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. N1120A

    N1120A Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Another thing to consider is that Turbo Arrows are almost all owner operated, as opposed to flight school planes, while lots of NA Arrows spent their lives doing carrier landings and commercial maneuvers until 2018 (and a lot still do, cause they are cheap and instructors know exactly what speeds and techniques to use). Now, it is still a YMMV situation, as owner care can vary, but the airframe has almost certainly taken less of a beating.
     
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  2. Alex Batista

    Alex Batista Pre-Flight

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    It’s funny you mention that because for the longest I was looking at a bunch of Turbos but literally EVERYONE advised against them (considering my intended mission). My home Airport is KHRJ in NC and 90% of my flights will take me to Florida and the NC coast. Of course that’s not to say that once I own my own aircraft I won’t take it other places too.

    Most pilots tell me that with the kind is DA I’ll be flying in, is not worth the price and MX the Turbo requires. So up until you mentioned it, I was pretty convinced I had to stop looking at those.
     
  3. Alex Batista

    Alex Batista Pre-Flight

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    So at a first glance, if you were in controller.com or trade-a-plane; what are your first initial criteria’s (Say on a Piper Arrow II or III with a budget of no more than $80k)?
     
  4. N1120A

    N1120A Pre-takeoff checklist

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    1) A Turbo might be cheaper, because people are scared of them.

    2) A Turbo might have better avionics, because most people flying them are doing IFR XC missions. This is especially true of autopilots, where you are more likely to get something better than the old Piper Auto Control III (which is a good autopilot for something that is beyond ancient, as long as you keep it on HDG or vector it right onto an ILS and use LOC mode) that you see in the NA Arrows.

    3) It is correct that your typical mission suggests you don't need a Turbo. That said, are you ever going over the Appalachians? Landing at airports in them in the summer? Might help then.

    4) Are there airspace issues that might make you want to fly higher sometimes?

    5) A Turbo will be faster.

    6) A Turbo, or NA Arrow III, will have bigger tanks, so you can trade UL for 2 hours more range.
     
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  5. N1120A

    N1120A Pre-takeoff checklist

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    A Garmin 430W or better in good working order and less than 1000 hours on the engine.
     
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  6. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    You're welcome! I'm kinda surprised nobody's come along to tell me I'm wrong yet. :rofl: There are certainly a variety of opinions, from "doesn't matter" to "lower time is always better" to what I posted above. I've had the advantage of being on a flying club BoD, intimately involved with keeping the airplanes maintained and paid for, with other people's money and with a few other people to bounce ideas off of and discuss strategies. And, I did that long enough that I was also involved in turning over our entire fleet, so I've been able to buy airplanes with other people's money too. ;)

    IMO they're easy enough to understand. One of the first things I like to do is to find every annual and put them in a spreadsheet. Was there ever a period the plane was out of annual (not counting the 13-month trick)? How many hours between each annual?

    Then, looking at the entire life of the current engine, were oil changes done regularly? Anything of concern in oil analysis/compression checks?

    Are all ADs accounted for? Are there any repairs that might indicate damage history? Do the last few annuals have some other fixes listed, or is it just the annual (in which case they might be getting pencil-whipped)? If a part failed, was just that part replaced, or were all like parts replaced?

    There aren't necessarily wrong answers to these questions - Again, it depends on how rare of an airplane it is. A vintage airplane or warbird might have some parts that are just about unobtanium, in which case they can be forgiven for not replacing all when one fails. Or, a couple of examples in my case: I once had a mag shred a gear - It happens in these cold climates with the nylon gears, they get brittle and let go. When one went, BOTH mags got completely overhauled. But more recently, I had a fuel hose spring a leak. None of the other hoses show any signs of doing the same soon, and our engine is already over TBO so we'll likely be replacing all the hoses soon anyway, so I just replaced the one this time.

    You'll get an idea of how the previous owner(s) treated it, as long as they actually logged everything. And therein lies the rub... You don't always know whether the logbook you're reading is non-fiction! ;) But you might even be able to get some idea of that as well.

    Absolutely. But, some types like the Arrow were frequently used by schools so it may be difficult to find one with no flight school history. If that history was long ago and the plane has been well maintained since, it's not as much of an issue. Check your spar attachments, though!
     
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  7. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    You know, I do it so much I had to actually look at Controller to see what I do. ;)

    First thing is to get to the page with the type I'm looking for, and sort by price (ascending). IMO, the people who don't put an asking price on their plane are more likely to just be fishing. If there's an example that meets all my other criteria and I'm ready to buy I might consider it, but generally with the more common models there are others that do have prices listed, and they're going to get my call first. That also helps to weed out the "But honey, the airplane's for sale, nobody's buying it!" pricing. If you see a poorly equipped, high time airplane in the middle of a bunch of newer, nicer airplanes, chances are they're not particularly interested in selling it. So, I start looking from the cheap end.

