Piper Arrow II vs III (+ Turbo or Not...?)

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by Alex Batista, Dec 9, 2018.

?

Which airplane you think is better for cross countries of over 500 nm?

  1. Piper Arrow II

    5.0%
  2. Piper Arrow III

    17.5%
  3. Piper Turbo Arrow III

    77.5%
  1. Alex Batista

    Alex Batista Pre-Flight

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    Hello all! (Here’s my first post, yay!)

    I’m a relatively new pilot with a bit over 150 hrs and currently starting my instrument rating. My budget will allow me to purchase an airplane by the end of 2020 so I’m starting to look around.

    Before you recommend other options like Comanche’s, Mooney’s, Bonanza’s, etc (which I have not discarded) please keep the comparisons on this thread to ONLY the Piper Arrow series. Anything outside of it will beat the purpose of this post. o_O

    First, my mission:

    To regularly fly cross countries of anywhere between 500nm and 800nm with no fuel stops (if less than 550nm) or only 1 fuel stop (after 600nm).
    • Desired cruise speed: No less than 135 kias
    • Desired pay load: No less than 900 lbs
    • Budget: $80,000
    My research has brought me down to either the Arrow II or the Arrow III (I would like to leave the Arrow IV out of this thread too since I do not like the T-Tail at all).

    What I’m noticing/considering:

    At a glance the Arrow II carries 50 gal of fuel at a burn rate of about 10.15, and the Arrow III carries a nice 77 gal at a burn rate of 12.7 (according to AOPA). Payload seems similar. Is the extra fuel capacity worth the extra burn rate? Will it make a difference in trips under 800nm (cost vs time)?

    The Arrow II seems to have a much better climb rate than the Arrow III, is that something I should consider too?

    And there’s also the “Turbos”. Is it worth the extra maintenance cost? Will it help my mission? Turbo or not?

    So, based on everything mentioned above:

    Should I go for a Piper Arrow III or a Piper Arrow II? And should o go for a Turbo model or not?

    Thank You all in advance!! I appreciate everyone’s expertise!!
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2018
  2. AnthonyS1

    AnthonyS1 Pre-Flight

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    The arrow II and III normally aspirated will never go 150ktas. Not even close. If you want that kind of speed the turbo is the only option.
     
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  3. eman1200

    eman1200 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    wouldn't your 'Desired cruise speed: No less than 150 kias' immediately rule out the II ?
     
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  4. iamtheari

    iamtheari Pattern Altitude

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    Where will your trips take you? The turbo is good if you need to be above 13,000’ most of the time and bad if not.

    Assuming you mean 150 KTAS and not indicated, you will need a bit of luck to find an Arrow that will do the job. I fly an Arrow I and I cruise at 130 KTAS on about 9gph. With 48 gallons usable fuel, my endurance with IFR reserves is 4.5 hours which equates to 585 nm range with no wind. I have a 965 lb useful load, which means that I have a 677 lb payload with full fuel.

    I don’t believe any of the Arrow family does enough better than the one I have to meet all of your requirements. But I do believe it’s one of the most economical choices to fly your mission. That’s why I have one.
     
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  5. Ravioli

    Ravioli Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    We'll also need to know where this machine will be based. If you have high DA operations in mind you'll want the turbo.
     
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  6. Alex Batista

    Alex Batista Pre-Flight

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    Yes, you’re right I need to correct that. Let’s call it 135 instead. :oops:
     
  7. AnthonyS1

    AnthonyS1 Pre-Flight

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    I'm still voting for the turbo one. It's got extra speed and if your mission is cross country flights then this will be nice. If the extra MX and headache of the turbo is not something you want to deal with then I would still vote for the III over the II normally aspirated. I personally like the semi taper wing much better than the Hershey bar wing mostly because of low speed handling. This is just my personal opinion though.
     
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  8. Alex Batista

    Alex Batista Pre-Flight

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    It will be based at KHRJ (Raleigh NC area)
     
  9. Skyrys62

    Skyrys62 Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    Besides altitude, I'd say also to keep in mind how often "regular" trips are.
    If it's 2 or 3 a year, I'd personally probably not get the turbo. I don't know what the threshold is for making it pay off but I would think several trips per year.
    I really don't know, but that's something I would have to look at.
    @Ted DuPuis or others might have some good insight regarding this.
     
