972 certified PA-28-235 Cherokee Pathfinder include tapered wing.

 

PA-28S-160 Cherokee

Four place, fixed landing gear seaplane, Lycoming O-320-D2A engine of 160 hp (119 kW), gross weight 2,140 lb (971 kg). First certified on 25 February 1963.

PA-28S-180 Cherokee

Four place, fixed landing gear seaplane, Lycoming O-360-A3A or O-360-A4A engine of 180 hp (134 kW), gross weight 2,222 lb (1,008 kg). First certified on 10 May 1963.

PA-28R-180 Arrow

Four place, retractable landing gear landplane, Lycoming IO-360-B1E engine of 180 hp (134 kW), gross weight 2,500 lb (1,134 kg). First certified on 8 June 1967.

PA-28R-200 Arrow

Four place, retractable landing gear landplane, Lycoming IO-360-C1C engine of 200 hp (149 kW), gross weight 2,600 lb (1,179 kg). First certified on 16 January 1969.

PA-28R-200 Arrow II

Four place, retractable landing gear landplane, Lycoming IO-360-C1C or C1C6 engine of 200 hp (149 kW), gross weight 2,650 lb (1,202 kg). First certified on 2 December 1971. Changes from the 1969 certified PA-28R-200 Arrow include a five inch fuselage extension, wing span increase, larger horizontal tail, gross weight increase and other minor changes.

PA-28R-201 Arrow III

Four place, retractable landing gear landplane, Lycoming IO-360-C1C6 engine of 200 hp (149 kW), gross weight 2,750 lb (1,247 kg). First certified on 2 November 1976.

PA-28R-201T Turbo Arrow III

Four place, retractable landing gear landplane, turbocharged Continental TSIO-360-F or TSIO-360-FB engine of 200 hp (149 kW), gross weight 2,900 lb (1,315 kg). First certified on 2 November 1976.

PA-28RT-201 Arrow IV

Four place, retractable landing gear landplane, Lycoming IO-360-C1C6 engine of 200 hp (149 kW), gross weight 2,750 lb (1,247 kg). First certified on 13 November 1978. Features a T tail.

PA-28RT-201T Turbo Arrow IV

Four place, retractable landing gear landplane, turbocharged Continental TSIO-360-FB engine of 200 hp (149 kW), gross weight 2,900 lb (1,315 kg). First certified on 13 November 1978. Features a T tail.

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PA-32 Cherokee Six/Lance/Saratoga

PA-32 Cherokee Six/Lance/Saratoga (4)

The Piper PA-32R is a six-seat, high-performance, single engine, all-metal fixed-wing aircraft.

PA-32R-300 (1976–1978) 

Marketed as the Piper Cherokee Lance. Initial version of the retractable PA-32 line, with a standard tail in the 1976 model.The 1977 and 1978 models featured a tail modified to a "T" design with the stabilator (horizontal stabilizer/elevator) moved to the top of the vertical tail.

This design placed the stabilator outside of the prop wash compared with the low tail design, and appreciably affected the takeoff and landing characteristics. 

PA-32RT-300 (1978–1979) 

Beginning with this model, the Cherokee name was officially dropped and the model was designated the Lance II. The "T"-tail arrangement was continued on the Lance II. 

PA-32RT-300T (1978–1979)  

Also in 1978 a turbocharged version, designated the Turbo Lance II, was introduced.The Turbo Lance II has a service ceiling of 20,000 ft with a rate of climb of 1050 ft/min. It can cruise at 10,000 ft at 175 kt true airspeed at 75% power burning 20 gal/h. Fuel capacity is 94 usable gallons. 

PA-32R-301 (1980–2007) 

The 1980 models reverted to a standard tail design, and were designated as the Saratoga SP.In 1993 the airplane received several cosmetic and systems updates and was redesignated as the Saratoga II HP

PA-32R-301T (1980–2009) 

The 1980 Turbocharged model was given the name Turbo Saratoga SP. The name and model designation stayed the same through the 1996 model year, despite several updates to the airplane during that time. Starting with the 1997 model year the airplane received a new designation, the Saratoga II TC, and a new Lycoming TIO-540-AH1A engine. Externally the biggest difference was the new cowl, with much smaller, round air inlets. 1997-1998 Saratoga II TC's featured a King avionics suite, which was switched to dual Garmin GNS-430's and a GTX-320 transponder with the 1999 models. In mid-2000 model year the avionics were again updated, with one Garmin GNS-430 and one GNS-530 and a GTX-327 transponder as standard equipment. Beginning in 2004 the Saratoga models were available with an Avidyne Entegra "Glass Panel" avionics system, which was replaced by the Garmin G1000 in 2007. 

