Piper Tomahawk thoughts

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by bigred177, Jul 12, 2011.

  1. bigred177

    bigred177 Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Messages:
    1,015
    Location:
    Round Rock, TX
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    bigred
    In my quest to find another plane to fly the Tomahawk has popped up a few times. What do you guys think about them? How would it work for me at 6'3" 250 and maybe sometimes carrying a light passenger? I know they're not fast but I thought it may work for scooting around Texas building time.

    I have found one in Houston that is IFR with two radios and glideslopes, 2500TT and 830SMOH. I think it has the 112hp engine and I'd likely do the 125hp upgrade in the future so I can have an oil cooler and to be able to climb on our hot Texas days. The guy is asking $15500 for it, does that seem reasonable with the lack of knowledge and avionics on the specific plane?

    It is currently out of annual and I will have my A&P with me if I look at it but doing some quick figuring I calculate that it will cost about $60/hr to operate if I fly 100hrs/yr and fuel figured at $5.50/gal. There is a flight school here that rents them for $100/hr. So barring any catastrophic problems I should be able to make up the purchase price in savings in a few hundred hours.

    My thoughts were to buy it and get my IR. From there list it for sale for close to the same purchase price and just keep flying it until it sells.

    I may be dreaming with this but I thought I'd see what yall thought and bring me back to Earth. I know I probably won't save over renting but I like to use a plane to go somewhere whenever and for however long I want to, not just use it in the pattern.
     
  2. OffCenter

    OffCenter Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2009
    Messages:
    302
    Location:
    Northern New Jersey
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    OffCenter
    Red, I fly my friend's Tommy. I have over 260 hours in it and I like it.
    Generous cockpit, not cramped. LOTS of leg room for the passenger...
    and you can see over the instrument panel, unlike many Cessnas.
    My only complaint is that prop hangs kind of low if you like grass
    fields. (which I do)
    You won't go wrong if the price is right.

    P.S. My friend is over 6 feet and he and I have flown it from Jersey to
    both Oshkosh and Lakeland with all our camping gear in back.
    No problem.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2011
  3. MSPAviator

    MSPAviator Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2010
    Messages:
    1,064
    Location:
    Minneapolis, MN
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    MSPAviator
    Is there a way to replace the wing spars or whatever it was if they are timed out or is the plane just done?
     
  4. ISUHawkeye

    ISUHawkeye Pre-Flight

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2008
    Messages:
    42
    Location:
    Iowa
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    ISUHawkeye
    I'm 6'4 and I was 250lbs when I did my flight training in a tomahawk. I enjoyed every minute of my time in that plane.
     
  5. bigred177

    bigred177 Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Messages:
    1,015
    Location:
    Round Rock, TX
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    bigred
    It is the wings. They are limited to 11k hours. There is an STC out for a 4500 or 6000 hour extension I think. You can also find a wrecked plane with time left on it and snatch those wings.
     
  6. kyleb

    kyleb En-Route

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2008
    Messages:
    3,787
    Location:
    Marietta, GA
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Drake the Outlaw
    I owned one for ~5 years and put about 300 hours on it. I really liked it and would recommend it to anyone as an entry level airplane.
     
  7. bigred177

    bigred177 Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Messages:
    1,015
    Location:
    Round Rock, TX
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    bigred
    How were everyone's direct operating costs?
     
  8. kyleb

    kyleb En-Route

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2008
    Messages:
    3,787
    Location:
    Marietta, GA
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Drake the Outlaw
    Ours were cheap. $800 annuals. Routine maintenance (tires, brakes, oil, filter) plus one pulled cylinder in about 500 hours between my partner and I. There is a 100 hour tail inspection that used to cost about an hour's shop time, and there is a bracket in the tail that gets replaced every 3,000 hours (IIRC). That's probably a $500 job, but I did most of the work and got a friendly IA to source the part, handle the paperwork, and help when the job required more than 2 hands.

    Ours burned 6-7 gallons/hr.

    Hope that helps - if you have any specific questions, feel free to ask..
     