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  10. FormerHangie

    FormerHangie Pattern Altitude

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    One of the things to keep in mind when thinking about a turbocharged airplane is the effect of winds aloft. I think you'll find that most of the time, you'll want to go to turbo altitudes in the downwind direction, but stay lower in the upwind direction. At altitudes in the low to mid teens, I think you'll find it uncommon to see winds of less than 20 kts, especially fall, winter, and spring. Once things calm down where you are, look at the winds aloft forecast over the cities you'll be near and you can get an idea what you can expect for a groundspeed.

    I've never flown with oxygen, but those that have tell me it's not very pleasant. I've done some scuba diving, which has that same dry air issue, and I can't say I'd like to be on oxygen for hours on end.
     
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  11. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I rented a turbo Arrow for a while, and I loved the high altitude capability, and the range that I got as a result of its high-altitude performance. (I have an oxygen bottle, and using it never seemed unpleasant to me.)
     
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  12. Ravioli

    Ravioli Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Field altitude of 200MSL. What's the DA do in the summer? Here in TX my 800MSL field routinely hits 3000DA or more.
     
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  13. Jmcmanna

    Jmcmanna Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I own a ‘72 Arrow II. I can go 130 knots on about 10 gals/hr. 550nm’s is going to be pushing it with the 50 gal fuel capacity. It’s winter in WI right now, but I can climb out at 1000fpm right up to 5000’.... I’m sure that will change in the summer.

    I’m thinking you’ll probably need a III with the bigger tanks for what you want to do.
     
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  14. Luigi

    Luigi Pre-takeoff checklist

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    First of all if you buy the Turbo arrow seriously consider the Merlyn wastegate and one of the aftermarket intercoolers. I have both, and they lessen the workload on the turbocharger, and the intercooler lowers the CHT's. I have the Turbo Arrow IV and love it. A lot of the negatives you hear simply are not true, and personally, I think it looks cooler!
    :) And, I did make it to TBO on my last run, and installed a factory reman. Also, I use the Seneca power setting tables which are more conservative, many feel the factory recommended power settings for the turbo arrow are too high for engine longevity.
     
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  15. Alex Batista

    Alex Batista Pre-Flight

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    I’m not sure. Im relatively new to the area :confused:
     
  16. Jeff Cutler

    Jeff Cutler Pre-takeoff checklist

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    It will depend on your yearly average mission. Having said that, I have enjoyed the T-Arrow's flexibility. Have the Merlyn WG, but no Intercooler. CHTs in the summer are manageable. If you buy pre-79 models, be sure the Piper cooling mod is installed. It added the lower louvers and modified the baffles for more effective cooling which became standard features in '79 models. I flew my A/C when first purchased as a stock T-Arrow from the factory with original engine and cowl configuration. Night and day cooling performance just with the two mods mentioned. Fuel is 72 gals usable and you can expect to see 12.5 gph if operating at 65% power and rich of peak (no gami's and no lean of peak operating for me). I said the T-Arrow was flexible b/c down low it performs like a normally aspirated with the Merlyn at around 135kts. 10-13,000 expect 140-145kts, all flown at 65% power. Mid-Teens, solid 150kts. All said, adjusting MP for OAT and Altitude. If you want faster, buy another plane. Book numbers mean nothing if you want to see TBO w/o fussing with a TOH. Wearing O2 never bothers me, while I do use an Aerox cannulla system with altitude compensating meter. Rarely do I fly up that high with pax, though.
     
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  17. Luigi

    Luigi Pre-takeoff checklist

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    With the intercooler I see CHT's top at about 330 degrees F even flying out of Vegas in the summer. I routinely fly in the upper teens, and don't mind the O2 Cannulas. My turboplus intercooler also added pressurized mags, and cowl flaps.
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2018
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  18. iamtheari

    iamtheari Pattern Altitude

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    200 MSL at 100F, dewpoint 100F, and barometer 29.92 yields a DA of 3,654'. I fly my 180hp Arrow I out of a field at 2100 MSL with a DA up to 5,000 on the worst days in the summer, and I've flown it out of Rock Springs, Wyoming, with a passenger and full tanks on a hot day when the DA was around 10,000. I would not recommend the OP go for a turbocharged plane to solve his DA problem.
     
  19. Heftiger

    Heftiger Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I fly a turbo charged Lance. Love the turbo. However, my field altitude is 4150’ and I have to climb over the Sierra mountain range anytime I fly westerly. If I were in your situation I’m not sure the turbo would be worth it.
     
