Piper Arrow purchase advice

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by Erichh, Apr 20, 2019.

  1. Erichh

    Erichh Filing Flight Plan

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    Hi everyone,

    I’ve been lurking for a while, making my first post. I’m considering purchasing a Piper Arrow and would love to hear from some current owners about their experiences. I already have lots of hours in the plane when I was a member of a flying club so I know I like the plane. Just curious about thoughts on different models (II vs III), maintenance costs, what to look for when buying, etc.

    Thanks.
     
  2. Mooney Fan

    Mooney Fan Line Up and Wait

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  3. Crashnburn

    Crashnburn Line Up and Wait

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    Welcome. I mostly lurk. I've read several discussions here on which Arrow to buy, and you can find them just by doing a search.
     
  4. Ravioli

    Ravioli Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Loads of conversation on Arrows. May I suggest the following?
    upload_2019-4-20_10-29-31.png
     
  5. Erichh

    Erichh Filing Flight Plan

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    Yes, I’ve read many of the threads on Arrows on the forum already. I’m wondering if there are any current owners I could PM to hear more about their experiences.
     
  6. Mooney Fan

    Mooney Fan Line Up and Wait

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  7. Ravioli

    Ravioli Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Sorry, I'm being a borderline prick about it, but the last Arrow thread was less than 2 months ago. Unlikely any hot new thoughts on the topic will be found.
     
  8. Erichh

    Erichh Filing Flight Plan

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    Yeah I totally understand. I know posting without searching first is a common occurrence on a bunch of forums I follow.

    I should’ve clarified that I’m particularly curious to pick peoples brains about the plane via PM or email, since I know sometimes people don’t like mentioning certain sensitive things on public posts (costs, bad experiences with certain mechanics, etc)
     
  9. Unit74

    Unit74 Final Approach

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    No friggin way I'd buy one right now. Wait till the FAA gets done raking Piper over the coals on the PA28/PA32 AD on the wingspar first. I've owned an Archer and now a T Lance. Sit on you money my friend.....
     
  10. hindsight2020

    hindsight2020 En-Route

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    It's not a popular choice with the peanut gallery on this board, so you're not gonna get much but potshots. I bought one over airplanes like the M20F or the Tiger, and I'd be glad to share my reasoning with you over PM, as I'm not starting that flame war again on here. Good luck.
     
  11. Erichh

    Erichh Filing Flight Plan

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    Unit74, any guess when that will be?

    Hindsight, I’d love to take you up on that, I’ll PM you.

    Also, does anyone have experience with the earliest ones (short body). Can you fit adults in the back seat or basically just kids?

    Is the 180 HP almost the same cruise but worse climb?
     
  12. Unit74

    Unit74 Final Approach

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    I'd be asking Piper and the FAA bout that. Regardless of how Hindsight feels about his airplane, it does not change the fact that if the AD is solidified, the market will tank.
     
  13. Unit74

    Unit74 Final Approach

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    the last name callin thread got locked yesterday.... You don't want what the Committee is cookin....
     
  14. Warlock

    Warlock Cleared for Takeoff

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    Speed about the same...climb a little but in reality not much difference as the 200 weighs more...less maintenance issues long term with the 180 parallel valve IO-360 if you ask most mechanics and the back seat (short body) is really one small adult or kids...my 180 with mods outperformed every 200 I have flown...useful load on the short bodies is around 1000 pounds or so
     
  15. iamtheari

    iamtheari Pattern Altitude

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    I own a PA-28R-180. For weight and balance reasons, I once put the petite female passenger in the front and the lanky male passenger in the back. He didn't complain about it for the 4 hours we flew like that. The copilot seat was slid halfway forward to afford him some legroom. The back seat is not useless but it is best regarded as something you have in case you occasionally need it, rather than something you plan on using frequently.

    My plane has the 3-blade propeller and, other than paint, interior, and instruments, no modifications that I'm aware of since it was new 50 years ago. I flight plan to cruise at about 65% power yielding 130 KTAS and 9 gph. I usually show up on time with a little more fuel in the tanks than I planned. I recently flew a cross-country in my plane, following a 200hp Arrow with a couple of speed mods and a 2-blade prop. I think he also had a weight advantage, with less fuel in his tanks. We cruised at the exact same speed and, to within our instruments' ability to measure, the same fuel flow. He took off first, then I took off, climbed to match his altitude, and ran a little faster until I caught up with him. It didn't take that long, so he obviously didn't climb much quicker than I did, if at all.

    If your mission consists of flights of less than 600 nm (that's the no-wind range of my plane at my normal cruise settings with IFR fuel reserves) with mostly (including yourself) one or two people and occasionally a third, but never a fourth adult, the old Arrow is a good plane. I am building an RV-14 because it will go faster, upside-down, and without hauling around so many empty seats that I almost never use. I will probably sell my Arrow when the RV-14 is in the air. If I hadn't lost my mind and decided to build, I would be keeping the Arrow until my mission changes to require more seats, and then the upgrade would be to something like a PA-32 or a light twin.

