Why the Piper Arrow?

Hi Scott:

I am new to PiperOwner.org. A friend of mine forwarded a copy of the October issue of Pipers Magazine that I immediately read cover to cover which prompted me to join up. As a 1978 piper Warrior II owner, the cover story and your article “Anatomy of an Airplane Trade” particularly grabbed my attention.

I earned my private license in high school and stopped flying just after college. Fast forward 34 years with kids grown up I wanted to get back into flying. I have had a great time and only wished that I started back into aviation so much sooner. My mission profile is typically 300NM trips or less within Texas or to adjacent states. However, I do see that extending when I become instrument rated. Most of my cross-country flying is solo or with one other person leaving plenty of useful load for fuel and baggage. While I love the Warrior, I know that it is not my forever plane. I bought it to get back into flying and my other two partners are in the mix to get their PPL license. Eventually I want something faster and IFR capable with a budget in the $90-100K maximum range.

I noted from your article that this is your 8th aircraft and that your flight experience spans everything from the Cherokee 140 through mid-sized business jets. I assume in the middle of those two extremes you have flown a lot of complex singles. I would wager that you have some Comanche, Bonanza & Mooney time in there somewhere. These aircraft plus the Piper Arrow III always come up on my short list when considering what is next. With 50 years of flight experience under your belt and all the market alternatives available, I am really interested in how and why you chose the Arrow. Additionally, I would welcome and appreciate comments from other forum members as well.

Thanks in advance!

Chris Hodde
N47673

Comments

  • I can’t speak for Scott, although he has a sweet Turbo Arrow.

    I have a ‘72 Arrow which I have owned for about 6 weeks and filled a full logbook page flying. My Arrow is nice looking, flies fast(ish), while being comfortable to ride in, is cheap to maintain (so far), and is fun to fly.

    I did my commercial in an Arrow and thought that I would like to own one someday.... so 15 years later I bought one and haven’t been disappointed yet. My Arrow II has the 50 gallon tanks, but I am limited by kid bladders more than anything, so 2.5 hour legs are plenty. I can make it to Grandma’s house with one stop, and that suits me...half a day of flying sure beats 14 hours of driving.

    Jim

  • Hi Chris and Jim,
    I've owned four singles and four twins over 50 years. Six were Pipers, (Warrior, Seminole, two Seneca 2's and one Seneca 3). In addition, I owned two Grummans (a TR-2 (AA-1) and an AA-5 Tiger. I've flown (via rental just about everything and among my favorites was a Mooney 231 although my passengers (family and staff) hated it because it was too small. When I got kids (they were on sale at K-Mart) I got the Seminole because it was incredibly cheap and because I live next to Lake Michigan. I took the Seminole to California one day and came back and got iced out of my home airport. I had gone some 1,800 miles and couldn't do the last 100 because of Lake Michigan ice. So I traded for the cheapest plane I could find with de-ice. I fell in love with the Seneca and had 3 over 30 years. During that time I used it for business visiting clients around the country. Perfecto! I sold my business about five years ago but kept the Seneca, although it was way too much airplane for what I needed at this stage of my life. However, I loved it. So I had it painted and three months later one of our members made me an offer for it. I was going to get a Lance or Saratoga (I lov
    e Pipers) but the fellow who made an offer on my plane owned this 1977 turbo arrow with a brand new custom panel with all new avionics and autopilot and glass. So we traded! So 9 months later, how do I like it? It's between 1/4 and 1/3 the cost of the Seneca to own. My insurance is $900/year, my annual was $1,500 and I spend about $300 on fuel each month (holds 72 gallons) She has a roughly 20,000 ft service ceiling and does about 165 knots up in the middle altitudes (I have a 40 cubic ft O2 cylinder in her). With no vacuum system we got an extra 30 pounds of useful load. I can put 4 people and full fuel or two people, full fuel and baggage (or some combination). While it isn't a Seneca with full de-ice (which I loved) this is an excellent compromise airplane. Great economy, great speed, low maintenance. Absolutely perfect! After nine months I love it and have stopped thinking about the twin. I give the turbo arrow two thumbs up and 5 stars. Does this help?

    Scott Sherer
    Wright Brothers Master Pilot, FAA Commercial Pilot
    Aviation Director, Piper Owner Society Forum Moderator and Pipers Author.

    Need help? Let me know!

  • Chris, if I may add to excellent responses from Scott & Jim: how about getting checked out and/or trying some flight with friends who own airplanes that are on your short list?

    Depends on what is important for you, but for me one of the important factors was how the airplane handles in various phases of flight, and the overall comfort/feeling in the cockpit. This is a personal thing that is hard to get from just reading other people’s reports. So before I bought my Arrow I got some time in 182s, Mooney, Bonanza, DA40 and AA-5. At the end the (Turbo) Arrow had just the best combination of handling, comfort, performance and ease of upkeep for me, but as they say, your mileage may vary and you might end up liking something else. Hope this helps!

  • Scott, Jim & kzadora:

    Thanks so much for your thoughtful replies. Each of your insights and opinions are helpful. As best I can see it, all aircraft are compromises in one way or another. EX:

    Mooney: You trade comfort for speed - not the easiest to work on
    Bonanza: Handles great - more expensive acquisition and maintenance costs
    Comanche: Great airplane but pretty old airframes with part concerns

    While the Arrow might not be the fastest in the group, I believe it is:

    • Comfortable
    • Great support and parts availability
    • Love the panel set up
    • Great slow speed handling
    • Reasonable acquisition and maintenance costs

    Out of the crop I am primarily on the look out for an Arrow III (1977-78) with the 200HP Lycoming IO-360. I am tempted by the advantages of the turbo but I am concerned about the maintenance costs of the Continental that I have read about. If I can hijack my own thread - anyone want to weigh in on the reliability of the Continental? Is this engine talked down because they have either not been maintained or operated properly?

    Thanks,

    Chris

  • Hi Chris,
    Don't get an Arrow without the turbo. I have owned TSIO-360's for 35 years without a failure or concern. Basically, 8 of these engines. I started with a Mooney 231 back in the '80's with this engine. Perfect experience. Then I had 3 Seneca II's and III's with six of these engines and now a Turbo Arrow III. Not one failure or problem in all of these years. No turbo failures, no unexpected overhauls at less then TBO. Do get a Merlyn wastegate controller, however, that's what gives life to the engines. In my experience, the turbo is unbeatable.

    Scott Sherer
    Wright Brothers Master Pilot, FAA Commercial Pilot
    Aviation Director, Piper Owner Society Forum Moderator and Pipers Author.

    Need help? Let me know!

  • I've owned a Turbo Arrow III for seven years. I ran the engine that came with the plane 300 hours over TBO and decided to replace it even though it was still running great, burning a quart of oil every ten hours. So we took out the old TSIO 360F with a 1400 hour TBO and replaced it with a factory reman TSIO 360 FB with a 2000 hour TBO. The only big difference between the two is the FB has a stronger crankcase. I haven't had any problems with either engine other than the optional fuel primer failing. There is a problem overheating cylinders during long climbs in hot weather but we solved that by installing a LoPresti cowl. (See my discussion "Turbo Arrow overheating during climbs") It is important to allow the turbo to cool for five minutes before shutting it down.

  • Scott & fhidley - thanks for your feedback on the TSIO-360 . . . great info!

  • You're welcome, Merry Christmas!

    Scott Sherer
    Wright Brothers Master Pilot, FAA Commercial Pilot
    Aviation Director, Piper Owner Society Forum Moderator and Pipers Author.

    Need help? Let me know!

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