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  20. Ravioli

    Ravioli Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Didn't state it as a problem, but as a consideration. And further review his intended home field has a 5000' runway, so that is unlikely to ever be problematic.
     
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  21. iamtheari

    iamtheari Pattern Altitude

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    My point was that turbos are a solution looking for a problem when you are in the coastal lowlands, not that you were inventing a problem. Besides, your RV-6 has a higher service ceiling than some turbocharged planes I have been in. :)
     
  22. Alex Batista

    Alex Batista Pre-Flight

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    Thank you all for all of the appreciated knowledge!

    After reading all of these posts I’d like to make a few clarifications to my original post:
    • On average my cross country trips are giong to be about 4 per year (no <3 but maybe up to 6) @Skyrys62
    • My trips will almost always take me South, mainly FL (Pensacola, Tallahassee, Tampa, Miami) or east/west of NC (Asheville or the Coast). But who knows, once I own an airplane I may take other trips I don’t take now. And I would rather not have to fly at altitudes that require oxygen. @iamtheari
    • Most flights will be with one non-pilot passenger (my gf now, but my wife by then ;)) and some times one more person (most often a teenager). I would like to be able to carry 4x 160lbs adults but not a deal breaker.
    • Speed is important but not a deal breaker, I just don’t wanna be in an airplane for 5 hours. Ideally I would fly 4 hours if it means not stopping and 3 hours if it means 1 stop in a 6 hour flight. @Jeff Cutler @iamtheari @Luigi
    • It’s worth mentioning that, while cross countries are the “main reason”, I plan on taking the plane up at least once every two weeks for an hour to get my fly-fix :D although I realize that once I own my own plane that could change.
     
  23. iamtheari

    iamtheari Pattern Altitude

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    I think a normally aspirated (NA) Arrow will be fine for your mission. Basically, you have to go 1500nm west before you find a mountainous area with an IFR minimum en route altitude (MEA) higher than the NA Arrow can comfortably fly. If you fly the NA Arrow a lot and find that you would benefit from the turbo, you can upgrade then.

    The Arrow II has more legroom in the back than my Arrow I, so that seat is actually usable, although I have had two adults in my plane and once had to put the long-legged one in the back for W&B purposes. Between the II and the III, I don't know of any particular advantage one or the other has for your mission. So I would buy either of them on condition, engine time, panel equipment, and price rather than on specific model.

    The best speed mod any plane can have is not having to stop for fuel. If you're at 8,000 MSL and have to stop for fuel, you'll gain some speed descending but lose more while climbing back up, you'll lose time on the ground, etc. When you actually run the numbers, you have to make huge changes to speed to see any noticeable difference in time en route. Basically, each additional knot of speed saves less time and costs more money than the preceding knot did. That said, every knot of true airspeed you gain does increase your tolerance for headwinds because it means that each knot of headwind is a smaller percentage of your airspeed and thus hurts you less.

    I made a spreadsheet before I bought a plane so I could quantify my mission and how each plane accomplished it. It had columns for ground speeds and rows for destinations, with the cells of the sheet showing the time to reach each destination. And then I made my best guess about how often I would go to each destination. My conclusion was the Arrow was the right compromise, in large part because the one I bought had a known local history, was in great condition, and had an appropriate panel for my needs (which include GPS WAAS instrument approaches).
     
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  24. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    The nice part about a turbo airplane is it’s easier to get above weather. The bad part is the MX, which in my experience goes up significantly. I wouldn’t want another turbo plane, but I also got by naturally aspirated just fine for years and thousands of hours. Keep in mind that almost 100% of my flying is 400+ nm legs.
     
  25. frfly172

    frfly172 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I had an arrow II ,was a nice cross country airplane, however always wanted a turbo arrow.
     
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  26. Juliet Hotel

    Juliet Hotel Line Up and Wait PoA Supporter

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    If this is the mission I would not be looking at arrows. Also when it comes to desired cruise speed, you really want to focus on what the plane will true at rather than what it will indicate because true is what you're going to flight plan from.
     
