Keys

My plane is still in annual out of state, I hope my key is still there as well but I have a key question.
When I bought my plane a 1973 Arrow, the former owner said he only had 1 key, he had misplaced the other. He has not been able to find any way to get a copy made for a number of years.
Does anyone know of a place to get Piper keys made?
«1

Comments

  • edited December 2021

    I've had 8 planes keys made at my local hardware store, lol. The door locks that Piper uses are not airplane specific and, at least in my experience, the same locks used in some desks. Last year I replaced my cheap, pickable locks with real airplane locks. Here's a link: https://aircraftsecurity.com/

    Scott Sherer
    Wright Brothers Master Pilot, FAA Commercial Pilot
    Aviation Director, Piper Owner Society Forum Moderator and Pipers Author.

    Need help? Let me know!

  • That is good news. I was under the impression that they were special keys.
    I will likely put real locks on it once I get the un-refurbished radios, seats, carpet and instruments replaced by glorified iPads and carpet with less dirt.
    I see in this months Piper Mag door seal replacement, I better do that to keep my new carpet fresh and dry.
  • I also got keys made at the local Ace hardware.

    Andy Sikora
    1972 PA28R-200
    X51
    Retired Miami ATCT/Tracon

  • That is reassuring.
  • edited December 2021
    Years ago, I had the exact same experience as Scott. I went to a locksmith to have the original lock re-keyed. He confirmed what Scott said, that the factory Piper lock is an office drawer lock. Then he proved it by pulling out a brand new one. They were identical.

    I replaced both my cabin door and cargo hatch locks with units from Medeco. They are stronger and more secure.

    Current Medeco lockset price for pre/post 1976 PA28's is $219.90. Includes both cabin and cargo door locks with matching keys.

    www.aircraftsecurity.com

    Note: This is the same link Scott provided.

    Jim "Doc Griff" Griffin
    PA28 - 161
    Chicago area

  • Looks like they exclude the nose baggage lock. I wonder if there was an incident? The Piper lock prevents you from releasing the key if it is unlocked.

    Eric Panning
    1981 Seneca III
    Hillsboro, OR (KHIO)

  • Thank you all.
  • Eric: that's for the PA32. Resq5hvy has a PA28 Arrow, so I think he'll be in the clear.

    A lock that prevents you from removing the key unless it's locked seems like a great safety feature for the forward baggage door. I don't know if there were any incidents, but I suspect it's a liability issue?? Are the PA32 forward baggage door locks still available from Piper?

    Jim "Doc Griff" Griffin
    PA28 - 161
    Chicago area

  • edited December 2021

    Jim, yes agree ok for the PA28.
    Could be just the perceived liability vs an actual incident. Most nose baggage doors have multiple latches but for the Piper 32/34 series it is a single point of failure. If it was closed but not locked it would inevitably pop open (at the first possible time).

    A general note: Passengers are always looking for something to help with. Loading baggage and closing doors should not be one of them. I would say few pilots weigh pieces of luggage - but you should lift all pieces and make an assessment as well as personally close all doors and hatches. It is like delegating putting the boat hull plug in before launching. If you are motoring away and ask them if they did it they will say yes - and if you say are you sure - they will say I think so....

    Eric Panning
    1981 Seneca III
    Hillsboro, OR (KHIO)

  • My Seneca baggage door popped open on the takeoff roll after liftoff. I went around at 500 ft and landed with the baggage door fully open. The baggage door and nose fiberglass areas were damaged around the hinge. I had it repaired and I've been paranoid during my preflight ever since.

    Scott Sherer
    Wright Brothers Master Pilot, FAA Commercial Pilot
    Aviation Director, Piper Owner Society Forum Moderator and Pipers Author.

    Need help? Let me know!

