Piper PA-28 Cherokee

Piper PA-28 Cherokee 180E -
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Type: Civilian

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Information on the PA-28 Cherokee

Cherokee is the common name for the Piper's PA-28 family of aircraft models, which received its type certificate from the FAA in 1960 and is still under production by Piper Aircraft.

The Cherokee is an all-metal, unpressurized, four-seat, single-engine piston-powered plane with low wings and tricycle landing gear; its main competitors have been the Cessna 172 and the Beechcraft Musketeer. All Cherokees have a single door on the co-pilot side, which is entered by walking on the wing. The low-end Cherokees are popular trainers.

Piper has created variations on the Cherokee by installing engines ranging from 140 to 235 horsepower (105 to 175 kW), fixed or retractable landing gear, fixed-pitch or constant-speed propellers, stretching the fuselage to accommodate 6 people, and even turbocharging.


At the time of the Cherokee's introduction, Piper's primary single-propeller, all-metal aircraft was the Piper PA-24 Comanche, a larger, faster aircraft with retractable landing gear and a constant-speed propeller. Karl Bergey, Fred Weick and John Thorp designed the Cherokee as a less expensive alternative to the Comanche, with lower manufacturing and parts costs (though some later Cherokees also featured retractable gear and a constant-speed propeller), to compete with the Cessna 172. The Cherokee and Comanche lines continued in parallel production serving different market segments for over a decade, until Comanche production was ended in 1972, to be replaced by the Piper PA-32R family.

The original Cherokees were the Cherokee 150 and Cherokee 160 (PA-28-150 and PA-28-160), which started production in 1961 (unless otherwise mentioned, the model number always refers to horsepower). The current Warrior model is the descendant of the Cherokee 160. In 1962, Piper added the Cherokee 180 (PA-28-180) powered by a 180 horsepower (134 kW) Lycoming O-360 engine. The extra power made it practical to fly with all four seats filled and the model remains very popular on the used-airplane market. The current Archer model is the descendant of the Cherokee 180. Piper continued to expand the line rapidly: in 1963, the company introduced the even more powerful Cherokee 235 (PA-28-235), which competed favourably with the Cessna 182 for load-carrying capability; in 1964, the company filled in the bottom end of the line with the Cherokee 140 (PA-28-140), which was designed for training and initially shipped with only two seats. One source of confusion is the fact that the PA-28-140 was slightly modified shortly after its introduction to produce 150 horsepower (112 kW), but kept the -140 name. Piper also produced the Piper Cherokee Six which featured a stretched fuselage and seating for one pilot and five passengers.

In 1967, Piper introduced the PA-28R-180 Cherokee Arrow. This aircraft featured a constant-speed propeller and retractable landing gear and was powered by a 180 horsepower (134 kW) Lycoming O-360 engine. The engine was upgraded to 200 horsepower (149 kW) in 1969 and the designation was changed to PA-28R-200. At the time the Arrow was introduced, Piper removed the Cherokee 150 and Cherokee 160 from production.

In 1968, the cockpit was modified to replace the "push-pull" style throttle with a more modern style with levers for the throttle and mixture. In addition, a third window was added to each side, giving the fuselage the more modern look seen in current production descendants.

In 1971, Piper released a Cherokee 140 variant called the Cherokee Cruiser 2+2; although the plane kept the 140 designation, it was, in fact, a 150 horsepower plane (112 kW), and shipped mainly as a four-seat version. In 1973, the Cherokee 180 was named the Cherokee Challenger, and had its fuselage lengthened slightly and its wings widened, and the Cherokee 235 was named the Charger with similar airframe modifications. In 1974, Piper fiddled with the names again, renaming the Cruiser 2+2 (140) to simply Cruiser, the Challenger to Archer (PA-28-181), and the Charger (235) to Pathfinder. Piper also reintroduced the Cherokee 150 that year, renaming it the Cherokee Warrior (PA-28-151) and giving it the Archer's stretched body and a new, semitapered wing.

In 1977, Piper stopped producing the Cruiser (140) and Pathfinder (235), but introduced a new 235 horsepower (175 kW) plane, the Dakota (PA-28-236), based on the Cherokee 235, Charger, Pathfinder models but with the new semi-tapered wing. A 200 horsepower (149 kW) Turbo Dakota (PA-28-201T) briefly followed but did not sell well and soon stopped production. In 1978, Piper upgraded the Warrior to 160 horsepower (119 kW) PA-28-161, changing its name to Cherokee Warrior II.

The PA-28 was also built under licence in Brazil as the Embraer EMB-711 Corisco (PA-28R-200), EMB-711T Corisco Turbo (PA-28R-200T), and the EMB-712 Tupi (PA-28-181).

The original Piper Aircraft company declared bankruptcy in 1991. In 1995, The New Piper Aircraft company was created, then renamed in 2006 back to Piper Aircraft. As of 2005 it produces three PA-28 Cherokee variants: the 160 horsepower (119 kW) Warrior III (PA-28-161), the 180 horsepower (134 kW) Archer III (PA-28-181), and the 200 horsepower (149 kW) retractable Arrow (PA-28R-200), which also comes in a turbocharged version (PA-28R-200T). All are now available with Avidyne FlightMax glass cockpits, like many new general aviation aircraft.