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  27. Arrow76R

    Arrow76R Pre-Flight

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    I have a '69 Arrow 200 (Hershey bar wing), short fuselage, normally aspirated F.I. 200 hp engine (Arrow II?). Granted I usually fly at or above 10,000 (I live in Colorado and mostly go west from here), but for the past 15 years I have owned the bird I consistently see 140 kts TAS (slightly less at 14k or a tad higher) with fuel burn of 8.7 gph (less at higher altitudes). However, I am almost always solo with not much baggage so that is another factor to consider. It is alleged that the Hershey bar wing, 200 hp Arrow is faster by a couple of knots than the tapered wing, non-turbo, longer version machine. True or not, I don't know. But since I don't need rear seat leg room for pax, the short cabin doesn't bother me.
     
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  28. Luigi

    Luigi Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Hindsight 2020 gave you good advice. However, having owned 3 different T arrows, and thousand s of hours therein, I think the Merlyn wastegate, and intercooler are worthwhile mods. IMHO
     
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  29. Luigi

    Luigi Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Try to find the best T Arrow you can, i.e. low time engine, last OH by a reputable shop or factory reman, good avionics, especially autopilot, Merlyn, and intercooler, paint and interior, they are out there! Good luck
     
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  30. Alex Batista

    Alex Batista Pre-Flight

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    Actually I am interested. Please do. @hindsight2020
    I wanna hear both sides of the spectrums. In the end is up to me, right? I know people tend to develop certain loyalty to their decisions and that’s fair, I just wanna learn as much as I can. And I am very interested in picking the brain of some Arrow owners. :)
     
  31. Alex Batista

    Alex Batista Pre-Flight

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    Yep, that all make sense. And, yes, almost everyone is advising on the Auto Pilot.
     
  32. ktup-flyer

    ktup-flyer En-Route

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    You could get a lot nicer panel in an NA III than you could a turbo for $80k. I think you would get a lot more use out of the panel than the turbo, too.
     
  33. Rgbeard

    Rgbeard Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Why are you a Tee-hater? I have a T-tail Turbo Lance and love it.
     
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  34. Alex Batista

    Alex Batista Pre-Flight

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    :)
    Lol! I don’t “hate” them (I couldn’t honestly as I’ve never flown one). My OCD requires a methodical pre-flight where I am able to see and touch every surface and I just don’t like the idea of not being able to reach it or see the top of it. It becomes a bigger deal when I have to check for snow or frost. I’ve also heard enough people talk about the way the tail tends to stall (which I’m sure is a matter of getting used to it).

    I am not 100% opposed to one, but there are plenty other II & III :)
     
  35. Alex Batista

    Alex Batista Pre-Flight

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    Good point. Not a big deal since I’m just looking for Arrow III’s (Turbo or Not) with certain panel requirements anyway.
     
  36. hindsight2020

    hindsight2020 En-Route

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    The thing about it is that for the longest time the word was you could get a significant discount because of the same reason people discount arrows in general over other retracts. But I never found that discount, in the Arrow or the Lance. They (T-tail variants of each) go for the same money. In that instance, might as well go for the one with better pitch authority on landing and shorter takeoff runs, which is objectively the conventional tail.

    These days I won't kick either out of bed. I flew the seminole for my ATP couple years ago and it was fine. The time to rotation/ground run is longer and the rotation is abrupt due to that aerodynamic latency if you're not primed for it (which I obviously wasn't given I flew a whole 4 hours from first time in the plane to ATP checkride in it LOL). But beyond that, it flies fine. The T-Lance has to be managed a bit more with power because of the longer arm and nose heavy CG when empty, but again not a deal breaker, as you of course know.
     
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  37. Luigi

    Luigi Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Also if you are buying in 2020 you want the ADS-B requirement complied with, or big discount.
     
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  38. Juliet Hotel

    Juliet Hotel Line Up and Wait PoA Supporter

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    I'd want a big discount for no ADS-B even if I were buying right now. Its not like the plane is going to be worth more a year from now if its not equipped.
     
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  39. Checkout_my_Six

    Checkout_my_Six Final Approach

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    What ever you buy...get it equipp’d the way you want it. You will pay dearly to upgrade.

    My last plane was purchased for the auto pilot STec 60-2 and 530W.
     
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  40. Arbiter419

    Arbiter419 Cleared for Takeoff

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    Short wing Arrows fly pretty nicely, the extra 20 horse in the II is nice. Arrow III is okay too, they all glide equally awful with the gear down. Non-turbo normal tail Lance is nicer. Same systems, a LOT more room, with the expense of two extra cylinders and a few more GPH. Nice airplanes. I'd definitely buy a Lance before I spent the same amount or more on an Arrow III.
     
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