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Piper PA28 Owner/Pilots of EuroGA

I guess there’s a fair amount of PA28 Owners and Pilots present on EuroGA. and it would be great to hear your stories!

How long have you flown the PA28?
Which version?
How many hours so far?
How and when did you find it/buy it?
What’s the history of the plane?
What would you tell every pilot who will fly a Pa28 – nice to know / need to know?!
Any memorable anecdotes?
What was your nicest flight in a Pa28?
What was your scariest experience?
What do you like about it?
What do you dislike about it?
Shortest strip? Highest Elevation?
Highest Altitude? Fastest Groundspeed?
Longest flight?

My first flight in a PA28 was in a 1970 Arrow -200R to LJLJ and back. Retractable gear is cool is what I thought back then, and the plane handflew very nicely. It was also quick at around 140kts. Another time I flew this Arrow to LIPV, a memorable flight indeed.

My second was in a Pa28-161 in the USA for my first ever FAA flight review. The (full time, professional) instructor was a nice guy, but appeared to me as a somewhat „dorky“. During the briefing, upon finding out I’m an airline pilot, he explained he recently joined an airline, but „pink slipped it“ during the typerating course. I had no idea what he meant and didn’t inquire further. After jump starting the plane with an old car we went flying. I made some softskills remarks about the plane handling nicely, how cool low wings are etc.. to which he replied „Oh yes, the Warrior is the best. Gotta love those hershey bar wings!“. Coming back an hour later, the wind had picked up and it was very gusty. My landings were not the most seasoned but all within tolerance. He then said „Ok buddy, let me show you one“ and did a touch and go himself, which was an „all over the place“, hard 3 pointer bounce. Immediately once airborne again he handed over the controls and commented somewhat dejectedly „damn, it sure is gusty out today“.

Ever since, everytime I see a Warrior 161 with that tapered wing, I think to myself „now look at those nice hershey bars“ and it gives me a chuckle. ;)

I don’t have more than 10h in Pa28s, but that will change now, so I’ll come back with more, later.

In the meantime I’m looking forward to reading your stories, hints, tricks etc… thanks!

always learning
LO__, Austria

Interesting what this guy has had to say about the Hershey Bar wings…

The original Hershey Bar Wings, named after the famous chocolate bar, were on the -140 and -180 series. The Warrior had the tapered wing, which is not the Hershey Bar. Most probably your -140 has got them though.

I only test flew two exemplars with the Hershey Bar wing, a -180 and the said -140 I almost bought. The -180 with the 180 hp engine is a real good load hauler and also very good on short runways. I flew the the -180 HB-OWI on a test flight (now that registration was interesting for me, as the WI part is the first two letters of my surname and at the time my short sign at work) and it showed really nice performance on the runway and in climb. We did a 4 way GPS test and it flew about 110 kts balls to the wall at 5000 ft.

In the end I did not buy it as it had too many points I knew I’d want changed.

The -140 was based close to here at Speck. It was priced quite high for what it was,which is why I passed on it. In the end, it ended up being parted out as nobody wanted to buy it for that price and by the time someone did, it had deteriorated to a sorry shape.

That one had a Piper wing levler and a S-tec 30 altitude hold but also had the old panel.

It also had quite a good runway performance but could only carry 3 with full tanks and not out of that airfield. It made a maximum of around 100 kts in cruise.

I also flew an Archer Ii for a flying club for a while.

Generally I thought them to be the benign airplane you’d expect apart from crosswind, where I found it a handful (not unlike the Seneca, which also does not like crosswind very much). From what I heard, the Hershey Bar wing equipped planes are very decent short field performers, which figures, seeing how particularly the -180 can carry 4 in comfort out of quite short grass runways. They are increadibly light on empty weight, so many of them carry more than comparative Cessnas. most of them are also egligible for a Mogas STC, which saves a lot of money.

I guess you can not do much wrong with Cherokees if they are in good shape. One decision you have to make is whether to fly on a cruise or climb prop, which can make up to 15 kts in cruise on both models and try to clean up the airframe as much as possible if speed is what you are after. If you are based on a short field, then a climb prop may be the better variant. The 160 hp mod is really nice, particularly for take off and climb performance.

Looking forward to hearing your experiences with your -140/160.

LSZH, Switzerland

@Snoopy will try and answer all the questions you posed, but not in one entry! Not sure how many PA28 hours I have flown but in its various guises it must be more than 500 hours.

