A Piper door lock review.
I get to write about some amazing products, and I’m very honored to do so. Truly, there are absolute geniuses in our niche, creating the products that we take for granted. This review is for one of those products and companies. While the product is simple in concept, its engineering puts it a cut above anything I’ve seen before.
So what are we talking about? A door lock. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? If it’s so simple, why are the door locks that have come with my eight owned aircraft been so bad?
Last time I bought a door lock was about three years ago, for my Seneca. I paid $200 (I can’t remember if I got one lock or three), but they were very low quality and even lower security. These are the same locks you can get for your at-home desk drawer at a home improvement store for $5.99 each. Basically, a paper clip or a screwdriver will get these things open. Last year I lost a plane key (now I carry two keys — I’m a slow learner) and I went to an FBO. They had a key ring, and on the key ring I found more than one key that opened my door. While I was grateful for the help, it was also troubling that anyone could get into my plane without any difficulty whatsoever.
Piper Door Lock: There Has to Be a Better Way
I started a search for an improvement and found a company named Aircraft Security. Started in 1981 and based in Dallas, Texas, this company does only one thing: Aircraft Security (like their name says!). They make locks for Piper, Cessna, Beechcraft, Bombardier, Dassault/Falcon, Embraer, Gulfstream, and Mooney. And the locks used in aircraft such as Gulfstream and Embraer are the same as those manufactured for our aircraft! If the Gulfstream and Embraers are secure and safe, so are our planes — if they have these locks on them. I reached the conclusion that I had to have two of these locks for my Arrow. I ordered two locks and two keys. I requested that each key fit both locks rather than what I have now, which is one unique key for each lock.
When the Piper door lock and keys arrived, I was very appreciative of the way in which they came. More specifically, they came in a small box, and each lock and key came in a separate plastic bag. However, as door handles and lock mechanisms have been changed by Piper over the decades, each lock comes with a handful of latch-plate mechanisms that fit each of the Piper or Cessna models.
The baggage lock is designed so that the key can only be removed with the lock in the locked position. The door lock is designed so that the key can be removed in either the locked or unlocked position, an excellent design, in my opinion.
Also, choosing the correct latch plate from the handful that they send you is very easy. You simply match it to the latch that you just removed. Piece of cake, no confusion, took a minute. And by the way, the directions are short, sweet, and to the point. The entire project took about 30 minutes for both locks, including the door-panel removal and reinstallation.
Let’s do an install! The process is remarkably simple, even if you’re not a rocket scientist. If you can handle a screwdriver and pliers, that’s about all you need.
New Piper Door Lock Installation: Baggage Door
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