Jake McCullough and his 1965 Cherokee 180.
Photo by Jack Fleetwood (

By Jake McCullough 

What is your advice for someone who’s considering buying a plane like this one? 

Do it! Absolutely consider the PA-28-180. Obviously it depends on your mission, but for mine it was perfect. I bought it six years ago as the first airplane I owned. I was working and living in Midland, Texas, and the eight-plus hour drive back to Baytown, Texas, to see family was getting pretty monotonous and difficult to drive regularly. I wanted something that was not overly expensive in both purchase price and maintenance as I was a first-time owner and wanted to get my feet wet before I bit off more than I could chew. I haven’t regretted it once since. I started my training in 1999 in a PA-28-140 and have had a love for the Piper ever since. The 180 gave me the payload my family needed for us to take it on family vacations and trips. I’ve used it for work many times as well flying all over the state of Texas. I fly it about 120 hours per year for both work and pleasure. I believe that it’s a good all-around airplane for both training and pleasure. Very economical to own. We love ours and think of it as part of the family. 

What are your favorite things about this airplane versus the others you’ve flown? 

I think the Piper Cherokee 180 is just a prettier airplane than a Cessna. I’ve always made the joke that I looked better proudly standing on the wing of a Piper Cherokee than crouched under the wing of a Cessna. 

If you could change anything, what is the one thing you’d change? 

I’m not sure I would change a thing. It’s the plane I started flying in 21 years ago, and I can’t imagine making it any different. 

Is it pretty much stock or have you made any updates/changes? 

Other than a couple of GPSs and a repaint a few years back, it’s pretty much all stock. It is IFR certified, but I’m considering doing some upgrades in the future to help make IFR usage easier.