Wing design

Originally, all Cherokees had a constant-chord rectangular planform wing popularly called the Hershey Bar wing because of its resemblance to the flat candy bar. Beginning with the Warrior in 1974, Piper switched to a tapered wing with the NACA 652-415 profile and a two foot longer wingspan. Both Cherokee wing variants have an angled wing root; i.e., the wing leading edge is swept forward as it nears the fuselage body, rather than meeting the body at a perpendicular angle.

Debating the relative merits of these two wing designs is a popular pastime among Piper pilots, including claims by each wing's supporters that the wing has better performance in different phases of flight; in fact, the documented takeoff distance, cruise speed, and landing distance of Cherokees of the same horsepower with different wing types is very similar, and some of the differences that do exist in later, taper-wing models can be attributed to better fairings and seals rather than the different wing design.

Flight controls and flaps

For the Cherokee family Piper used their traditional flight control configuration. The horizontal tail is a stabilator with an anti-servo tab. The anti-servo tab moves in the same direction of the stabilator movement, making pitch control "heavier" as the stabilator moves out of the trimmed position. Flaps can extend up to 40?, but are considerably smaller than the flaps on a Cessna 172. Normally, 25? flaps are used for a short- or soft-field takeoff. The ailerons, flaps, stabilator, and stabilator trim are all controlled using cables and pulleys.

In the cockpit, all Cherokees use control yokes rather than sticks, together with rudder pedals. The pilot operates the flaps manually using a large lever located between the front seats: for zero degrees the lever is flat against the floor and is pulled up to select the detent positions of 10?, 25? and 40?. The flaps can also be manually held at an angle slightly exceeding the 40? available in the last detent. Older Cherokees use an overhead crank for stabilitor trim, while later ones use a trim wheel on the floor between the front seats, immediately behind the flap bar. All Cherokees have a brake lever under the pilot side of the panel. Differential toe brakes on the rudder pedals were an optional add-on for earlier Cherokees, and became standard with later models. Some earlier Cherokees used control knobs for the throttle, mixture, and propeller advance (where applicable), while later Cherokees use a collection of two or three control levers in a throttle quadrant. Cherokees normally include a rudder trim knob, which actually controls a set of springs acting on the rudder pedals rather than an external trim tab on the rudder ? in other words, the surface is trimmed by control tension rather than aerodynamically.

Source: This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Piper Cherokee".

PA-28 Cherokee Specifications

V speeds
Where a single speed appears, it is applicable to the aircraft at maximum gross weight (2440 lb/1107kg). Where a range appears, the lower speed is applicable at empty weight (1531 lb/694 kg) and the higher speed is applicable at maximum gross weight.
VR (no flaps, rotation): 45-55 kias (83-102 km/h)
VR (25? flaps, rotation): 40-52 kias (74-96 km/h)
VX (no flaps, best angle of climb): 63 kias (117 km/h)
VX (25? flaps, best angle of climb): 44-57 kias (82-106 km/h)
VY (best rate of climb): 79 kias (146 km/h)
VA (maneuvering): 88-111 kias (163-206 km/h)
VNO (max cruise): 126 kias (233 km/h)
VNE (never exceed): 160 kias (296 km/h)
VFE (flaps extended): 103 kias (191 km/h)
VREF (no flaps, approach): 70 kias (130 km/h)
VREF (40? flaps, approach): 63 kias (117 km/h)
VS (stall, clean): 50 kias (93 km/h)
VS0 (stall, dirty): 44 kias (82 km/h)

General characteristics
Crew: One, (co-Pilot, Optional)
Capacity: 3 passengers
Length: 23 ft 10 in (7.3 m)
Wingspan: 35 ft 0 in (10.7 m)
Height: 7 ft 4 in (2.2 m)
Wing area: 170 ft? (15.8 m?)
Empty weight: 1,500 lb (680 kg)
Max takeoff weight: 2,440 lb (1,107 kg)
Powerplant: 1? Lycoming O-320-D3G piston engine, 160 hp (120 kW)
Fuel Capacity: 50 US gallons (189 liters) total, 48 US gallons (182 liters) usable
No-fuel Useful Load: 940 lb (426 kg)
Full-fuel Useful Load: 653 lb (296 kg)

Cruise speed: 127 kt (235 km/h) true airspeed at 8,000 ft (2,438 m) density altitude, 2,300 lb (1,043 kg) gross weight, 75% power.
Range: 660 nm (1,167 km) at best economy mixture, 75% power, no reserve, 8,000 ft (2,438 m) density altitude, 2,300 lb (1,043 kg) gross weight, no wind
Service ceiling: 11,000 ft (3,350 m)
Rate of climb: 640 ft/min (3.25 m/s at sea level, 2,440 lb (1,107 kg) gross weight)
Wing loading: 14.4 lb/ft? (70.1 kg/m?)
Power/mass: 0.065 hp/lb (108 W/kg)
Fuel consumption: 10 US gallons (38 liters) per hour at best power mixture setting, 75% power; 8.5 US gallons (32 liters) per hour at best economy mixture setting

PA-28 Cherokee Videos

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