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Piper archer III...

Immelman

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Apr 10, 2002
Posts
324
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So I got checked out in one of these today at the FBO. Great IFR airplane...only 5 years young, the youngest airplane I've flown to date, very stable, not-too-bad speed, great avionics.

Just one problem: The useful load! 755 pounds!! Barely 460 pounds with full fuel. Most C172s, with less power and less room, have a higher useful load. It is essentially a two-seat airplane with full tanks. I am sort of bummed as I'd wanted to take 3 pax on an IFR trip, and got the checkout to have a rental airpane with equiptment to safely do single pilot IFR. With 3 average weight pax I can carry 2 hours fuel, tops.

I know I am bitching in vain because, duh, the extra equiptment that makes it a good IFR platform takes up weight, but I am also wondering what the folks at Piper were thinking.... carrying around an air conditioning system, heavy (but comfortable) leather upholstered interior, etc...a whole lot of junk that you haul around every day and don't necessarily use, without tossing in, say, a 200HP engine and doing necessary structural mods to increase max weight another 250# or so.
 

JimNtexas

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Dec 1, 2001
Posts
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Wow, I'm partner in an Archer II with a Garmin 430 and STEC 20 that has a useful load of 967 pounds. The air conditioner must be whats killing your useful load. Even worse, with the air conditioner you get a little rubber band for the alternator instead of a proper belt. It will break on you sometime, probably when you are night and IFR.

Just fill it up to the tabs and you ought to be ok for three people. I promise the rear seat pax does NOT want to sit back there for much more than 2 1/2 hours in any case.

Of course if it is a rental you never know what fuel is going to be there when you show up to fly, so you're probably screwed.
 

User546

The Ultimate Show Stopper
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Jan 24, 2004
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I learned to fly in a Archer III. I'd own one myself if they weren't so ridiculously expensive (especially for what you get!).

The useful load sure does suck. I never could get three adults and full fuel in it. And the tradeoff is fuel, but then you greatly reduce your range like you mentioned. Thats the only thing I never cared much for with the Archers.

Great for single-pilot IFR, or carry a friend airplane though. Stable as they come, and very predictable.

I'm curious what rate your FBO is charging for the Archer III?
 

Immelman

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Apr 10, 2002
Posts
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The rental rate on this 125 (!!) an hour. I don't have the cash to fly this one much but I decided to try it out and get their checkout to see if it was worth it (dual garmin 430s, a lot of whiz bang stuff, backup gyro system, etc). They have an older archer, panel no good for IFR, that they rent for 91/hour.

If I ever need to make a (short) trip where marginal weather is involved i'll use it.. otherwise the C172 here at 85/hour or VFR archer are more economical.
 

User546

The Ultimate Show Stopper
Joined
Jan 24, 2004
Posts
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Total Time
+1500
I use to rent one for $105 an hour, and that was about 3 years ago. $125 an hour now doesn't suprise me much. I don't think the airplane is worth $125/hour... but what choice do we have!!

I got a 1976 Piper Dakota that I use for all my personal flying, and its great. Same setup as the Archer, but has a 235 hp engine. Same panel, systems, backup gyros, air conditioned, Garmin 430, Apollo GPS, two VOR's, and ADF. What more do you need!
 

Immelman

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 10, 2002
Posts
324
Total Time
340
Sounds like the Dakota (Piper 182? :) would be the ideal machine for the flight I was thinking of. Only problem is that no one at my airport has anything for rent larger than the Archer, oh well..... someday in the future when that 2nd mortgage is taken care of I can maybe get into an airplane partnership!

Thanks for the info and comparisons on useful loads and rental rates, gents.
 
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