Piper Apaches owned by Mid America Flight Museum.
The red Apache is flown by Kelly Mahon and the blue Apache is flown by Andrew Kiest.
Photo by Jack Fleetwood (www.jackfleetwood.com)

By Scott Glover, Owner of Mid America Flight Museum

Well, I love Apaches. I do believe this is the most underrated and undervalued airplane on the market. You can pick them up from $25,000 to $75,000 and they have almost identical performance as a brand-new Cessna 182: 130-135 knots, four-plus hours of fuel, comfortable seating for four, and short-field performance is impressive. Even a stock 150-hp Apache is sporting 300-hp on takeoff — same as a Bonanza or 210. It actually feels plenty powerful even loaded as compared to a Beech Travel Air or a Piper Twin Comanche. This is because of the thick high lift wing. The negative to this wing is it has increased induced drag that goes along with it so of course it will not clip along as fast as the other two mentioned twins.

Invariably when I talk or make a post about an Apache there will be at least one naysayer who makes a comment such as “Lose an engine and that thing won’t climb. I would never own one of those.” Newsflash to these people — if you lose an engine in a new turbine TBM 950 or a Pilatus PC-12, at a cost of well over $4 million, they won’t go nearly as far as an Apache!

Training is a key factor for safety in a twin. If you lose an engine in a single, there are not many decisions to make. Lose an engine in a twin and you have to analyze the situation and take appropriate actions. Sometimes the best option is just pull them both back and play like you just lost an engine in your single-engine plane. But if you’re at altitude and lose an engine, an Apache near gross weight can stay there until it runs out of fuel in most cases, assuming it’s not 100 degrees Fahrenheit and you’re not in Denver!

The blue Apache is basically a “stock” airplane. The red Apache on amphibs has 160-hp engines and, of course, has amphibs under it. It is the only Apache that has ever been certified with Amphibs, and I seriously doubt there will ever be another one.