Newly minted PPL purchased Piper Arrow II - tips on flying or maintenance?

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by Tom Wells, Nov 7, 2020.

  1. Tom Wells

    Tom Wells Filing Flight Plan

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    Dwight Sanders
    After an 18 month journey of stops and starts I completed my PPL this October :). Simultaneously completed a transaction to buy a Piper Arrow II (PA-28R-200), which I'm happy to say is now safely in my hangar at KDPA outside of Chicago after a beautiful flight from KTVC. I'm nearly complete with the dual instruction time-in-type required by my insurance company, so it's almost time to start taking this thing for a spin solo! A series of milestones I'm glad to have completed.

    But with that said, I know the journey of learning is just beginning. And in that spirit, I'm curious if there are any Arrow pilots/owners/instructors/etc who can share any tips/tricks on best way to fly it or take care of it? Of course my CFI is providing me plenty of good information, and I've read the POH cover to cover, but I'd love any kind of practical experience someone can recommend about operating it. I'm looking at this plane as a lot more than a time builder, rather something I plan to keep for the long haul -- so I want to make sure I treat it right.

    I know this is kind of an open ended question, but hopefully that illustrates just how new I am to aircraft ownership. Any comments with respect to engine maintenance (things as simple as which oil is preferred to any sort of proactive maintenance), recommended settings during climbout/cruise (MP/RPMs), mixture settings, etc... All are appreciated! It'd be great to sort of get a feel for how multiple people fly this plane.

    Specs:
    TTAF ~2950
    Lycoming IO-360-C1C at ~800h SMOH, last overhaul was in '93
    Current oil analysis was inline with A&P expectations, though showing some elevated silicon levels. Planning on keeping the plane on an oil monitoring program.
    Compressions: 70/78/70/64 (cyl 4 not great). Recommendation from 2 A&Ps in prebuy was fly it more and it'll likely improve.
    May have been a flight school plane briefly in 1970s, but owned by same person for last 31years as a private recreational plane.
    Avionics - standard 6 pack
    Midwest plane it's whole life (Northern MI last 31yrs)

    Side note - insurance:
    In case anyone is curious, with ~50h and ink still wet on PPL, AVEMCO charged ~3050$/yr w/10hr dual instruction requirement for Piper Arrow (75k$ hull insurance). Without PPL license BWI quoted me only one company willing to underwrite policy at 3900$ as a student and with a 25h dual instruction requirement before I'd be allowed to solo. I occasionally see people asking about insurance rates so thought I'd include that here.
     

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    Last edited: Nov 7, 2020
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  2. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach

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    Very nice for a first airplane. You can go a lot of places in an Arrow. I really enjoyed flying the one I used to own.

    Agree with the mechanics. The compressions will probably improve if you fly it more.
    If you fly a lot solo, or with only the two front seats occupied, carry something in the baggage compartment (tools, case of oil, something) as it will help keep the nosewheel up on the touchdowns.
    Enjoy!
     
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  3. Tom Wells

    Tom Wells Filing Flight Plan

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    Thanks! Before I fly tomorrow I'll be sure to load the baggage compartment back up with some of the spare oil/tools the owner provided. I emptied it out since I didn't figure I'd use it, but if it's good ballast to ensure I can flare properly -- I'm all for it. Thanks for the tips!
     
  4. Morgan3820

    Morgan3820 En-Route

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    Keep some power on flare. In the event of an engine failure do not try and stretch out your glide.
    Congratulations. I like mine.
     
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  5. Arrow76R

    Arrow76R Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I second the opinions above regarding extra weight in the baggage area for one or two people only in the front seats!! Also maybe limit to 2 "notches" of flap until you get used to the "Cherokee Clunk".
     
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  6. Tom Wells

    Tom Wells Filing Flight Plan

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    Thanks for the reinforcement on the baggage area weight. I'll leave some extra heft back there! Especially b/c I'm a solid 250lbs, and my most likely passenger is a gentleman of similar... robust carriage.

    What's this "Cherokee Clunk" you refer to?
     
  7. PlasticCigar

    PlasticCigar Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I only have about 300 hours in an Arrow II, but I can share what I know:

    It’s almost too easy to land. Since it has a “greased anvil” glide ratio you can come in at basically any speed, chop the power and still pull off a reasonable landing...take some effort to really nail your approach speed maintain a stabilized approach. Don’t let it make you sloppy.

    I’d file for 120 kts and 10 gph. These are pretty conservative numbers but worked well for me...now that you have your private and a pretty decent IFR airplane it’s time to work on your instrument rating.