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PA-38 Tomahawk

PA-38 Tomahawk (2)

PA-38 Tomahawk

The Piper PA-38-112 Tomahawk is a two-seat, fixed tricycle gear general aviation airplane, originally designed for flight training, touring and personal use.

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Piper Cub: J-3/J-4/J-5

Piper Cub: J-3/J-4/J-5 (6)

E2 Cub

The Taylor E2 Cub was a two-seat tandem low powered aircraft with a high-wing and fabric covered tubular steel fuselage, fabric covered wooden wings and open cockpit. It was produced from 1930-1936.

J-2 Cub

The Taylor J-2 Cub (later also known as the Piper J-2 Cub) is an American two-seat light aircraft that was designed and built by the Taylor Aircraft Company. was produced from 1936-1938

J-3 Cub

The Piper J-3 Cub is a small, simple, light aircraft with tandem (fore and aft) seating. It was intended for flight training but became one of the most popular and best-known light aircraft of all time. It was produced from 1937-1947.

J-4 Cub Coupe

The Piper J-4 Cub Coupe is a two place side-by-side version of the Piper J-3. It was Piper's first model with side-by-side seating; combined with docile low-speed handling, this made it a good trainer. It was built between 1938-1942.

J-5 Cub Cruiser

The Piper J-5 Cub Cruiser was a larger, more powerful version of the basic Piper J-3 Cub. It was designed just two years after the J-3 Cub, and differed by having a wider fuselage with the pilot sitting in the front seat and two passengers sitting in the rear seat. Equipped with a a 75-hp Continental engine the plane's cruising speed was 75 mph. Though officially a three-seater, it would be more accurately described as a "two-and-a-half-seater", as two adults would find themselves quite cramped in wider rear seat.It was produced from 1940-1946.

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Piper M Series

Piper M Series (1)

The Piper PA-46 is a family of light aircraft. The aircraft is powered by a single engine and has the capacity for one pilot and five passengers.

PA-46-310P Malibu

The PA-46-310P is powered by a Teledyne Continental Motors TSIO-520BE engine rated at 310 hp (230 kW). The PA-46-310P has lower fuel consumption, greater range, and the ability to cruise at "lean-of-peak." The PA-46-310P has a maximum cruising range of 1,550 nautical miles (with reserves).

PA-46-350P Mirage

The PA-46-350P includes a more powerful Textron Lycoming TIO-540-AE2A 350 hp (260 kW) engine and a new wing.

PA-46-500TP Meridian

The PA-46-500TP is a turboprop-powered version of the Malibu powered by a Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-42A of 500 shp (370 kW). Some of the changes made to allow for turboprop power include larger wings and tail surfaces.

PA-46R-350T Matrix

The PA-46R-350T is an unpressurized version of the Mirage. The new model has been designated as the PA-46R-350T, indicating retractable landing gear, 350 horsepower (260 kW), and turbocharging. The Matrix's powerplant is a turbocharged Lycoming TI0-540-AE2A producing 350 hp (260 KW).

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Piper PA-11, PA-12, PA-14

Piper PA-11, PA-12, PA-14 (3)

PA-11 Cub Special

The Piper PA-11 Cub Special was a later production, two-place variant of the Piper J-3 Cub light propeller-driven aircraft. It was produced from 1947-1949.

Piper PA-14 Family Cruiser

The Piper PA-14 Family Cruiser is an American-built small touring aircraft of the late 1940s. It was produced from 1947-1949. 

Piper PA-12 Super Cruiser

The Piper PA-12 Super Cruiser is an American three-seat, high wing, single engine conventional landing gear-equipped light aircraft. It was built between 1946-1948.

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Piper PA-18 Super Cub

Piper PA-18 Super Cub (3)

The Piper PA-18 Super Cub is a two-seat, single-engine monoplane introduced in 1949. It was developed from the Piper PA-11, and traces its lineage back through the J-3 to the Taylor E-2 Cub of the 1930s. In close to 40 years of production, over 9,000 were built. Super Cubs are commonly found in roles such as bush flying, banner and glider towing. It was built between 1949-1983 and 1988-1994.