I did in fact buy an out of annual taper wing Warrior II a few years ago. Let us say it was a very good entry price in a low time Warrior which had not been a school airplane, and in fact had been flown over from the USA. It lived outside and having had a very thorough inspection and the airframe pronounced in excellent condition, I plan to keep it in a hangar from now on. In the USA it had lived in northern California, so quite a dry area if you are away from the coast. It has the knots2U faring kit which does seem to work. At 2450 RPM it is an honest 120-125 KTAS cruiser.

I have flown an Archer across the Rockies around 45 years ago, and found it much better at high density altitude than the C172. It coped well climbing up to 13,000’ (DA around 15,000’). Will see how well the Warrior performs.

The taper wing PA28 is quite vice less with good control harmony. It is also well built, especially having the nose wheel attached to the engine mount and not the firewall.

Poor instruction will result in pilots trying to land too fast and driving it on. Unlike the 172 (Cessna did not share the nose wheel patent), the nose wheel does not align with the slipstream when extended, but is connected to the rudder input. This leads to runway excursions due to wheelbarrowing and landing without the aircraft properly aligned with the runway.

There is quite a thoughtful YouTube on the differences between the Cessna and Piper but have not located it. Well worth sharing with students as there are subtle and not so subtle differences. Will post when I find it. It was posted by a flight sim designer. (Found it)

During this lockdown I looked very hard at Bonanzas, mainly because the Warrior II has appreciated phenomenally, and in fact a good Warrior is today worth more than the vintage Bonanzas, and around the value of the early ‘modern’ Bonanzas. The Bonanza will cruise at 40% plus more TAS and achieve the same NMPG.

However, the Warrior, a catch up annual (and I just invested in one which covered a range of items that had been neglected) might be EUR5k. On the other hand a catch up annual on a Bonanza might be five or ten times that amount (not anecdotal, based on research with other owners).

There is a lot to be said for the simplicity of fixed gear and fixed propeller. I have been lucky to fly a lot of GA types, and the Warrior/Archer remain amongst my favorite types. Very importantly passengers enjoy flying in them.

Last Edited by RobertL18C at 18 Apr 14:49
Oxford (EGTK), United Kingdom

@Snoopy, if you haven’t already, reading about John Thorp and Fred Weick’s engineering history provides a lot of info on the original Cherokee. The Cherokee apparently started life as a Thorp homebuilt project (the T-16) and the stabilator with anti-servo tab was a Thorp invention Fred Weick was originally a NACA guy who developed the Ercoupe and carried its stability and control lessons forward. Karl Bergey was the technical manager type, also a very smart guy who was well aligned with Piper’s (and Thorp’s) emphasis on simplicity above all. Bergey was still around until only a couple of years ago. A high powered bunch for the design of a little puddle jumper, and that was I think one reason it was so successful.

This updated Cherokee design by Bergey might be of interest, note the shape of the wing plan form. It looks like, as per Socata and Vans practice, he didn’t think the tapered wing was better.

Last Edited by Silvaire at 18 Apr 17:02

How long have you flown the PA28? 4 years. First plane I flew after getting my SEP(A) was friends Arrow. It felt very nice to fly after C150 ,and somehow very easy to land. After that I decided to change my TMG to 4-seater and got a Cherokee.
Which version? 1968 140
How many hours so far? 300
How and when did you find it/buy it? Planecheck. Checked the papers, flew commercial into Denmark and flew it back home. I don’t think a prebuy would have changed anything. I didn’t need to replace anything unexpected at first annual. Of course, now and then the age shows- have replaced wingwalk and both MLG cylinders.
Price? 20K
What’s the history of the plane? 8600 hours when I bought it, midtime engine. As far as I know its not been a trainer, but still a working plane. Before me it was flying at Randers Flying club. Now I’m trying to upgrade it a bit each year- first year 8.33radio and mogas stc, then mode-S , this year trutrak and G5.
What would you tell every pilot who will fly a Pa28 – nice to know / need to know?! C172 pilots need to be careful at landing- one guy almost caused a tailstrike at flare..
Any memorable anecdotes?
What was your nicest flight in a Pa28? Flying along Norwegian coast on Nordkapp trip.
What was your scariest experience? MTOW takeoff from 600m grass and 30C over forest.
What do you like about it? I have a rule that you must be able to afford using your “toy” without thinking about the cost too much. Cherokee is probably the cheapest 4-seater to operate, the direct cost of flight hour is ca 45-50eur with mogas.. Arrow would already take 2x more for avgas .. Its simple and reliable. Nice and stable in gusty conditions (at least compared to 150 or 172 cessnas), also handles crosswind well.
What do you dislike about it? Ideally I would like archer with mogas STC -more payload and extra room at the back.
Shortest strip? Highest Elevation? 400m (light plane, right wind). never been at real altiports. 3000ft DA?
Highest Altitude? Fastest Groundspeed? does not like to go over FL95. 150 with nice tailwind, 105 normal cruise at 75%
Longest flight? Tartu-Prague and Tartu-Nordkapp both ca 1000nm , longest direct flight ca 500nm.

