More Piper Comanche questions!

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by FloridaPilot, Aug 12, 2018.

  1. FloridaPilot

    FloridaPilot Pattern Altitude

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    I have been thinking about Piper Comanches lately after coming back from OSH.

    If you had a choice between a Beechcraft Debonair or a Piper Comanche 260B which one would you choose?

    I also noticed that the 250's and 260's are pretty much the same price. Is there any pros and cons to both?

    Generally speaking how difficult will parts be to find?


    Are tip tanks an option from a separate company or were they installed when the airplane was built? Does it increase the useful load like Bonanzas?

    How expensive are annuals because of the retractable gear compared to the 235?


    As always thanks for your answers!!

    FP

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  2. ActiveAir

    ActiveAir Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I chose a 260B and love it. I am 6'3, 200lbs, and found that the Comanche has more room in the cockpit compared to the Deb with it's (Deb's) rounded roof line and yoke aparatus.

    For the Comanche, yes the tips tanks supposedly add to the useful. I have never had a problem finding parts. The landing gear really hasn't added much expense. I do change out the "bungies" every 2 years. My annuals start around $1800.00.

    I did upgrade my panel. Try to go fly each one and you will see.

    Go to https://forums.delphiforums.com/Comanches. Great info there on Comanches.
     
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  3. midwestpa24

    midwestpa24 Line Up and Wait

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    The primary difference between the 250 and 260 is the 260 is fuel injected. However there were some late 250s that were fuel injected, and some early 260s weren't.

    The Comanche truly is an underrated aircraft. Purchase cost is less than an equal Bonanza or Cessna, and they will usually go faster on less gas.
     
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  4. FloridaPilot

    FloridaPilot Pattern Altitude

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    Is it a good first time airplane? how does it handle in IFR conditions? Does it handle like Archers?

    Thank you
     
  5. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Final Approach

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    Tough question since I have a decent amount of time in both and they are two of my three all-time favorite airplanes. There are a lot of similarities since the Comanche was specifically designed to compete with the Bonanza series. Hmmm...

    All other things being equal, I'd go with the Debonair for two reasons. One is, the Deb (C33 and C33A) ultimately became the almost identical Bonanza F33 and F33A, which had a run from 1970 to 1994. You can check this, but to me that means a broader base for repair and replacement parts. The second is sheer comfort. The Comanche is very comfortable but the Debonair feels like flying in a living room, front and back. Maybe not a big deal to the pilot, but often an important item for passengers.

    Both are very stable and comfortable IFR platforms. In both cases flying a glideslope consists of setting up everything (including instrument approach airspeed) except gear at approach level and dropping the gear about a dot above GSI. In light wind conditions, there is literally nothing else to do to establish your glideslope-hugging descent.

    Hard to say about an Archer comparison. Make/model comparisons are so tied to pilot experience. Both are cleaner and slipperyer (that's not a word!) than an Archer, the Comanche perhaps a little more so more so than the Deb.
     
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  6. ActiveAir

    ActiveAir Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I bought my 260B when I had 85 hrsTT. Got my PPC in Sept. Got the Comanche in Oct. Had to get 25 hours dual time for insurance reasons. Insurance was steep at first until I got my IR the following months. It has been an excellent IR platform. All around great travelling machine.

    I have had it almost 10 years now. Considered twins and other a/c, but hard to beat what the Comanche offers. - speed, economy, payload, etc. Mine has most of the speed mods, including speed sweep windsheild for better vis.and I put a bit of $ in the panel.

    Handles much sportier than an Archer.
     
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  7. FloridaPilot

    FloridaPilot Pattern Altitude

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    I just became a member Thanks for the info, I will check it out.

    Those both are amazing airplanes. I'm interested to hear about the 3rd one.

    I have to get in one to see what it's like, Do you think Comanche owners have a meetup website in Florida?
     
  8. j1b3h0

    j1b3h0 Line Up and Wait

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    Comanche is my favorite Piper single. The 250/260 is the right amount of horses so the airplane does everything well, carry 4 fat guys to Utah, takeoff and land relatively short, roomy and flys nice. Just mows through turbulence, unlike my t-wagging Bonanza. I suspect it’s a much better instrument platform than the v-tail, although they originally had hodgepodge, non-six pack panels. I’d prefer regular toe-brakes the early ones had. Only downside is quite a few ADs, they’re no longer built and they’re all getting pretty old. Love the ones with the Lopresti mods and a standard panel.
     