  9. Tom-D

    Tom-D Ejection Handle Pulled

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2005
    Messages:
    29,123
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Tom-D
    The cost of that is more than buying a different aircraft.
     
  10. Henning

    Henning Ejection Handle Pulled

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2005
    Messages:
    39,482
    Location:
    Ft Lauderdale FL
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    iHenning
    Sure, why not? As long as it's a good copy. Might even get you to work at increasing the useful load.;)
     
  11. bigred177

    bigred177 Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Messages:
    1,015
    Location:
    Round Rock, TX
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    bigred
    Haha, well at 14-16% body fat the only useful load gained will be muscle lost or an STC to raise the GW on the plane. As long as I can get me, a lady, and some gas in 'er I'm content. Keeps me from picking up the closing time ones :cheerswine::D
     
  12. Tom-D

    Tom-D Ejection Handle Pulled

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2005
    Messages:
    29,123
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Tom-D
    Why not a Beech Skipper?
     
  13. bigred177

    bigred177 Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Messages:
    1,015
    Location:
    Round Rock, TX
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    bigred
    It wouldn't be out off the question. I just have this nice looking Tomahawk staring me down from three hours away. Plus I don't know any specs on them.

    I just really want to get out of the dreaming stage and into the owning/flying again stage.
     
  14. OffCenter

    OffCenter Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2009
    Messages:
    302
    Location:
    Northern New Jersey
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    OffCenter
    Correct. The mod kit extends the wing life another 6000 hours.
    For what it's worth, I've never seen a Tommy with more than 6000 hours on the clock. Most of 'em still have a long way to go.
     
  15. OffCenter

    OffCenter Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2009
    Messages:
    302
    Location:
    Northern New Jersey
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    OffCenter
    2500 Tomahawks built. Only 250 Skippers....parts availability? And aren't Beechcraft parts usually more expensive?
    My friend flew a borrowed Skipper for a while before buying
    the Tomahawk. He said the Tomahawk definitely flew better.
    Take it for what it's worth.
     
  16. bigred177

    bigred177 Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Messages:
    1,015
    Location:
    Round Rock, TX
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    bigred
    That's my feeling. This one has 8500hrs to go. I could only hope I fly it that much.
     
  17. kyleb

    kyleb En-Route

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2008
    Messages:
    3,787
    Location:
    Marietta, GA
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Drake the Outlaw
    One of the local flight schools used Tomahawks for a decade or so, then got a good deal on a Skipper and added it to the fleet. Their opinion was that the Tomahawk was a much better flying airplane.
     
  18. steingar

    steingar Taxi to Parking

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2007
    Messages:
    25,304
    Location:
    Land of Savages
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    steingar
    The price is good, but get the mechanic who does the first annual should be the one who does the rest of them. You could easily spend enough money on an out of annual aircraft to buy a Skyhawk or Cherokee. On the other hand, the inspection of a Tomahawk should be relatively inexpensive.

    Of course, there's the whole stall/spin thing...
     
  19. Dr. O

    Dr. O Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2008
    Messages:
    2,299
    Location:
    Hemlock, MI
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    denny
    My old mechanic called them traumahawks...
    One thing I discovered over the nearly 50 years he worked on my planes, he was almost always right...

    denny-o
     
  20. Jim_R

    Jim_R Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Messages:
    1,195
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Jim
    I did my primary training in Tomahawks. We did plenty of stalls in them. Don't stall in a turn and you won't spin. Stall in a turn at low altitude...like, turning base to final...and it doesn't really matter what plane you're in, you're in trouble. If you stall in a turn at altitude, then you've already forged a couple of links in the accident chain....

    In my opinion, the whole stall/spin thing and "Traumahawk" stuff is overblown, and it only gets repeated by folks because it's spooky and mysterious and sounds exciting, not because it's something that's a real issue.

    The plane is roomy for a two-place trainer, and the canopy has great visibility. I enjoyed my time flying it.

    Pay attention to W&B before you buy. The thing sips gas, but you're still not going to be able to put much fuel in with two adults on board. Make sure you're comfortable with how the numbers work out for your typical loading....
     