    I would also be happy with many other airplanes, if I had found one of them instead of my Arrow. The Arrow happens to be the airplane I have now, and like all things in life, the airplane you actually have is always going to be more useful to you than one you don't. If the Arrow is appropriate for your mission, keep it in your list of planes to shop for, and when you find the right plane (panel, engine time, condition, and price) don't discriminate against it.
     
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  16. Erichh

    Erichh Filing Flight Plan

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    Thanks for all the responses so far.

    I know it’s the most cliches question in the book, it if anyone would be willing to share their experience with typical annual maintenance expenses (either publicly or via PM), I’d really appreciate it.
     
  17. Rgbeard

    Rgbeard Pattern Altitude

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    My wife and I have lots of time and plenty of long trips in the slowest retractable plane. She prohibited me from buying one for us.

    We have a Turbo Lance.

    It’s amazing how two people can fill up a six-passenger airplane!!
     
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  18. Warlock

    Warlock Cleared for Takeoff

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    I had until recently a 82 Warrior and 68 Arrow for almost 5 years...other than the extra hour for a gear check annuals were no different in cost...even use the same oil filter...most averaged 2K ...
     
  19. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach

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    I've owned four Piper Cherokee derivatives. 160 hp, 180 hp, 200 hp Arrow and finally a Dakota.
    They were all enjoyable airplanes, comparatively easy on the bank account. The only reason I sold the Arrow was because I wanted more useful load and more climb capability - but I fly out of a 4000 ASL airport.

    The Arrow is typical Piper...dead simple, robust systems, including the gear retract.
    The short body Cherokees are 3-place airplanes max, imo.
     
  20. hindsight2020

    hindsight2020 En-Route

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    Sierra, Cutlass RG. But don't let facts get in the way of a good ol Arrow bashing fest. :D
     
  21. Groundpounder

    Groundpounder Pattern Altitude

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    Arrows are great till the wing falls off
     
  22. Unit74

    Unit74 Final Approach

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    You ain’t kidding. Nothing gets left on the ground with a Lance. Like USPS, if it fits, it ships!
     
  23. Morgan3820

    Morgan3820 Pattern Altitude

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    Wow!
     
  24. Unit74

    Unit74 Final Approach

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    I KNOW, RIIIGGGHT!!!!
     
  25. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach

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    That might have been humorous the first thirty-five times someone posted it. ;)

    There's more aftermarket patch-ups required on a V-tail Bonanza to keep it from leaving parts in the slipstream than there is on an Arrow.
     
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  26. Erichh

    Erichh Filing Flight Plan

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    Warlock and GRG55, thanks for the additional details. Did you find that the planes required much work in between annuals? And with those issues, were they able to be handled same-day or did you have to leave them in the shop and catch a ferry ride back to your airport?

    Also, does anyone have a suggestion for the best way to find a pre-buy mechanic?
     
  27. Mtns2Skies

    Mtns2Skies Super Moderator Management Council Member

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    Jokes know no limits here... just ask about AoA's :)
     
  28. iamtheari

    iamtheari Pattern Altitude

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    My Arrow has not required any Arrow-specific work between annuals, and it has never left me stranded anywhere, although that's been a matter of luck. I had a flat tire at a destination and was able to get the night mechanic to come in and replace the tube. I had an alternator failure relatively close to home so I could fly home. I had a vacuum pump failure in VMC. And that was all in 2018, the year I also had to overhaul the propeller due to a leaking blade seal. So it was an expensive year (I don't keep a tally so I can't say how expensive), but every one of those things is applicable to every plane in the skies with a constant-speed prop and vacuum-driven gyro instruments. I did have to replace the main gear strut seal, which is a PA-28 thing. The trim system needs maintenance at the next annual or maybe the one after it, just replacing wear parts.

    Other than the prop overhaul, none of those things required more than a few hours of mechanic time and the only delays I experienced were due to waiting on parts. The parts for this plane aren't exotic, but our local FBO doesn't have the resources to stock a lot of stuff, especially with near-daily traffic between here and a bigger place that can supply many of their needs.
     
  29. Unit74

    Unit74 Final Approach

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    Reported!


    But I hear you cannot ban yourself so......
     
  30. N1120A

    N1120A Pattern Altitude

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    The Arrow III's only real advantage is the bigger tanks, which will probably exceed your bladder's range and will always force you to make a trade off when you want to carry more than two. I don't think the taper vs Hershey Bar wing makes a huge difference.

    I wouldn't touch the Arrow 180 with a 10 foot pole. Their performance is pathetic, especially as the engine gets older.

    Which happened exactly...once.
     
  31. frfly172

    frfly172 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    The arrow III ,is a nice airplane, a little short on fuel for IFR. Not the fastest retrac ,but overall, a good airplane for the buck. Just watch out for the wing spar solution.
     