EETU, Estonia

How long have you flown the PA28? … 11 years … from 1989 to 2000

Which version? ….. Archer 181

How many hours so far? ….. 2700 hours up to year 2000 when I sold it for 50% more than I paid for it

How and when did you find it/buy it? ….1989

Price? …. £46000

What’s the history of the plane? ….1984 model, had 1 Prev owner in USA

What would you tell every pilot who will fly a Pa28 – nice to know / need to know?! ….. Great plane for VFR and IFR flying and very safe

Any memorable anecdotes? … in 1989, I had fitted the latest thing in avionics, a KNS 80, at last I could find Fenland

What was your nicest flight in a Pa28? …. landing in Sienna, getting the 2 folding bikes out of the back (into a hire care) and cycling around Florence and Pisa and flying a hired one around Florida, 30 airfields including Key West.

What was your scariest experience? …. never had any, but taking off from Majorca, with ATIS giving 46c was an experience

What do you like about it? … everything

What do you dislike about it? …. nothing, except 50kts TAS would have been useful

Shortest strip? Highest Elevation? …. cant remember!

Highest Altitude? Fastest Groundspeed? …. 180 kts with a 60 kt tailwind

Longest flight? …… Sardinia from the UK (not non stop)

SUMMARY …….. If you can find a nice one …. buy it … and .. go flying

I had recently got my PPL in a Cessna 150, and I remember clearly what a difference the Archer was: comfortable, nice to fly, modern panel, and about 30 knots faster. Very easy to transition and after the usual club checkout, I set off from Vancouver BC to Tulsa Oklahoma and back. The journey took around a week, and as it was around 3500nm round trip, speaks to the reliability and comfort of the type. Not sure any other type would be so practical and easy for a newbie PPL.

Coming to the UK I detected at the time, a real condescension amongst certain pilots towards this epitome of the American spam-can, but fortunately this troglodyte attitude seems to have departed the UK GA scene and the PA28 is today valued on its own merits.

My current Warrior has a couple of minor advantages over the Archer: slightly better economy, but most importantly easy engine access, both for pre flight and during maintenance. Sometimes the Warrior is in fashion, sometimes the Archer – at the moment I would say the Archer is more sought after.

The Warrior II with the 2440 pound max gross weight (an STC mod, if like mine, it only has the factory 2325 lbs max), and a typical 1480 lbs empty weight, is a four person, some luggage and fuel at the tabs (32 USG) load carrier. Without the STC it is a three person aircraft, or two couples.

The only Hershey Bar PA28 I have time in is the Arrow II. The Arrow II is excellent getting in and out of farm strips which is quite a skill for a retractable. I would suggest it is more practical than the taper wing Arrow III, which because of the tendency of empty weight increasing with later models, is not as sprightly. An N reg Arrow II would make a nice tourer without the time in service costs of maintenance under a CAA regime (although this is becoming more flexible under a private pilot maintenance program).

Oxford (EGTK), United Kingdom

Ah the PA28…. (all rentals, no ownership)
I did my first flight in Dubai, in a PA28-181, registered G-BEHY, and learned to fly on G-BEOV and G-BEOW (PA28-140). The latter two were struggling to climb on the hot and humid days in Dubai. They were all equipped with an AC, but for takeoff and initial climb, you had to ensure you had full throttle to the wall as this closed a microswitch that disabled the AC. Then when at safe altitude you’d backoff slightly, opening the microswitch and the AC flap would open, compressor starts and it would start cooling you.
Having started under CAA rules, I actually finished under FAA rules in Houston, in the AA5A/B. Moved to other pipers, getting my IA in PA28-161s, complex in PA28-200RG, SIC in PA46 (Malibu), PA32-300. After that I moved to the BE76 Duchess and C172S-G1000.


Nice thread.

When I started out in 2012, we had mostly C152 and C172 at our school in Southern California and one Archer and I always looked up to the guy learning on the Archer – I thought he was really brave. I don’t know what it was, and it may just have been the fact that he was flying the most “exotic” type in the school fleet, but I felt at the time that it was a much superior aircraft than our training Cessnas. In any case I found (and find until today) it is a more aesthetically pleasing airframe design.

About two years later, I joined a flying club in Germany that had a fleet based around half a dozen nicely equipped Archer III and some Cessnas, too. So I started flying the Archers and took them all over Europe and into Morocco. Still, I never really felt I fully mastered the Archer upon landing – I preferred the Cessnas in how they handled. Specifically, I found the Archers to be so much more “floaty”.