    It’s a capable plane, but be careful in the mountains. I hit downdrafts a few times that I couldn’t climb out of and the performance above 8000’ density altitude is pretty dismal...make sure if you intend to fly in the mountains to fly with an instructor familiar with the area and the plane.

    Mine liked to cruise around 8000’. If you’re flying this high for a few hours, you should invest in a pulse ox (they’re about $20 now) and oxygen. Even if you don’t “need” it, you’ll probably feel better when you land if you have it.

    Like with any plane, always consider your engine out glide options (blue Amoeba on ForeFlight or something similar). Only engine failure I had was in an Arrow but I was prepared and able to land on a runway.
     
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  8. hindsight2020

    hindsight2020 En-Route

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    Solid choice. Fly the snot out of it. Cheap to keep.
     
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  9. kep5niner

    kep5niner Pre-takeoff checklist

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  10. frfly172

    frfly172 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I owned an Arrow II was a great airplane. Easy on maintenance ,good flying qualities, good cross country airplane. Go out and enjoy it,get your IFR and have even more capabilities.
     
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  11. 455 Bravo Uniform

    455 Bravo Uniform En-Route

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    Congrats!

    Only advice: clutter up that clean new hangar.
     
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  12. Ozone

    Ozone Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I fly an arrow in a club setting. Several mentors of mine ( including several CFI's) have advised to make the gear down checks on downwind, base and final.
    TOUCH the gear lever, glance down at your hand when you do, and MAKE sure you SEE 3 green lights.
    Also, when the gear is down, there's a odd whistling sound while at pattern speed...so LISTEN for it.

    My personal call out is also this (once i SEE 3 green, no red and i SEE that the gear lever is down): " I am now flying a normal plane"

    Our club uses Savvy aviation for all 4 planes. It's been helpful to catch things before they become problems (like a cylinder that recently was gradually getting hotter). Our club also sprung for a borescope that attaches to an ipad, with a mechanic assisted inspection, this has helped ID suspect valves; again before they became a problem. Based on casual conversation with our club maintenance officer, he has said that these preventative interventions have probably saved the club 5 figures in repair costs in just 2 years.
     
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  13. William Pete Hodges

    William Pete Hodges Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Congratulations on buying and owning your first airplane! I have owned a Cherokee but not an Arrow, a good friend owned one for years and loved it. Here are a few suggestions that may help.

    Being an aircraft owner & pilot is a lot different than being a renter & pilot. You literally pay for your mistakes not only in piloting skill but on judgement issues of planning and maintenance. Strive to keep your airplane fully maintained and think ahead about future maintenance and upgrades. I like upgrades that make my bird easier to use, better for my missions, or avert costly repairs down the road.

    Find a good AI mechanic who is familiar with your type and who you can trust to steer you in the right direction when the time comes. Many maintenance issues have only one remedy, but just as many can be handled more than one way. There are usually trade offs involved depending on which way you go. The least expensive way may be the best, but not always. Sometimes it is better to spend more now so that final resolution eliminates potential future problems.

    Airplanes are not like cars. They last a long time if properly cared for and not abused. One of your goals should be to add intelligent upgrades that make your airplane more desirable when you sell, but not by throwing your money away on something you can't use. Most avionics upgrades won't pay you back when you sell, so you must get your use out of them while you still own the bird. If you need certain avionics buy them during the first few years of ownership and enjoy them, but don't expect payback when you sell.

    DON'T RUN OUT OF FUEL!!! Spend time after each flight verifying the fuel remaining at the end of the flight is the amount you expected, and meets your personal minimums. One day that might not be the case, when that happens find out why and adjust your procedures accordingly. If that is the only thing you get out of my post then good. That means you and your bird will both be around and healthy for the next flight.

    FLY YOUR AIRPLANE LIKE YOU OWN IT!! This is an unusual concept to a renter, but not at all to an owner. For example, if you think brake pads are expensive to replace, then adjust your flying to use them less harshly when possible. Land slower and roll longer so you don't need as much brake to stop. This will make the pads last longer, and increase the main tire life as well. Once you start looking at flying for reduced maintenance costs there are hundreds of little things you can do to make your bird last longer and cost less to maintain. Think about it and you will be rewarded!!

    Your Arrow is probably a few decades old. Make it a promise right now that you won't be the one that tears it up. Not on your watch! You are now responsible for the stewardship of your bird. Make sure you can pass it on to the next owner in as good or better condition than you found it. That will make us all happy and pleased to have you as one of us.

    Fly SAFE! Have FUN! Petehdgs.
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2020
  14. Rgbeard

    Rgbeard Pattern Altitude

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    Make a sticker.

    DFTPTFWD.
     