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  9. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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  10. Flavius Renatus

    Flavius Renatus Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Here is a link a video on my YouTube Channel.



    That covers some of the information you are looking for.

    I will say I am very happy with my 250 w/tips.

    Flav
     
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  11. Unit74

    Unit74 En-Route

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    With the Deb, you get let into the Beechtalk circle of trust. Those guys are wizards over der...... problems answered are measured in seconds, not days........ You gonna find that on a Comanche? Both are good planes. I'd have to take the Deb though. Just a heluva lot more support.
     
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  12. dans2992

    dans2992 En-Route

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    Does the Deb have options for seats 5/6? Could be a factor if you want to carry the occasional small passenger back there.
     
  13. Gmonnig

    Gmonnig Pre-Flight

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    Love my Comanche 250. I have some time in a V35B and I give a very slight nod to the BO for handling (well, landings not turbulence). I like the Comanche for everything else. It handles great, hauls 1200lbs (without weight and balance issues like a Beech), parts are not hard to find (Webco in Newton, KS), parts aren't Beech prices, Wider than a bonanza by a couple inches, over 1000NM range and priced well. I'm just glad I got my PA24 when I did, seems like the secret was out on them right after I purchased and prices went up on them. They are Zinc-chromate from the factory, so no corrosion issues and are great up high. I fly mine into ski country, Colorado. If my plane was deiced, and maybe turbo, it would be perfect.
     
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  14. FloridaPilot

    FloridaPilot Pattern Altitude

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    Thanks for the info, that helped a lot! Were the tips from factory or installed later?
     
  15. Flavius Renatus

    Flavius Renatus Pre-takeoff checklist

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    No Problem.

    The tips are from a company called JL Osborne.

    https://www.jlosborne.com/piper.htm

    They are the best speed mod available for the Comanche. You get extra load and an extra 2 hrs of fuel....if you butt can handle it. :)
     
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  16. FloridaPilot

    FloridaPilot Pattern Altitude

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    I have to get in both and fly em to see which one I like.

    I like the Comanche because of the Lycoming Engine, (I hear they are more reliable then Conti) from what I see people fly em way past TBO.

    I like the Deb because you can get tip tanks faster than the Comanche. (I'm okay peeing in a cup...lol)

    I like the Comanche because it seems like parts are cheaper to get than the Deb

    I like the Deb because support is much better and I already know quite a few online folks that would help. (I'm a member of Beechtalk and ABS) But if the right opportunity comes along when I'm ready to buy I would pick up a Comanche no hard feelings to them. I don't want to be an airplane hopper. I want to buy one and that's it.

    I like the Comanche because Corrosion is a big problem here in Florida!

    I like the Comanche because CG is better than in a Bonanza Deb

    Choices, Choices! (good choices to have)
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2018
  17. FloridaPilot

    FloridaPilot Pattern Altitude

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    Can you land on grass strips without issues with a Comanche?
     
  18. kyleb

    kyleb En-Route

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    The Comanche has big tires and wheels and handles rough surfaces pretty well. I have a friend who based his 180 hp, turbo-normalized Comanche at a <2,000' grass strip. It was a one way strip, with obstacles on the good end.
     
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  19. N1120A

    N1120A Pre-takeoff checklist

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    A Comanche is like Piper's version of a Mooney. Goes faster and burns less gas than the capability suggests. They are also very, very good looking planes and among the most stable IFR platforms out there. They even make a great twin. The issues most people run into is that they are simply old. That means you are going to have to compromise on a panel or invest as much as you are paying for the plane in upgrading to something useful. A truly great plane though, that should have never gone out of production.
     
  20. Unit74

    Unit74 En-Route

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  21. SCCutler

    SCCutler Administrator Management Council Member

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    I'd take a nice Comanche over a meh Debonair.

    The CG is much less an issue in Comanches, but it is manageable in the Beech products.

    No Deb ever had 6 seats, but even in the short Bonanzas with 5/6 seats (S35, V35, V35A, V35B, F33A - and seats 5 and 6 were optional in all events), I would never consider using 5th and 6th seats, because I cannot imagine a W&B scenario in which I need the third row and can actually use it, unless i am carrying small children. If I need three rows of seats, and intend to use them, I'd get an early A36 Bonanza (later ones, and G36 models, got heavy), a PA32 (Lance/Saratoga) or a C210.

