Why Piper?

I read an article recently in AOPA or some other org mag or maybe it was on a board, but at any rate it got me to thinking. Why Piper? The discussion, where ever it was contended that most will follow on with the brand in which they learned to fly.
My initial hours were in a Cessna. First, a 150 and then a 172 (which at my height and 200 lbs. was much more comfortable). I did the Cessna thing at two bases, Ellsworth AFB SD and Wheeler AFB HI. When I arrived at Tinker AFB, the second time, in 1973, I was introduced to the Piper Cherokee Warrior and it was a fit for eternity. I finished my certificate at an FBO at Westheimer, Norman, OK, in a 161 and then checked out in their Archer II. Except for a 10 hour complex checkout in a Mooney and some SIC time in a friend's 182 for more than 25 years my time has been all Piper. When I decide to by a few years ago, I looked at some others but came back to Piper, primarily the Archer II. Were I looking to replace Mike it would be with a Dakota. I like the Piper low rather than high wing. The handling and performance fit my needs. I find the Archer has the legs for longer trips, though additional speed and altitude would be nice, sorry thinking about that Dakota again. I believe it beats comparable class manufacturers. I never liked the board strapped to my head feel of the high wing. But that is why Piper, for me. What's your reason?


  • My case is very similar to yours. I started in the Tomahawk and finished in the Warrior. I really enjoyed the Warrior and felt very comfortable. The only Cessna I tried was on my BFR back in 1994. It took some getting used to, but didn't enjoy it enough to continue flying particular manufacturer. I got out of flying for 15 years and decided I really missed it. Went to Leesburg Airport Florida to get checked out after all those years. I jumped back in the Warrior and didn't do too awful bad considering the lay-off. The next flight on my re-check was in a Cherokee 140. It flew like a dream and I did so much better than in the Warrior. I enjoyed it so much I flew to Indiana the next month and purchased N57020, a Cherokee 140 with 160hp upgrade, IFR and pretty low time. It flies great and would fly everyday if the bank account would allow it. I will admit, I rented both the Grumman Cheetah and Tiger and liked them very well also, but I will stick with my trusty Cherokee Cruiser to fly the sunny Florida skies.
  • When I started my primary instruction a couple years ago, I picked an airport, then had to choose between the two schools there. One had newer 172s with GPSs in the panel, the other had older Tomahawks with steam gauges. To save $30/hr, I selected the school with the Tomahawks. Couldn't see how GPS would help me learn to fly turns about a point or perform a soft-field landing.

    I really liked the Tomahawk. It was roomy compared to the 152s I'd flown in as a passenger in the past, and I liked the throttle quad and the manual flaps. I also generally prefer the aesthetics of a low-wing plane vs. a high-wing, though the Tomahawk is not exactly a beautiful plane....

    Anyway, when the bug bit hard and I decided I was going to buy, I quickly decided that as a novice pilot and novice owner with limited funds, the right plane for me would either be a 172 or a Cherokee 180. I knew I wanted to eventually fly IFR, so I wanted a plane with a 430W and an autopilot. As I shopped, it just seemed like I could get a "better" plane (fresher paint / interior, better panel) for less money in the Cherokee. There was also the mild benefit that I was already familiar and happy with the cockpit layout, and the general preference for a low-wing plane.