    If you're looking for particular years and such due to particular features, put those in the search... But honestly, I usually don't do that anyway because I've seen enough aircraft that were improperly listed in various ways. You might be able to score a good deal on a 310R that is listed as a 1974 model, for example, if all the other 310R shoppers listed model years 75-81 because that's when they were produced. Once in a while you might find a "1997" instead of "1979" and the people looking at the specific model years are going to miss that. So, get used to being able to spot the physical characteristics of the plane you want. Better example in your case: Look at the Arrow IV listings to see if any of them have straight tails.

    Next: Skip over the ones that aren't in the US. With a rarer bird, maybe one that's not in the US but is still N registered, but again that's a rare case. Importing airplanes is very expensive (ensuring type compliance, maintenance compliance, ferrying or shipping, etc) so generally not worth it.

    Then, I open a new browser tab for each airplane, and go through them at a high level first. Look at the AFTT and engine times, glance at the pictures, eliminate any that have glaring issues. Often a look at the panel will tell you that this plane is going to need a lot of work to get to what you want it to be, and usually they're not priced low enough for it to be worthwhile for you to do that work, so you can often eliminate a few at the low end of the price scale there too.

    Then, I look at them in a little more detail. For each one: Does it have an autopilot? (And you'll need to make sure all modes of the autopilot work, especially on the factory-original Piper Autocontrol ones.) Bonus points if it's got a newer 2-axis autopilot, at least an S-TEC 30 or equivalent (unless you're already budgeting/planning for a G5/GFC 500 install). Does it have a color IFR GPS? Garmin GNS or GTN series, Avidyne IFD series, etc. Does it have an engine monitor? Does it have any avionics that are unserviceable if they break? What's the condition of the paint and interior, and will those need to be done soon?

    Finally, I take the remaining contenders and put them into a spreadsheet I created that allows me to easily compare the asking price to both Vref and to a "me value" that also adds in the must-have and highly-desired options (and the cost of installing them if not present) to the equation. The airplanes that are priced the best relative to the "me value" are the first ones that get contacted... And sometimes, I only contact one!

    ... or don't need them in the first place.

    True.

    The highest point in the Appalachians is 6,684 feet, which can be cleared by a safe margin easily in a normally aspirated airplane. Very few airports actually up in them, either.

    No, it won't, until you get up into the teens. And it takes time to get up and down as well. So, if you fly a lot of shorter legs, the turbo will end up slowing you down. Long legs where you climb into the mid to high teens are where a turbo aircraft will shine, but you really need to be flying 300+ nm legs on a regular basis to make it worthwhile. At 5000 feet a turbo gets you nothing worthwhile.

    IMO, there's nothing wrong with higher time engines, if the airplane is priced appropriately.
     
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  8. kayoh190

    kayoh190 En-Route PoA Supporter

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    I’ve always heard some less than flattering comments about the TSIO-360. Does the increased cost stem mostly from the turbocharger - specifically ham fisted pilots paired with a fixed wastegate - or is there something about the engine that’s undesirable beyond that?

    OTHER than it’s a Continental, @hindsight2020 ! :p
     
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  9. hindsight2020

    hindsight2020 En-Route

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    Hey, don't shoot the messenger bud. They say imitation is the highest form of flattery. I don't see Lyco building TCM clones. But TCM sure is cranking out the Lyco engine (Titan) and Lyco cylinder (Prime) clones like hot cakes these days. So the proof is in the pudding as they say. I digress.

    As to the TSIO, it's an engine with all the complications of a 520 (alternator coupling, spendy starter adapters, craptastic legacy TCM cylinders exhaust valves) without the displacement advantage. Pricy to OH as well, again when normalizing for the HP rating. And yes, the turbo exhaust and component also add to the mx cost in their own right, though those are not specifically any more cantankerous than any other non-"tsio360" turbo component. In the realm of spendy misc turbo components, the Lyco TIO-540 is the pack leader (unobtanium exhaust), though a TSIO-550 is probably the all-around aggregate cost king.
     
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  10. N1120A

    N1120A Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Oh, sure. If the plane is a $35k Arrow II and needs an engine, but has a good GPS, HSI and autopilot, but it right now and put a new engine in it.
     
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  11. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Or buy it, fly it around for "free" for a while until it tells you it needs a new engine, and THEN put a new engine in it.
     
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  12. N1120A

    N1120A Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Yeah, if the compressions are good, for sure. Then just wait for an annual or major avionics upgrade.
     
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  13. Juliet Hotel

    Juliet Hotel Line Up and Wait PoA Supporter

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    Whether you hire someone or not here's a free logbook reading tip that my old boss learned the hard way. Its not uncommon to find things like TSO tags and such stapled into pages of an aircrafts logbook. NEVER assume the page below a stapled in tag is empty.

    My old boss bought a supercub for banner towing that had a transponder TSO tag stapled into the book back in the 60's. That tag was very conveniently stapled onto a page that contained an entry for a repair of the plane after it went upside down in the water while on floats in Alaska. We ended up needing to replace the entire fuselage frame because the existing frame was corroding from the inside out.
     
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  14. Alex Batista

    Alex Batista Pre-Flight

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    And this is one of my biggest worries. What I keep hearing is that School Arrows don’t have lots of “touch n goes” as they are not what they’re used for. I hear that commercial students have had their private for enough time where the actual “beating” of the Arrow is not very different that what the beating anyone else would give it (except that it is a rental and there may be MANY idiots flying it).
     