    I would have loved to have found the right Comanche for me - I wanted a C model - but the Cs are pretty rare, since the Lock Haven, PA factory was flooded, and production never resumed. I like the wider cabin in the Bo.

    All that said, I bought a V35A Bonanza 11 years ago, and no regrets; it has served my mission well thus far.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2018
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  22. FloridaPilot

    FloridaPilot Pattern Altitude

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    As far as my mission goes I can't imagine using Six seats. I would probably use three, (four Max) Including myself as the pilot.
     
  23. Ryan F.

    Ryan F. Line Up and Wait

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    I love Comanches. I've owned a Twin Comanche since 2001. I've flown the 180 and 260 singles.

    But no one will ever choose a Comanche over a Bo (or PA-30 over a Baron) for any reason other than money. The Beech products are superior. Beefier, more comfortable, better performance.

    And, that's the reason I own mine. I get 80% of a Baron for 50% of the acquisition and operating costs. Value proposition. In that regard, it's unbeatable.

    Would I like to own a Baron? Very much. Is it in my budget? No.

    The spread between the single Comanches and the Beech products is a little slimmer. An older Bo or Debonair is more competitive with the Comanche price-wise. I just don't care for Continental engines, so that keeps me out of a lot of single engine Beech products. Hell, I'm just not a guy that likes singles for IFR traveling machines, period. They're daytime VFR only (or very light, vanilla IFR) for me.

    The Comanches are among the best Piper ever produced, though. I'm biased, but I view them as distinctly superior to the Senecas and Arrows which came after. The Comanches were better built and had better performance. The Seneca carries a bigger load but otherwise it's a step down from the PA-30 -- fat wing, high fuel burn, slow. Piper got into the Seneca/Arrow business in order to make and sell a cheaper airplane, not to improve on an older design. It shows. Look at how many Comanches are perfectly preserved and will fly indefinitely into the future thanks to every inch being zinc-chromated at the factory, vs. Senecas and Arrows rotting away everywhere due to corrosion.

    So if money's no object, I couldn't steer you away from the Beech products. And I say that as a Comanche zealot. But if you need to find the sweet spot between performance and cost, the Comanche can't be beat.
     
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  24. FloridaPilot

    FloridaPilot Pattern Altitude

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    I hear that a lot about Continental engines but wouldn't you pick the Comanche over the Bo because of a better made Lycoming engine? Heck if both airplanes are side by side and the specs are not much different I would pick the one that is more safe to fly. If I know that I'm going to have problems with a Continental engine on the ground or in flight I wouldn't consider the airplane.
     
  25. midwestpa24

    midwestpa24 Line Up and Wait

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    I wouldn't choose a Comanche just because of the 5th and 6th seats available in the later models. Those seats are of very limited utility. In my mind, the Comanche is a 4 seat airplane, and even then with four adults there is some sacrifice to fuel load. However the Comanche is a great cross-country machine, IFR platform, and excellent handling airplane. The 250 I fly regularly cruises at 155 kts at 14 gph all day long, and with 90 gallons onboard can take me almost anywhere in the midwest non-stop. I can take myself and the wife, load it up with bags, full fuel, with no weight/CG issues.
     
  26. Ryan F.

    Ryan F. Line Up and Wait

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    Well... sort of, yes, maybe. I just don't like Continental's big bore engines. Seems like every piston engine problem I've ever had involved a Continental engine, despite the vast majority of my piston time being in Lycomings (few issues, none major.) But TCM's quality control issues have been variable over time and I'm not sure where they stand presently. Maybe they've improved. Their engines are popular, and I don't have a great deal of experience with their recent offerings, so I'm hesitant to assume my experience and bias equates to a categorical "Lycoming is superior to Continental" factoid.

    My gut and intuition steers me away from Continental when possible, but that's as far as I can really go with it. I feel more comfortable with a Lycoming engine whenever possible, but I won't necessarily kick a Continental engine airplane out of bed.
     
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  27. Ryan F.

    Ryan F. Line Up and Wait

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    Agreed. The last row seats are almost never used by most owners. I have the 5th and 6th seats for my airplane (even had them re-upholstered when I redid my interior) but I've never used them, not even once.