    Have to admit that to keep the task manageable, I never seriously considered any other manufacturers in my search, nor did I consider the experimental market. I've learned to "never say never", and it's possible I could end up flying anything in the future, but I can say with certainty that the plane I have today is the right plane for me right now. I love opening my hangar door and seeing my plane, and I love it even more when the wheels come off the ground and we're on our way...even if it's just around the pattern!
  • It doesn't surprise me a lot, but I'm sure that many of us have similar stories.
    My first flight and solo were in a Cherokee 140. Over the years, I flew some Cessnas and Grummans. I owned part of a 172 for a short period, and actually took my checkride in a Grumman Lynx. I was away from flying for quite a number of years, and ended up buying half of a 180-C.
    I looked at several planes, Mooney and Beech, and ended up with the Cherokee for several reasons. After 20+ years away from flying, in 7 hours, I was able to complete my BFR. It is a VERY forgiving plane. It has reasonable performance, fuel burn, service ceiling, room, and can handle cross country duty within reason. Speed is a bit of a compromise, but it has a reasonable payload, so things even out.
    While flying will NEVER be considered "cheap", the Cherokee is about as reasonable as you can find for maintenance and flight costs as well as insurance. From an asthetic standpoint, I prefer the low wing, and I think that the wing loading and position make it a little more stable feeling in turbulence.
    A lot of my friends are in love with advanced planes like the RV's, but my "dream" plane will be either a vintage (G or H) Bonanza, or, my preference, a Comanche 250.
  • Shortly after I started taking flying lessons during the 80s, I purchased a Cessna 152 and leased it back to the flying club that I was using. Had a lot of fun with it and actually made some money on the deal, but I tried to make a 550nm cross-country in it and decided that I needed to buy a bigger plane. One of the first ones I tried was a Piper Warrior that needed a lot of TLC. I loved the low wing and found it a lot more stable than the small Cessna.
  • I always wanted to fly. My dad flew in WWII and took me to MDW to watch the planes land and takeoff as a kid. His favorite GA plane was the Piper Tri-Pacer (High Wing). I finally got around to flying after retirement and took my first lessons in a 172. It seemed right because Dad always liked the high wing... As I progressed through my first 4 hours something didn't feel right (besides the CFI that seemed to want to show what a great pilot he was). I stopped for a couple of months and then started up at another school that flew a Cherokee 180. It felt better and I kept going. As I progressed I convinced my wife that I/we needed to buy a plane, and we ended up with a very nice '62 PA28-160. I now have over 250hr in it and am happy as a clam.

    I think it was the difference between hanging under the wing, and sitting on top of the wing that made the difference.
  • Great post, Mike. Welcome to the avation fraternity and congrats on your purchase, certainly a great and classic airframe.
  • I selected my aircraft based on mission & family feedback. The folks who would be riding in back didn't like the back of the Cessna's, a Bo had no meaningful place to put luggage, so the Toga seemed like the right fit. Piper happened to be the manufacturer.
  • I learned in a 172 but have a friend who owned a very nice Archer. He let me try it out with my CFI just before my check ride. I rented both after I earned my ticket and when my friend offered to sell his I jumped on it. My wife likes the stable ride and I like how it handles cross winds and settles to the ground with the Hershey bar wings. It's a good combination with decent speed and reasonable fuel economy that fits my mission. I've owned it for 2 months and think its going to be a long term relationship!
  • Bought my first Piper today! 1979 PA28-236 Dakota. I'm hooked! Never back to Cessnas again. I've been flying my plane all day and now have a sunburn.
  • Welcome to the world of Piper, the Dakota is a great aircraft.
  • mini_N8279Y.jpgNot being very active since PPl in 1985 with just 300 or so hrs in 20 years I decided to jump in again ( or jump OFF) into being active and staying current. The couple planes available were a 150 Warrior or a Tramahawk. Learning in Cessna and would rather the high wing confg. I've gotten about equal time in pipers and cessnas during the 300 hrs. Then after becoming part owner in a 172 that need a MOH I decided to get the new wife into spending some time in the air and at the airport with me. During her first visit at the local instructors hangar there was a beautiful Lance parked in the hangar with those nice club seats exposed through the open door.