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  15. Domenick

    Domenick Pre-takeoff checklist

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    He may be referring to a carrier type landing--dropping it in from a foot--not that I ever do that. Fixed gear Cherokees have very robust main gear. I'm guessing the retract Arrow's gear is less so.

    5042T is a 1972 model.
    Cherokees as a tribe are a little nose heavy. With your weight a bit of baggage compartment ballast is a good idea. I fly solo with a 45 pound toolbox in my Warrior's baggage compartment on the passenger side. It is a somewhat different ride without the toolbox. Of course a WarriorII is not an ArrowII so YMMV.

    Congrats on the plane. Was Avemco insurance the best deal you could find?
     
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  16. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach

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    I thought those were mandatory FAA issue. Plane should already have that placarded to be legal, non? ;)
     
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  17. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Final Approach

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    Or dont. That works, too.
     
  18. Ghery

    Ghery Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The CFI who signed my complex endorsement (using the club's 1969 Arrow) called it the "Safe Mode" glide, in that it glided like a safe. I had a few experiences with him in that plane that proved that it did not glide like the C-172 I learned in. Also, with the Hersey Bar wings once the mains touched down it was finished flying. I never bounced a landing in the Arrow, but I can bounce them with the best of them in a C-172 or C-182.

    Good point. My CFI was the same way. Drop the gear on downwind adjacent to the tower. Downwind, check 3 green. Base, check 3 green. Final, check 3 green. Short final, check 3 green once again. He was a former airline pilot and said he had never landed gear up and didn't plan on changing that. I haven't flown an Arrow in years, but I still can hear his voice on that.

    One other thing about the gear. You will feel it in the rudder pedals when it goes down. The nose wheel locks in. One flight when I get getting the complex endorsement my CFI told me to configure for slow flight. So, I pulled power, dropped the flaps and selected gear down. A moment later he and I looked at each other and asked if the other had felt the gear go down in the rudders. Neither of us had, and I didn't have the 3 green lights. The gear was still up. Dug out the checklist and the first item is to check a 5 amp breaker (I forget what it does). It was popped. Pushed it in and the gear went down. Flew back to the field with the gear down and locked. Let the mechanic figure out why it didn't go down. Of course, he couldn't duplicate the problem and it never did it again, but the lesson was that you can feel the gear go down in the rudders as an additional thing to look for. Keep the emergency checklists handy, you never know when you might need them. And if you need to drop the gear after using the emergency checklist, fly it home with the gear down. Don't create a real emergency by not being able to get the gear down a second time.
     
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  19. kaiser

    kaiser Pre-Flight

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    Congrats! I failed to pull the trigger during training and now I am fighting the mission game.

    Send out a ping if you are ever in need of a safety pilot!
     
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  20. sourdough44

    sourdough44 Pattern Altitude

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    Congratulations on the plane. I assume you have some type of engine preheat for the colder months? I like to preheat some below 45 or so, ‘cold soaked’ temp, not daily high.

    I normally use Phillips 20-50, though I like Aeroshell too. Oil changes are easy, if not versed, work up to it. Little things like spark plug checks/swap/replacement come up at times.

    I don’t like long sits with a plane, never over two weeks. I plug in my battery tender periodically, opinions vary on use.

    The two best fuel stops in S WI are Burlington and Monroe. In IL Rochelle is a fine lunch stop.

    Don’t forget the gear. I normally drop the gear by abeam the numbers, in a traditional pattern.
     
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  21. Tom-D

    Tom-D Taxi to Parking

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    The first thing you should do is subscribe to ADlog.com
    be certain your ADs are completed, and signed off properly.
     
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  22. brien23

    brien23 Cleared for Takeoff

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    Their is a jack point on the nose that takes 3 jacks to drop check, the nose takes a offset jack. If your mechanic ties the tail down and use only 2 jacks to drop check it find another mechanic. Watch the hydraulic system if you have to add hydraulic fluid find the leak, if you have the prop with a 100 hr AD don't go over the time limit. If you still have the auto gear drop system that works keep it don't let people talk you into disable it.
     
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  23. Domenick

    Domenick Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I am a bog fan of https://adlog.com/
    Here's a description of their services I have previously posted:
     
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  24. Tom Wells

    Tom Wells Filing Flight Plan

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    Thanks everyone for your comments, this is all super helpful for me! Below I've left some general responses/takeaways and others directed to specific folks who called out certain items.

