Shopping for a Used Piper PA-28 Series Plane?

While the new resurgent Piper Aircraft Corporation is doing quite well, if you’re in the market for an affordable aircraft for the family you may want to take a look at a used planes in the Piper PA-28 series instead. After all, the Arrow that Piper still produces today is based on the Piper PA-28 Cherokee, which speaks well of the timelessness of the design.

Specs and Performance of Piper PA-28

Unlike its previous J3 bestseller, the Piper PA-28 Cherokee features a low wing design, and it provides 3 seats in addition to the pilot’s. The earliest 1960-61 Cherokees were a bit underpowered for four people, but in 1962 Piper released a version with a 180-HP engine. In 1963 the company introduced the flat-six Lycoming O-540 in the Cherokee, and then in 1964 they launched a 2-seater trainer with a modest 140-HP engine.

While there are of course dozens of variants in the Piper PA-28 series, these three comprised the basic types in the Piper Cherokee lineup. So if you’re in the market for a used Piper PA-28, these are your basic options.

One good example for a family plane that can double as a trainer is the Lycoming O-360-A4M powered Cherokee. The 135 kW means you get 181 HP. That’s enough to give you a speed of about 153 mph. It can also carry a useful load of up to 900 pounds. The range can reach up to 737 miles, and the service ceiling is set at about 11,000 feet.

Pros and Cons of Piper PA-28

There are several crucial selling points for the Piper PA-28 series. It offers fairly easy handling. It’s roomy, it’s fast enough, and it looks appealing. It’s also quite affordable.

It doesn’t quite rank among the best in any particular category such as speed or space, but it offers good enough qualities in so many categories that it may be worth your while.

Buying Tips for Piper PA-28

If you’re buying a used plane in the Piper PA-28 series, you better make sure you get the type that really fits your needs and flying ability. You may want to steer clear of the trainers so you don’t risk buying an overused engine, although you still want to get a plane that’s been used regularly. A seldom-used plane can be just as problematic to maintain as an overused one.

You will have a lot of options when buying a used Piper PA-28, as about 30,200 fixed undercarriage PA-28 Cherokees were manufactured by the end of 2004. About 10,000 of them are PA-28-140s with two seats and 150 HP. There’s a 4-seater version as well. With so many possible options, you should be able to negotiate a low price that fits your budget.

You may also want to take a look at the Arrows in the Piper PA-28 series. They have 200-HP engines, and proved so popular that the production of the previous 180-HP versions was discontinued. Most of them feature a retractable landing gear and can carry quite a load as well.

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