  21. RyanShort1

    RyanShort1 Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2010
    Messages:
    2,359
    Location:
    Dallas, Texas
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    RyanShort1
    I like the Tomahawk. First flight school where I trained had four at one point. I did not have any "Trauma" with them that was abnormal to any flight school plane...

    Ryan
     
  22. Henning

    Henning Ejection Handle Pulled

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2005
    Messages:
    39,482
    Location:
    Ft Lauderdale FL
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    iHenning

    Stalling in a turn does not cause a spin & you don't have to be turning in a stall to enter a spin. Turning and spinning are separate subjects.
     
  23. bluesky74656

    bluesky74656 Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2005
    Messages:
    611
    Location:
    Brecksville, OH
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Todd Kooser
    I did my primary in at 152 and a friend of mine did his in a Tomahawk. The 152 was more capable in every category.
     
  24. bigred177

    bigred177 Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Messages:
    1,015
    Location:
    Round Rock, TX
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    bigred
    Haha, I feel like I have unintentionally started a high wing-low wing thread.

    Do they make Hornier tips for the Tomahawk? I have seen the droop tips but I have read mixed reviews about them. Also does it have a horizontal stab. and elevator or a stabilator? If it has a stabilator, Hornier tips on a PA-28 made a huge improvement I wonder if it would help the T-tail-ness of the Tomahawk.
     
  25. steingar

    steingar Taxi to Parking

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2007
    Messages:
    25,304
    Location:
    Land of Savages
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    steingar
    +1 for the 152. Loads more of them, no stall/spin crap to worry about (imaginary or not, you be the judge), more parts, more everything. Not high wing/low wing, I fly a Cherokee. I just think the 152 was better. So did everyone in the day, since Cessna sold a lot more 150s and 152s than Piper sold Tomohawks.
     
  26. Richard

    Richard Final Approach

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2005
    Messages:
    9,078
    Location:
    West Coast Resistance
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Ack...city life
    Whenever the Piper Tomahawk is mentioned there is always a discussion of aerodynamics. Then is when we see how many don't understand the subject matter. :eek:
     
  27. Jim_R

    Jim_R Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Messages:
    1,195
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Jim
    How 'bout I rephrase my comment: "Tomahawks don't go looking for spins. Wings-level stalls during training were gentle and benign. Don't spin the bird, and you won't have to worry about whether it's easy to get out of one or not."
     
  28. bigred177

    bigred177 Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Messages:
    1,015
    Location:
    Round Rock, TX
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    bigred
    Talked to the mechanic today. He said the plane is overall in pretty good shape. He said that the clutch? on the elevator trim is going out and the plane will not stay trimmed. Is this a common problem? Anyone with Tommy experience know how much that would cost to fix?
     
  29. Richard

    Richard Final Approach

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2005
    Messages:
    9,078
    Location:
    West Coast Resistance
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Ack...city life
    The amount depends upon the owner's ability to procure the part. Where is the plane located? Where are you located?
     
  30. bigred177

    bigred177 Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Messages:
    1,015
    Location:
    Round Rock, TX
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    bigred
    I am in Austin, TX and the plane is in Houston, TX.

    I think I read somewhere that you can just put a trim tab on them? That may be a good way to go if it's too expensive.
     
  31. kyleb

    kyleb En-Route

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2008
    Messages:
    3,787
    Location:
    Marietta, GA
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Drake the Outlaw
    The elevator trim system is a wheel in the cockpit that trims the elevator via spring loaded cables. Not sure how a clutch enters into the system, but I never got into the trim system on mine.
     
  32. bigred177

    bigred177 Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Messages:
    1,015
    Location:
    Round Rock, TX
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    bigred
    He said it had to do with something to make the trim wheel hold its position. He didn't talk much more about it.
     
  33. brcase

    brcase Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2008
    Messages:
    1,424
    Location:
    Boise, Idaho
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Brian
    Sorry I like the Tomahawk better than the 152.

    Tomahawk is more Comfortable (Wider Cabin)
    TomaHawk Carries more Fuel
    I think the TomaHawk is easier to land than the 152. (Wide Gear)
    Tomahawk was slightly faster but requires a bit more runway than the 152.