In 2018, my girlfriend and I and another couple did the Florida-Bahamsas trip. We had intended to charter an Arrow but since it was in maintenance when we arrived, we had to change to “what was left”, which was an older Archer II. That slowed us down a bit and we had to leave some luggage behind in Florida and plan for fuel stops – but it’s still amazing how much load you can carry in such a simple plane! The useful load of the more modern Archers is so much worse. That trip was definitely a highlight in terms of flying vacations over the last decade.

The longest trip in a PA28 must have been the return flight from Mallorca to Essen/Mülheim EDLE, with a fuel stop in Lyon.

Last year, after I had moved to Northern Germany and annoyed by the lack of useful charter opportunities compared to the Rhein/Ruhr area where I had lived before, I finally took the ownership path. After looking at many aircraft and initially planning a sole ownership, I ended up sharing an 1970 Arrow PA-28R-200 with one other co-owner (he was part of another group owning the same aircraft where all the other shareholders were stepping out).

I haven’t flown nearly as much as I would have liked to due to corona and some other issues – but I did fly some 50 hours since buying on 1st of July last year. The purchase of the share was a fair bargain IMO at the lower end of the Arrows trading on plane check and co. It was based on the price the previous group had paid to to the owner prior to them – a gentleman who had retired from flying due to his age as far as I know. On the other hand, there are some risks associated – the engine will be due sometime soon (it’s been in the aircraft for quite some time since the mid 70ies…), although it is running fine at the moment and it’s just been through annual (we paid 6k for it, the most expensive item being the fuel hoses that were due). Also, the wing spar AD is coming up and this aircraft has had a wing replaced about 7 years ago after a landing accident. So I’m a bit weary of this and actually quite conservative about further optional investments (such as avionics) until we know the spar and all are fine.

I quite enjoy flying the Arrow: It’s very practical in terms of useful load and speed. It handles very nicely in flight (stable) and upon landing – it does not float like the later Archers I’ve flown and on the contrary, needed me to get used to another effect: I would initially more often than now plunk it to the ground as it stopped flying when I expected it to float a bit more. I now use a little (more) throttle during flare and it seems to help a lot in getting more consistent, soft landings.

What I dislike? Aaaah, the color scheme maybe. I got used to it (mint green) but I’d never ever choose it this way.

Shortest strip was the island of Baltrum EDWZ at 360 meters. I got a telling-off by another Arrow pilot on Facebook for it along the lines of “I would never do that!” – but I don’t see the point: If the calculated numbers in terms of wind and density altitude etc are within limits, there is no problem. I did measure the actual take-off roll on Google Earth based on the SkyDemon logs afterwards and I’m happy to report that it pretty much matches what the POH calculations gave. At Baltrum in particular, it helps that there are no immediate obstacles either way, just grass.

Hungriger Wolf (EDHF), Germany

I’ve probably got around 100 hours in various PA-28s. I did a fair chunk of my FAA IR in a PA-28R-200 (the Hershey bar wing Arrow), and it flew nicely enough although it didn’t seem quite as easy to trim out in cruise flight as a C172 or C182.

Two memorable trips in a PA-28 – I went to a small county airshow with my (now) wife in the club’s taper wing Warrior – and it was probably one of the best airshows I’ve ever been to despite there not being a single jet. Plenty of high power piston stuff and a really nice formation flying display put on by a group of O-2s (the military version of the Cessna 337). There was also some RC modelling at the airshow, someone had built a stunning model of a Beech Bonanza, complete with details like the frequencies for his home airfield being put on the instrument panel of the model. He then proceeded to crash it, and it turned to matchwood, which was tragic!

The other memorable trip was in the Arrow while I was finishing up my FAA IR – I took the opportunity to get some ‘actual’ with a flight instructor. A friend needed a ride from Dallas, he too was working on his IR, so I flew up there on an IFR flight plan with my instructor, then for the journey back I got into the back and my friend flew the route back. There had been a forecast for a possibility for convective activity, but in Texas there always is a forecast for convective activity, and on the way up, apart from a bit of turbulence there wasn’t anything particularly bad weather-wise. Coming back, now late at night, we were about the only aircraft left on Center’s frequency, and just approaching Tyler when we saw the most enormous (and most terrifying) fork of lightning that seemed to trace its way over the entire night sky right at our 12 o’clock…with discretion the better part of valour, we told ATC we were landing now, landed at Tyler airport then found we were locked in and it was starting to rain. There was a 24hr “call out” number which we called, and someone who obviously had been woken from their sleep had to come out and let us out so we could get a motel for the night.

Andreas IOM
45 Posts
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