    My main takeaways here:
    0)
    Don't forget the gear. I'll do my best here! So far so good. The automatic gear extension should be a nice safety check, although one I will not be relying on. Every lap in the pattern my instructor calls out gear about 14x on a disciplined schedule, so it's well drilled into my head so far.
    1) Ballast in the baggage compartment to balance out the nose heavy nature of the plane. So far I think I'm good in this area since I loaded it up (thx to your comments) before my last flight. Might even throw some more stuff in there since it can still be a little heavy on landing.
    2) Get the IFR cert. Already working with my CFII on that :)
    3) Fly it a lot, don't neglect it. That will not be a problem, I will be at the plane all the time. I've already made the 1hr15m (each way) trek to the suburbs a few times just to keep the plane company. I worry it gets lonely after more than 24 hours without me. I think I need it more than it needs me. In all seriousness, I have a number of XC flight ideas setup, and as soon as I get a couple minor things attended
    4) @sourdough44 -- Yeah there's an engine preheater (tanis heater?). I haven't used it yet because I keep in a heated hangar and IL has been unseasonally warm the last 2 weeks. Good to know on the gas stops! I already have friends from Madison area who want me to fly them up there, so I'll try that out on my way back. I think my normal refueling will be DeKalb (DKB).
    5) @PlasticCigar -- I won't let the Arrow's landing characteristics make me sloppy. My CFI is pretty strict during training to make sure we hit the right numbers at the right time. I'll keep that up.
    6) @455 Bravo Uniform -- Already working on cluttering up the hangar. Friends came to see the plane and were instantly disappointed by the lack of seating, beer, or any signs of life. Working on "decorations" and a minifridge this weekend (plus the need to haves like tools + oil).
    7) Don't try to stretch glide. This is something I've already gotten enough first hand experience with to not try it. My training was in a LSA (Remos GX), which has an absurdly high (and achievable!) glide ratio, so this is quite a change. On the last flight my CFI saw me putting in too much flaps and pulling power too early and then did me a favor by pulling the rest of the power.. Questioning me "so, do you have the runway made? Try to glide, lets see how you do". Yeah... that was sobering. What I could do no problem in the LSA is not even remotely a possibility in the Arrow!
    8) @William Pete Hodges -- Thanks a lot for your advice on myriad points. This is something that I do genuinely want to have last for a long time. Unlike a lot of folks who (I think) use Arrows just to build time on their way to a more advanced rating -- this is a keeper for me. I will fly it like I own it and one day hopefully return it to service for someone else who can get more life out of it. Thanks again for those pointers!
    9) @kaiser -- I'm still looking to build my aviator network (really only know my CFI), so please feel free to DM me and maybe can do a flight sometime!

    Thanks again everyone! :)
     
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  25. mandm

    mandm Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Congrats on the purchase. I really like the Arrow and hoping to buy one, just didn't find the right one yet. Also in the Chicago area. Once I got my complex endorsement (PPL 110hrs TT, 15hrs in retractable), the insurance quote on an Arrow for me was $2600 through BWI. I'm almost ready to get my instrument rating too.
     
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  26. Jmcmanna

    Jmcmanna Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Sorry, late to the thread. I have a 1973 model (built in 1972) Arrow...I am just across the state line at BUU. Insurance for me this year was $1645, but I bumped my hull insurance coverage to $100,000 since I put a new engine in last year.

    The book says to rotate at 65mph. I get a much cleaner departure from the runway at 70. I set the trim for takeoff just aft of the line on the trim wheel. For landing, I fly 90mph till short final with 2 notches of flaps...I only use full flaps in really calm conditions.

    In crosswind landings, I run out of aileron before rudder. Keep the speed up a bit with strong crosswinds so you can keep some aileron authority to touchdown.

    21” and 2400rpm gets me where I want to go at 8gph. When you do your instrument rating, 17” and 2400rpm with the gear down and flaps 25 works great on a glide slope to get you in a normal position for landing.
     
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  27. N1120A

    N1120A Pattern Altitude

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    Arrows are great platforms to get your instrument rating on. Actually, one of the best, because the gear really helps getting you configured. Glad to hear you're getting that - it makes you a much better pilot.

    Don't be afraid of flying high - an Arrow will happily bore holes at 11,000'. You'll be rewarded with better tailwinds and safer glide distances.
     
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  28. mandm

    mandm Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I found the take-offs to be difficult with full fuel and 3 adults (still under useful load). Have you experienced this as well? (or maybe was an off-day for me)
     
  29. Ron Stowell

    Ron Stowell Pre-Flight

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    Congrats on earning your PPL. Arrow is a great airplane. During the pre buy did they note when
    Last magneto inspection?
    What's the date on engine hoses and hydraulic hoses?
    When was the hydraulic power pack last OH?
    Actuators
    Elevator trim barrel play?
    We do Arrow pre buys and these are some of the items we find.
     
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