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Piper PA-25 Pawnees

Piper PA-25 Pawnees (1)

The PA-25 Pawnee was an agricultural aircraft. It remains a widely used aircraft in agricultural spraying and is also used as a tow plane, or tug, for launching gliders or for towing banners. It was produced from 1959 to 1982

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Short Wing Pipers

Short Wing Pipers (3)

The Piper PA-15 Vagabond and PA-17 Vagabond are both two seat, high wing, conventional gear light aircraft that were designed for personal use and for flight training.

PA-15 Vagabond

Side-by-side two-seater powered by one 65hp Lycoming O-145 engine.

PA-17 Vagabond

Also known as the Vagabond Trainer a variant of the PA-15 with dual-controls, shock-cord suspension and powered by one 65hp Continental A-65-8 engine.

The PA-16 Clipper is a stretched and refined version of the Vagabond intended to seat four people. It is equipped with an extra wing tank, added doors to accommodate the new seating, and a Lycoming O-235.

The PA-20 Pacer and PA-22 Tri-Pacer are a family of four-place, strut braced, high-wing light aircraft that were built by Piper Aircraft. The PA-20 and PA-22 were produced from 1950-1954 and 1950-1964, respectively.

PA-20

Four-seat, conventional landing gear, light cabin aircraft, powered by a 125 hp (93 kW) Lycoming O-290-D engine. Certified 21 December 1949.

PA-20S

Three-seat, conventional landing gear, light cabin aircraft, with optional float installation, powered by a 125 hp (93 kW) Lycoming O-290-D engine. Certified 18 May 1950.

PA-20 115

Four-seat, conventional landing gear, light cabin aircraft, powered by a 115 hp (86 kW) Lycoming O-235-C1 engine. Certified 22 March 1950.

PA-20S 115

Three-seat, conventional landing gear, light cabin aircraft, with optional float installation, powered by a 115 hp (86 kW) Lycoming O-235-C1 engine. Certified 18 May 1950.

PA-20 135

Four-seat, conventional landing gear, light cabin aircraft, powered by a 135 hp (101 kW) Lycoming O-290-D2 engine. Certified 5 May 1952.

PA-20S 135

Three-seat, conventional landing gear, light cabin aircraft, with optional float installation, powered by a 135 hp (101 kW) Lycoming O-290-D2 engine. Certified 15 May 1952.

PA-22

Four-seat, tricycle landing gear, light cabin aircraft, powered by a 125 hp (93 kW) Lycoming O-290-D engine. Certified 20 December 1950.

PA-22-108 Colt

Two-seat, tricycle landing gear, light cabin aircraft, powered by a 108 hp (81 kW) Lycoming O-235-C1 or C1B engine. Certified 21 October 1960.

PA-22-135

Four-seat, tricycle landing gear, light cabin aircraft, powered by a 135 hp (101 kW) Lycoming O-290-D2 engine. Certified 5 May 1952.

PA-22S-135Three-seat, tricycle landing gear, light cabin aircraft, with optional float installation, powered by a 135 hp (101 kW) Lycoming O-290-D2 engine. Certified 14 May 1954.

PA-22-150

Two or four-seat, tricycle landing gear, light cabin aircraft, powered by a 150 hp (112 kW) Lycoming O-320-A2A or A2B engine. Certified 3 September 1952 as a four place in the normal category and 24 May 1957 as a two place in the utility category.

PA-22S-150

Three-seat, tricycle landing gear, light cabin aircraft, with optional float installation, powered by a 150 hp (112 kW) Lycoming O-320-A2A or A2B engine. Certified 3 September 1954.

PA-22-160

Two or four-seat, tricycle landing gear, light cabin aircraft, powered by a 160 hp (119 kW) Lycoming O-320-B2A or B2B engine. Certified 3 September 1952 as a four place in the normal category and as a two place in the utility category.

PA-22S-160

Three-seat, tricycle landing gear, light cabin aircraft, with optional float installation, powered by a 160 hp (119 kW) Lycoming O-320-B2A or B2B engine. Certified 25 October 1957.

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Piper Arrow: Hitting the Mark for 46 Years

Piper Arrow: Hitting the Mark for 46 Years

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.

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Tom Grove's Cherokee 235.

A Fun Flying Machine: Tom Grove’s Cherokee 235

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 .

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

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