    Excellent points for a trainer. I could do 4 or 5 lessons in the Tomahawk before refueling. The 150/152 I had to refuel pretty much every other lesson. And I would much rather sit in a Tomahawk for 8 hours than a 152.

    I think the only reason Cessna built more 152's is that people were used to 150's which cessna had been building forever
    And no doubt the Stall/Spin issue did hurt the Tomahawk Sales. People didn't really understand what was causing them at the time and some very experinced pilot got in trouble with it. Interestingly it wasn't the average pilots getting in trouble.

    The only problem with Spinning a Tomahawk is that it actually comes out of the spin too easily and nose low causing it to accelerate past VNE in the recovery if one is not ready for it. The structural failures didn't occur in the spin, the occured in the Spiral that occured after the plane recovered from the Spin and exceeded Vne. Also note that nearlly all of the accidents were with Instructors or DPE's on board doing intentional spins that had little or no experience Spinning Tomahawks. Don't intentionally spin a tomahawk and you will never have a problem. If you do Spin it, be prepared to recognise when it comes out of the spin and recover quickly without exceeding VNE.

    I think they are great airplane I have over 400 hrs of instruction time in them.
    You should go for it, It would be hard to go wrong with a Tomahawk as a Time Builder.

    Brian
    CFIIG/ASEL
     
  34. kyleb

    kyleb En-Route

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2008
    Messages:
    3,787
    Location:
    Marietta, GA
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Drake the Outlaw
    I agree with most of your post, but I don't think you'll find any structural failures in the Tomahawk fleet. If I'm mistaken, please point me to an accident report.

    FYI, to confirm my belief, I just did a Google search and none turned up.
     
  35. Tom-D

    Tom-D Ejection Handle Pulled

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2005
    Messages:
    29,123
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Tom-D
    Look at the AD list, it didn't get them by being over built.

    85-11-06
    98-03-16
    83-14-08
    82-27-08
    80-22-13
    79-08-02
    79-03-02
    78-26-06
    78-22-01
     
  36. kyleb

    kyleb En-Route

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2008
    Messages:
    3,787
    Location:
    Marietta, GA
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Drake the Outlaw
    You didn't answer the question. But you did go out of your way to provide information that might lead a careless reader to an incorrect conclusion. Hiss, boo...

    You can't name a legacy 2 seat trainer that doesn't come with a list of AD's - they all do.
     
  37. wsuffa

    wsuffa Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2005
    Messages:
    21,693
    Location:
    DC Suburbs
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Bill S.
    At 100 hours a year, that's 85 years.

    At 200 hours a year, it's 42.5.

    Will you fly that much and own it that long?
     
  38. Tom-D

    Tom-D Ejection Handle Pulled

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2005
    Messages:
    29,123
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Tom-D
    Show me another trainer that has 9 ADs on the tail assembly?
     
  39. kyleb

    kyleb En-Route

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2008
    Messages:
    3,787
    Location:
    Marietta, GA
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Drake the Outlaw
    You're still avoiding the issue that there has never been a structural failure in a Tomahawk. Your most recent post does the same thing your first post did. It leads people to incorrect assumptions. I didn't go all the way through the list, but at least one of the AD's on your list is cancelled/superceded (and probably redundant with another one on the list), one is for a control shaft bushing, and one is for the installation of stall strips on the wing.

    No doubt the Tomahawk has several tail AD's, but that isn't damning, as long as the AD's are complied with. That's why we have the process, right? To improve the breed. If we were damning aircraft for AD's, and moreso repetitive AD's on the same basic assemblies, Cessna seat rails would be near the top of the list. (And no, I'm not damning Cessnas.)
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2011
  40. Tom-D

    Tom-D Ejection Handle Pulled

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2005
    Messages:
    29,123
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Tom-D
    All the ADs on that list have to do with the stall characteristics of, or damage resulting from stalls on structure. The list shows a trend and the reason for the reputation.

    I know there was accidents resulting from the weak structure. It's just a matter of finding the reports.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piper_Tomahawk#Safety_record

    http://flightopedia.com/piper-pa-38-tomahawk.htm
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2011