    I had two objectives into aircraft ownership. FIRST: was the love of flying and taking someone on there first flight. SECOND: was the wife had relatives 9 hrs drive or 3 hrs flying. WELL the 172 just did't cut it with 2 adults and one child.
    I (we) decided to look at larger single engines. The 182 or 210 and other pipers were capable but lacked the space (not the weight) for our family missions. The 206's would fit our needs but everything we looked at was in dire need of work or out of our budget.
    I didn't want to consider the 32 series because that beautiful Lance that was in the hangar had crashed in Nev. about 6 months before our search had begun, killing the owner pilot with his wife dying a month or so later from burns. The other couple that survived is suing everyone that even looked at the plane. Well, I started hearing horror stories about the 32's (Lances).
    Then, the wife suggested I look into the plane with the club seating. ( I didn't tell her about my skepticism on the 32's). Thus my research began and the ones that I was finding needed work or was more than I wanted to pay. During the searching I got to fly several 32's and found that there was nothing to be skeptical about.
    Searching through all those ad's one plane kept catching my eye 8279Y but was more than I wanted to pay and gave up searching for a few months.
    Then one afternoon I overheard one of the Dr's at the airport getting their PPL that he had came across a Saratoga of one that he would like to someday own. I realized that he was talking about was 8279Y a 1980 32-301T (fix gear) and the owner (agent) had greatly reduced the price.
    After some quick phone calls to verify the price a holding payment was sent. I lined up a pre purchase inspection, got with my local instructor and took a commercial flight to take a test flight. A lower price was negotiated then returned the following week to fly her home in August 2011.
    Above is the. picture of the arrival of 79Y at her new home base.
    COULDN'T be HAPPIER with our decision. The club seating is roomy, the heaver plane is very stable and solid, and is indeed is a steed.
    Thanks for reading,

  • First there were Cessnas (150, 152,172,) then at around 90 hours I wanted to go faster. I had a checkout in a 76 Arrow II. a 177RG Cutlass, and a 177 RG Cardinal. but I kept gravitating to the ARROW. It was still as fast or faster than the 177RG and it was sexier with that low wing that to me looked like a proper airplane. I loved that I could see the runway in the pattern and when doing photography I could circle a target and keep it in view for the whole turn. Then came a Mooney Ranger, EXEC and 201 That followed through hours 130 - 180. They wer FAST Fast Fast and had that weird backwards tail thing going for them. Advance 20 years outside of flying and I still was lusting for a 252 but I was renting a good old faithful Arrow II. I decided to buy the Mooney and I flew the Arrow to several places to find my Mooney but then a funny thing happened on the way to test flying Mooneys. I thought wow this thing is uncomfortable as my right bottom cheek was hanging half way off the seat and the console was cutting into my right leg and my back hurt from having my feet almost straight out in front of me. Well I am sure the Mooneys didn't change and I had to come to grips that I was 100 Pounds heavier than when I was lusting after Mooneys, and the girls back then were all 110 lbs. Next I realized the salesman had only put 20 Gallons of Gas in the plane for the test ride with him and my bud. The Mooney was at gross weight (actually a bit over) with only three of us uncomfortably in the plane and enough gas to fly a hundred miles. I did the math... With the full Fuel in this extended range 252 I would have to go alone or take someone considerably under 200 lbs. The Arrow on the way back never looked prettier, or more comfortable. I thought about Bonanza's but I hate the center bar yoke business and it truthfully offered no additional comfort over an Arrow (though considerably more that the Mooney. I finally looked at the price of ownership, upkeep, and availability of parts... Piper, Piper, Piper. SO I went on the quest for me to find the perfect one for the old and overweight. I found it in a beautiful Piper Turbo Arrow IV that had a full Garmin G500 Glass Cockpit with the latest GTN series 750 & 650 GPS's, JPI Engine Moniter and New Leather interior. I flew the trusty rental to Nashville to check out the ride and fell in love at first flight. Comfortable... Fast. at 10,000 we were less than 75% and doing 153 knots true (go higher and go faster still). And most important Half the price of a comparatively equiped Bonanza.$$ KA Ching... The horrors of the T TAIL? HA the plane flys beautifully. Lands beautifully. I could barely tell any difference at all in the 76 Arrow 2 that I flew up and the 81 Arrow IV Turbo I test flew with the exception of one thing. The T Tail at Altitude in a steep 45 degree bank was way easier to nail the constant bank and altitude than the 76 arrow 2. Weight and balance.. I am a stickler. I threw in the numbers and I can put 500 lbs of me and a friend in the front seats and fill up the tanks and be inside the weight and balance limit with no problem. If I go down to 50 Gallons of gas I can put a whopping 705 lbs of people and baggage in the plane and still be great. The 50 lbs weight that someone was talking about needing in the back of on an Arrow is dead wrong. It is however correct on a Saratoga or a A36 with two heavies in the front. They like the weight spread out...
  • Great airplane, congratulations. :)
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