  32. BrianNC

    BrianNC En-Route

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    They upped the III to 72 gallons (I believe II held 50). That seems like plenty.
     
  33. iamtheari

    iamtheari Pattern Altitude

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    "Pathetic" is a subjective judgment. I find my Arrow 180's performance to be acceptable for my mission, which is my subjective judgment. What objective performance numbers do you consider to be pathetic? Maybe we're not getting the same performance, or maybe I just have lower standards. Either way, the OP deserves objective information from which to make his own subjective judgment.
     
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  34. frfly172

    frfly172 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Sorry I meant the arrow ll .
     
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  35. lancie00

    lancie00 Line Up and Wait

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    We have a Hershey Bar Arrow 200 and love it. Back in the 1990's we had a cracked motor mount frame that required the engine be pulled and the frame be sent off to be fixed but that was a loooooong time ago. I think we also had a Hartzell prop AD that took some money but that had to be in the 1990's too. Other than that it's been $1000 owner assisted annuals and normal repairs (AI, new tire, rotating beacon) Normal stuff that happens to all planes.

    I wish it had a little longer range but after 4 hours without autopilot, it's time to get out and stretch your legs anyway.

    My biggest advice is buy one that already has decent radios! Especially if you're IFR!!! You can spend more on radios than a whole different plane.

    Good Luck!!!
     
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  36. hindsight2020

    hindsight2020 En-Route

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    That's the thing with Cherokees. They're truly the kind of airplane one can hold on to for decades. It's just so darn cheap to keep compared to the competition. Turbos exempted.
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2019
  37. Erichh

    Erichh Filing Flight Plan

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    Thanks for all the thoughts guys, I will keep you posted on my search.
     
  38. Vince R

    Vince R Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I flew one of the newer ones (2002) for a while. I liked flying it, but it seemed prone to maintenance issues. In my last year with it, had a prop governor, leaky hydraulics, an alternator, fuel drain leaks, autopilot (S-TEC 55X) issues, door latch issues, tach issues, and pretty serious leaks (it got tied down on a trip once, and next day I found 2” of water in the back). It had under 2000 hours, but it seemed way older than its age would indicate.

    Although you might argue most of this stuff is pretty minor, problem for me was the time it spent in the shop...in my final 12 months with the plane, it was in the shop almost 50% of the time.
     
  39. N1120A

    N1120A Pattern Altitude

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    I mean, 250 FPM between Vy and Vx with 3 guys and tabs and 400-450 FPM with 2 guys and tabs is absolutely pathetic.

    The 50 total/48 useable Arrow II is plenty for someone using an Arrow as a short haul airline replacement. Almost 5 hours endurance, meaning 4 hours with alternate reserves in most of the country. That's better than most bladders.

    They are cheap to maintain and have the speed to be a capable cross country workhorse, especially an Archer/180 or 200 hp Arrow. They also handle turbulence well and trim out nicely, so they give a decent workload even without an autopilot. No one will confuse them with a Mooney or Tiger, but they are also dead simple and ultra forgiving.
     
  40. Ghery

    Ghery Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Our club used to have a 1969 Arrow (PA-28R-200). 200 hp, short body. 3 blade prop from before I joined. All my complex time (70+ hours) is in that plane.

    It ran fine. No complaints from that point of view. We had some problems with the seal on the door, but that got fixed and no problems after that over a number of years. We did have to get the gear trunnion on the right mains replaced once as it was cracking. I don't recall the cause (never heard, actually), but that was about it. We finally took the ADF out. Good thing, it was analog tuning and really belonged in a museum, not the panel of an airplane. That, and the airplane was /U, which really drove home the usefulness of a DME when I was working on my IR.

    My comments. Try before you buy. I'm 6'1" (used to be 6'2", but I'm getting older). I don't know what the cause was, but 3 hours was my limit in that plane. After that it was all I could do to crawl out of that airplane. My knees just didn't like that airplane. Angle of the rudder pedals to the seat? I don't know, but I've never had this problem with a C-172 or C-182.

    The short body, as noted above, is severely lacking in legroom in the back seat. I never took anyone flying that I hated enough to put in the back seat. To me the Arrow was a two person airplane with lots of cargo space. And weight capacity. With full tanks we could put about 700 pounds in the cabin. Also, with the three blade prop the CG was such that I typically had to put about 50 pounds in the cargo area to get the CG behind the forward limit.

    If you're comfortable (physically) with the Arrow, go for it. It was a very honest airplane. With the Hershey Bar wings I never bounced a landing in that plane. When the mains touched the runway it was finished flying.

    One other point, touched on by others. The Arrow is not a speed demon. The club's C-182 was actually 2-3 kts faster in cruise. Of course, it burned a bit more 100LL to get there, but it was faster (and, for me, far more comfortable).

    Have fun!