  • Scott
    Was the door locked or just latched but in reality, neither.
  • A passenger distracted me while doing a preflight and I left the keys in the nose baggage compartment and the door unlocked. Lessons learned. I never let anyone distract me during a preflight, runup or takeoff. In case you're wondering, after landing the keys were still hanging out of the baggage door.

    Scott Sherer
    Wright Brothers Master Pilot, FAA Commercial Pilot
    Aviation Director, Piper Owner Society Forum Moderator and Pipers Author.

    Need help? Let me know!

  • Eric and Scott absolutely nailed it. No matter what anyone says, or how good their intentions, due diligence is ultimately our responsibility.

    Distractions can lead to damage or fatalities. None of us are immmune, myself included. I've been fortunate to stay out of the fatality column (else this post would be blank). A few years back, I was waiting to take off and witnessed a baggage door whip open and the interior panel get ripped off of a PA28 with 2 instructors aboard during their takeoff roll. Damaged the airplane skin, the baggage door, and of course the interior panel (which was now runway FOD). I don't know what their distraction was during the pre-flight, but it was an expensive mistake.

    I keep my ignition key on the same keyring as the baggage door key. It forces me to lock and remove the key from the baggage door before I can start the engine. Of course that procedure does no good if your plane doesn't require a key to start.

    I also keep a bathroom scale in my hangar. I weigh and record everything that goes into the plane before a flight. Makes it easy to move baggage or passengers as needed to stay within the w/b envelope and has been very valuable during ramp checks.

    Resq: Much of this discussion is anecdotal to you because your Arrow does not have a forward baggage compartment. Nonetheless, the Medeco locks are a good security upgrade. I highly recommend them.

    Jim "Doc Griff" Griffin
    PA28 - 161
    Chicago area

  • I think I will likely upgrade soon.
    Is it your policy to fly with the baggage door locked (in a PA28)? It has been so long I have been without a plane I don’t recall what we did.
    I have a very different policy with my horse trailer, it is an RV and horse trailer. I do not lock the doors when on the road. I am more worried about getting the horses out in event of fire or crash. I also have a 4 horse but will only move 3 at a time, I don’t trust the door vs one of my horses.
  • My checklist states that the baggage door is to be locked before flight.

    Jim "Doc Griff" Griffin
    PA28 - 161
    Chicago area

  • The PA-31has a placard that deals with this and a warning light in the overhead panel. But the failsafe is you lock it yourself or check it is locked everytime. That way no passenger can open it and not properly close. An Aztec guy might correct me here, but when I rated on that many years ago I recall that if the nose door opens on T/o you are going down.

  • John, yes and I think Medco wanted to avoid all of this by not providing a lockset for the nose baggage (for the Piper's that have nose baggage.

    Eric Panning
    1981 Seneca III
    Hillsboro, OR (KHIO)

  • I’ve owned a variety of Pipers. As far as I know, and 2 different mechanics have said the same thing: there are only 4 different Piper door/luggage keys. My experience verifies this!

    Ummmmm…. I left keys at home one day. I used my wife’s metal finger nail file to open the luggage lock to retrieve a headset.

    I’m hoping Santa leaves new Medco locks under my tree, or in my mantle stocking! They’re great, but pricey. As I typed this, the thought of the price of the lockset vs the price of 4 headsets in each of my Pipers…. You get the drift.

  • If you have the Medco locks, you will have to contact the Medco dealer that sold the locks and provide a key code. A local locksmith can't help. When I had my Medco locks installed, I recorded the key code and invoice number in my log book so that I could get additional keys if I needed them.

  • I will record and likely order additional keys once I get my plane home.
    Thx for the tip.
  • I would go ahead and replace the locks with the kit from the Aircraft Security link. I just did the baggage door on my 235 and after some adjustment, now it works one handed. The OEM lock, probably original, was stiff and the tumbler allowed it to be turned around as it was worn. Scott has a very good write-up that I followed from the April 2020 magazine issue. I have not done the entry door yet as I have not had the time to figure out how to remove the VW style door opener handle so I can remove the door trim to get at the lock. I found the new locks to be very solid and well made.

