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7000 hr Arrow - move out and up??

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Well-known member
Nov 26, 2001
Our flying club has a 1974 Piper Arrow with just over 7000 hours TTAF and an engine nearing TBO (about 100 hrs short). As I understand it, most GA piston single airframes are "certified" to 10,000 hrs. Beyond that, good luck, apparently.

Here is my first question: Understanding that our flying club has 30 members, 3 aircraft (the Arrow, an Archer and a 172) and very little debt, should the club seriously consider selling the 7000 hr Arrow now, before blowing 15k on an overhaul?? Bear in mind that the overhaul should get the plane to over 9000 hrs TTAF? Or would you wait until after the overhaul is completed by a reputable shop?

My second question is this: one drawback of the Arrow in question is that its useful load with full fuel might only accomodate two good sized adults and maybe a kid, plus their junk, so if you were going move up to a more capable aircraft in terms of speed and payload, what would you suggest? Saratoga HP? Bonanza? If one, why not the other? Any other suggestions beyond the 'Toga and Bonanza?

Thanks very much in advance for taking the time to express your thoughts.
For that aircraft there is no such thing as a certified hour limit on the airframe. There will be time limited items on any aircraft. You repair or replace and move on. To my understanding the only aircraft that have a time limit on the airframe are certain pressurized aircraft and this goes well beyond 10,000 hrs. You could just replace the airframe, but of course there does come a point of diminishing returns as far as market value of the aircraft vs the maintenance cost. As far as whether or not to doing an engine overhaul before resale, I'm sure you will get different opinions. You certainly don't blow money on an overhaul (assuming it is done properly). There is inherent value in them. From my experiences working with an aircraft dealer, having a fresh overhaul on a light piston plane done by a reputable/well-known shop will help sell a plane much better than relying on those out looking for a bargin "project" airplane. If the club is working fine with that aircraft (is it paid for?), I would vote for doing an overhaul, flying it some more and then a few years down the road when the engine can still be considered low time sell it. The piston market right now does seam to be making a come back from the last 2 years but it is slow. My biggest worry for the future would be the availability of Avgas (and hence the utility of piston aircraft). I haven't seen any definitate solutions to that issue yet. Some diesel engine applications, but no real fuel replacement for all of the piston engines out there. I would think your 1974 Arrow would be in better shape with some modifications to use high octane auto fuel vs some late model high compression aircraft. I've seen some reports that say there are only 2 refinery sources in the world right know for 100LL and by 2007-2010 production for 100LL will cease with maybe another 5 years of stockpiled (read expensive) supplys left.

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