    All Comanches are 4 seats airplanes, when you get right down to it. There are lots of instances in which you can fill all 4 seats and fill the tanks, which is pretty impressive. 4 adults and full tanks is doable if you're talking two couples (women and men of average weight.) I fly my family and a completely full baggage area with full tanks, but my kids are 13 and 14 and growing every year... at some point I'll have to leave some fuel behind.

    The 5th and 6th seats could be used in a pinch for a couple of kids or very small people. But there won't be any room for bags, so...
     
  28. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Final Approach

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    I've landed on worse than grass strips with a Comanche :D

    Now that you mention it, I can amend my answer about short fields. This is from a private dirt strip, Yellow Hat/Golden Field (CO61) in Colorado. 3600' runway at 7710 msl (density altitude higher). And it was not the worst.

    TakeoffRoll.JPG
     
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  29. FloridaPilot

    FloridaPilot Pattern Altitude

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    Hey you still didn't tell me what that 3rd airplane was.
     
  30. FloridaPilot

    FloridaPilot Pattern Altitude

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    Won't ever do that with my missions, I would have to purchase a Piper 6 to do that or rent one and even that the people in the back won't be very comfortable.
     
  31. dans2992

    dans2992 En-Route

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    I have a common mission that’s my wife and I, inlaws, and 8y old daughter. Works well for me.
     
  32. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Final Approach

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    Let's call it a tie between a Mooney J and a PiperSport :D
     
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  33. MRUSA

    MRUSA Filing Flight Plan

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    I owned a Comanche 260B and three different Twin Comanches. They are a marvelous breed and give the best bang for the buck in category. I have flown Bonanzas and I would say that the BO is significantyly easier to fly in the pattern and land than a Comanche. But I find the cabin more comfortable in the Piper.

    If I were looking, I would look for both Comanches and Bonanzas or Debonairs, and I would choose the first one I found in pristine condition, regardless of make. These airplanes are old and they vary widely in condition. A lot of them are beaters, and a few of them are gems. You want a gem foremost, and whether it is the Piper or the Beechcraft is of secondary significance. They will both serve the same need in fine fashion. Choose the one that has been well cared for.
     
  34. FloridaPilot

    FloridaPilot Pattern Altitude

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    What makes a Comanche difficult to land? Is it because it's lower to the ground than a Bonanza?
     
  35. charheep

    charheep Line Up and Wait

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    I have heard that the wing stops flying and drops when you run out of lift. Supposedly a little power into the flare helps. All hearsay though.
     
  36. midwestpa24

    midwestpa24 Line Up and Wait

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    The urban legend is that Comanche's are nose heavy. Coupled with the Comanche's tail low stance, it takes a little effort to make a good, mains first landing. It is mostly rumor though, it is possible to land a Comanche just fine. The secret is a little extra nose up trim on final to help relieve the nose heaviness in the flare.
     
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  37. FloridaPilot

    FloridaPilot Pattern Altitude

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    Are these stock tires or did you have to get them custom made?
     
  38. Chip Sylverne

    Chip Sylverne En-Route

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    Fear is the poison of our lives.
    Comanche's land just fine as long as you can hold airspeed. Trim in 80mph on final, carry a touch of power to about 3' above the runway and hold, hold, hold till she lands. You cannot pull and "flare" like you do in a Cherokee or Bo, or you'll balloon. She's got short legs and an efficient wing, so come in too fast and she floats a long way. Airspeed control and patience rule the day.
    BTW I love my 250.
     
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  39. FloridaPilot

    FloridaPilot Pattern Altitude

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    Have you ever flown a Mooney? How do they compare?
     
  40. Chip Sylverne

    Chip Sylverne En-Route

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    Fear is the poison of our lives.
    Flying characteristics are very similar, the 250 has more power, which is always a good thing in my book. Mooney cockpit's tighter, and Mooney seating position is more like a sports car. Depending on the model, rear seat is pretty much for kids. In my 250, I can put 4 adults, but since I have the seat full back, whoever's behind me has to have short legs. My buddy's 260B is much roomier in the rear. If you're tall in the torso, you might find headroom a little lacking in the Comanche. I kept bumping my head in turb, but ditched the headset for in-ear, so now it's not really a problem. Plus, I can wear a hat in winter.

    Ask an A&P whether they'd rather work on a Mooney or Comanche. The Mooney is tighter than Elvis's pants. A Comanche 180, they can move in with a roomate.
     
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