  • Joe8120;

    In a previous life, I used to be a Porsche/VW mechanic, so I hope this helps you out.

    In many aircraft, Piper used (circa) mid to late 1960's VW interior door latches. Pull the chrome door lever out, and look for a small slot in the "cupped" portion of the black plastic bezel behind the lever. Put a small flat head screwdriver in the slot, and pop the bezel out. Once out, you should have access to the mounting screws of the handle.

    Jim "Doc Griff" Griffin
    PA28 - 161
    Chicago area

  • @Joe8120
    @griff390
    This is great info. I will let the guy who is going to do it know about this. There are a lot of wrenches who want to fly an Arrow. A little horse trading is in order
  • Griff,

    Thanks for the tip! When I replace the door panel (and side panels) I will now know how to access the latch mechanism. I had heard that the latch was a la VW and checked with a friend who has a '69 VW and sure enough...there was my Arrow door latch!!

    Jim Torley
    CFI-A/I/G
    1969 Arrow 200
    Based at KFLY (Colorado Springs, CO)

  • Piper seems to have raided the EO manufacturers parts bin and designed planes around them.

    I fly a PA32RT-300T and PA28R

  • Glad I could help, guys.

    All the aircraft manufacturers used some automotive parts back then, not just Piper. Armrests, alternators, fan belts, voltage regulators, door handles, cigarette lighters, ashtrays, wheel bearings, latches, etc. were automotive parts from various makes and models.

    Why reinvent the wheel when you can buy it off the shelf?

    Jim "Doc Griff" Griffin
    PA28 - 161
    Chicago area

  • In my experience, locks keep the honest people honest.

  • Mcm3m
    As a cop, that has been my experience as well. I leave my truck and first day production 2010 Camaro unlocked. (Messing with my Camaro will result is the same penalty as messing with my horse or kid.) I usually don’t have much of value in the truck or car only Cowboy music and no self respecting thief would listen to that. There is a little electronic alarm that tells me if the door has been opened. The Arrow is missing a door light switch so that alarm would be difficult to install.
    I am lucky, my plane sits in front of the FBO, and it is known as Ed’s plane, Ed is the head CFI, he and I did 15 years together as midnight scum at NetJets Dispatch. We can and have flight planned to anyplace and everyplace on the planet with only a few exceptions. The one place that surprises me is NetJets has never gone to Tahiti. So my plane is watched all day and is in the field of view of the high definition video cameras.
    You are correct that the locks can be easily defeated with only slightly more effort than a stern look. Today the most secure item keeping my plane where I left it is the wheel chocks that are frozen to the ground and nose wheel tire. It is not even tied down they took the ropes out and the in ground anchor points are snow covered or filled with ice.
  • edited January 23
    Resq5hvy;

    I have no less than 21 family members who were or still are LEO's (Chicago PD, Federal Marshalls, etc.), and they echo your sentiment on locks and thieves.

    Get your bird tied down my friend. One good winter storm with high winds can destroy everything you just paid for. Yup, I suffered through freezing my knees and fingers while chipping the ice out of tie down hooks, but it was worth it. Looking back, changing airports in the middle of winter may have been a less than optimum decision.

    Pro tips: a propane torch really helped during ice removal from the tie-down hooks, and when tying down in the winter, ratchet straps are your friend.

    Thank you for your service as a PD officer. Some day we should have a beer together. With common interests like airplanes and hotrods, we'll have plenty to discuss!

    Jim "Doc Griff" Griffin
    PA28 - 161
    Chicago area

  • My door key cross referenced to a 1960’s pad lock. The ignition switch came back as a multi use lock key with cross overs to Cessna Aircraft. My Arrow is having an identity crisis.
    I have extra keys now.
    I think at some point a new ignition switch was installed, the door key is much older so the locksmith says.
Sign In or Register to comment.