With Your Mechanic’s Help, You Can Upgrade the Safety and Beauty of Your Piper
I’m no stranger to making Pipers look like new, as I’ve been doing it for many decades. I’m at it again with my 1977 Turbo Arrow III. In this project my shop and I have just replaced the 1977 two-piece factory windshield with a new one-piece windshield and STC kit from LP Aero Plastics Inc.
If you’re doing due diligence because you’re interested in doing the same thing to your Piper, you will be pleased to know that this windshield and STC kit have been around for many decades. In fact, this is my fourth one-piece installation; previously I’ve installed them in a Warrior, Seminole, and a couple of Senecas. While labor-intensive, they go in easy, and nothing makes your plane look new and modern like a one-piece windshield.
Advantages of a New Piper One-Piece Windshield
There are other design points that I looked into and implemented on this project. First, if you’re replacing 1960s, 1970s or 1980s windows (or side windows), you’ll want to know that both infrared and ultraviolet protection have been dramatically improved on these new windows. In the summer and in direct sunlight, the interior of your Piper will be cooler, your upholstery won’t fade, and your avionics won’t bake. Also, the UV protection will help prevent eye and skin problems down the road. I can’t emphasize how important these improvements are.
Another area of concern for me are the bird strikes that I experience from time to time. The last one was in my Seneca and the bird hit the windshield directly in front of my face. I had the LP Aero one-piece windshield on that plane and there was only a slight mark on the windshield, which wiped off later.
However, I had partaken of another LP Aero STC on that installation that I’m using on this installation, too. My 1977 Arrow had factory 1/8″ windows. All of my Pipers have been upgraded to 1/4″ LP Aero windows. The one-piece windshield on my Arrow is 1/4″, too. And besides strength and durability, there’s another benefit to 1/4″ windows all the way around: Noise level. As I mentioned in a previous article, realigning my door to factory standards lowered the interior noise from 80dB to 75dB. That 5dB decrease in noise is very noticeable.
In my Seneca, I got the noise level down to 70dB and my passengers rarely wore headsets. It was the same noise level as an airliner.
After my first flight in this Arrow, I’ll measure the sound level again, however my sound reduction project won’t end with the window replacement. I’m reupholstering the interior and installing rubber sheet insulation, as well. Those are some of the tricks that I used in my Seneca that got the sound level so low.
Shipping and Unpacking Your Piper Windshield
After I placed the order for my windshield and side windows, it took a few weeks before they arrived. Each order is custom and built the way you want it. In my case I did not have a thermometer hole in the new windshield, so I didn’t order that. The windshield and side windows are shipped by truck. At the time I couldn’t figure out why, but it became apparent when the truck showed up. A
giant box came on its own pallet — the box was big enough to hold a small piano. Also, if you can believe it, the box weighed 85 pounds. That’s right, 85 pounds! If you’re going to have it shipped to your home, like I did, you’d better have a truck or van to move it, as it won’t fit in a small SUV/crossover or sedan. Good luck! Once at the airport and in the shop, however, the fun begins.
This article is very long and includes 17 pictures. To read it, read the digital issue of the magazine in which this story was published, July 2021.
Below is a picture slideshow of just half of the photos that ran.