  15. N1120A

    N1120A Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Where do you get that idea? I mean, Arrows were used for carrier landing Power off 180s for decades. Of course, they are PA-28s and built for it, but it is certainly not the easiest life. Yeah, they aren't having tons of poor standard landings, like student pilots do, but lots of right seat transitions for CFIs and Power Off 180s with accuracy are going to put a strain - especially if they come out of a place like Riddle that literally was using Arrows for just that, and doing all the other stuff with 172s.
     
  16. Alex Batista

    Alex Batista Pre-Flight

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    I stand corrected/better-informed. Thank You!!
     
  17. Luigi

    Luigi Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I can tell you one thing regarding affordability, I don't have kids! Again, The Turbo Arrow has been a great plane. Also with CSB19-01, they have removed the primer solenoid and bypassed it.
     
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  18. Alex Batista

    Alex Batista Pre-Flight

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    Can I reasonably justify owning a Turbo if I live inSanford, NC and most of my trips take me south?
     
  19. Unit74

    Unit74 Ejection Handle Pulled

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    I know a guy with a nice Arrow he has been trying to sell.... Let me know if you want his email.
     
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  20. Sac Arrow

    Sac Arrow Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The only reason I would get one is if I needed the extra range of the III, and I couldn't find a normally aspirated one. I fly a lot to South Lake Tahoe and back, field elevation 6,300 feet and I need to be around 10K to clear the pass. The Turbo Arrow III could do it no problem even on a hot summer day.

    But so can the II.
     
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  21. ktup-flyer

    ktup-flyer En-Route

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    So whats the purpose of ruling out Bonanzas and Mooneys?
     
  22. ircphoenix

    ircphoenix En-Route

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    Bo's price and Mooney's room. :)
     
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  23. hindsight2020

    hindsight2020 En-Route

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    You can't bring up CAPEX in POA though. You'll be tar and feathered if you dare suggest you rather be a low hull value Arrow sole owner than a six figure Bonanza/Mooney partner. Ask me how I know :rolleyes: :D
     
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  24. ktup-flyer

    ktup-flyer En-Route

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    You can get a decent Mooney for about the same as an Arrow. Bonanza market is ridiculous right now, and they’re still going up
     
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  25. ircphoenix

    ircphoenix En-Route

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    But you can't get the interior room.
     
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  26. Alex Batista

    Alex Batista Pre-Flight

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    Yes please.
     
  27. Alex Batista

    Alex Batista Pre-Flight

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    According to several mechanics I’ve talked to, Piper parts are just super easy to find and they’re available just about anywhere. Maintenance is cheaper, and everyone knows how to work on them. I think those are great too, but a bit above my level for right now.
     
  28. ktup-flyer

    ktup-flyer En-Route

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    There's a very nice 1960 260hp Debonair on Beechtalk right now listed for $85k. Ticks all your boxes. https://www.beechtalk.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=43&t=162517
     
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  29. Alex Batista

    Alex Batista Pre-Flight

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  30. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Depends. Do you fly mostly 300+nm legs? Then yes. If you like to go for shorter $100 burger hops or have any frequent destinations that are less than 200nm away, the turbo will cost extra money and slow you down slightly on those flights. You can also choose to not care about that. ;)

    Can we please put this stupid OWT to bed?

    Arrow cabin width: 42"
    Bonanza cabin width: 42"
    Mooney cabin width: 43.5"

    Height measurements are somewhat meaningless without knowing seat height, and length measurements unless you're measuring from the pedals to the seat... But I'm 6'4" (and Al Mooney was 6'5") and the Mooney is the most comfortable four-seat single I've flown. WAY more so than the PA28 series... And I have several hundred hours in both.
     
  31. Checkout_my_Six

    Checkout_my_Six Final Approach

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    Meh....I wasn't going all that slow on this lunch run.....with the factory turbo.
     

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  32. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    What altitude? What's your TAS? A groundspeed readout is kinda meaningless to this conversation...
     
  33. Checkout_my_Six

    Checkout_my_Six Final Approach

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    its all there....if you look. My TAS was probably somewhere around 175 kts. It's obviously much faster up high.

    My point.....it can go fast down low.
     
  34. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    You're in a Turbo Arrow and you're truing 175 KTAS at 5500 feet? What's your power setting?

    I have... Doubts. :p
     
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  35. kayoh190

    kayoh190 En-Route PoA Supporter

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    It looks suspiciously like a Bonanza panel and cowling!
     
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  36. Pilawt

    Pilawt Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Depends where you measure it. This is from an early-1970s Mooney ad:

    Mooney width.jpg
     
  37. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    It was measured at the equivalent spot, and the spot at which seated humans are the widest... Should the methodology there be any different? :dunno: I don't think so.

    But in either case, If my sturdy 6'4" 325# frame fits comfortably, the idea that one might need more room is somewhat ludicrous.
     
  38. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    And suspiciously Bonanza-like performance, in which case my point is made: My normally aspirated bird performs similarly with probably 40% less fuel burn at that altitude...