One owner reported that he replaced some valves, hoses and fittings every year so that everything was changed over five to six years. That airplane turned out to have crushed heat ductwork requiring many hours of labor to fix and even then, the result was not adequate, despite also plugging the many leaks in the aft cabin bulkhead. The 1952 prototype PA-23 was a twin-tail design with two 125 hp Lycoming O-290-D piston engines and a fuselage composed of steel tubing covered in fabric. Owners assert that their Pipers may not be as pretty, quick or fuel-efficient as other light twins, but they are generally easier to fly, reliable and better at hauling heavy loads and operating out of short fields. Otherwise, adding fluid overfills the system, leading to a very red airplane when the gear is retracted after takeoff. John Tamage of Diamond Aire in Montana (the current holder of the Geronimo STCs) has always been very responsive about parts or support. Or PA-23 Aztec? Early Aztecs claim 178 to 182 knots while burning about 26 to 28 GPH at 75 percent, more realistic cruise is 160 to 165 knots. Apaches continued to come off the line with the 150 hp engines with only minor modifications made to the airframe until 1958 when two notable events happened. PA 23 is a Piper's manufactures designation for both the Apache and the Aztec. Apaches and Aztecs have wings with constant, long chords, and this gives them great slow-speed performance, making takeoff and landing on short fields a breeze. Once in the civilian world, John made the leap to helicopters, going all the way through CFI-I in the unforgiving flight training environment presented by the mountains around Lake Tahoe. Range: 680 NM I would also highly recommend an Apache owner join the Piper Apache Club run by John Lumly. I was sitting across from Chief Wendell Chino, chief of Americaâs Chiracahua Apache Indian tribe, in his Piper Cheyenne III at the Ruidoso, New Mexico airport when he commented that he was â¦ This airplane is still being produced by Piper. Reports of adequacy of cabin heat vary, with one owner stating that his passengers had to wrap up in sleeping bags to stay warm during winter flights. If you catch it early, the fix is merely expensive. The first was the upgrade to the engines; 160 hp O-320-B engines were added to the Apache and designated the Apache E. This aircraft would undergo some other small modifications, including a slight increase to the cabin length and replacing the O-320-B engines with the O-320-B2B; this final designation was the PA-23-160 Apache H. The second event was the introduction of the Piper Aztec PA-23-250. A Piper Aztec may not be cheap to operate, but its an affordable buy. Three years later Piper put 160-HP O-320s on the airplane and equipped it with full-feathering props. The F model, as mentioned earlier, could also be fitted with 20-gallon internal tip tanks. It takes eight hours for one person to remove and replace the cowlings; to me, that’s an incredibly stupid design. It is not a fill the tanks and fill the seats airplane, but it’s amazingly close. A few Piper Apache owners even remove the seat from the airplane, as it is virtually unusable and is just excess weight. Featured Plane Piper Apache The Worldâs First Modern Twin Trainer The airplane that taught many of todayâs airline captains to fly. Average equipped retail price was $36,235. Engine: 2 x fuel-injected Lycoming IO-540-C4B5 250 hp The Piper PA-23, named Apache and later Aztec, is a four-to-six-seat twin-engined light aircraft aimed at the general aviation market. “You can spend a fortune having a mechanic learn your systems,” one owner said. I flew it 150 hours in that time and found it to be a docile, easy to fly, very comfortable airplane. 4570 TT, L/R Engine 401 since extensive overhaul Jan 2014 by JB Aircraft Engines including all new top end, cam & lifters, and refurbished crank cases by Divco ($57841). The irresistibly low prices on some of these airplanes could be siren songs and due to the complexity of the systems, keeping one of the neglected birds airworthy has proven to be expensive to more than one buyer seduced by the low price. 1500 hours later, we still find it to be a comfortable, stable, safe and reliable transport. 1961 Apache PA-23 courtesy of Dirk Slotboom. The earlier Apaches will cruise at around 140 knots consuming 15 gallons per hour. The E and F models have a nose extension with a fiberglass cap. It’s one of those aircraft where you can make a control input and then take your hands off the controls until you need to adjust heading, altitude, or speed again. It also helps to fly as much below gross weight as possible, and to install vortex generators. This wasn’t just about changing a windshield or rudder – Piper Geronimos are essentially entirely rebuilt aircraft. Your email address will not be published. The Piper Apache is generally very responsive on the controls and exceptionally stable. Skip to main content. But for honest handling in a twin and reasonable single-engine performance, it’s one of the best out there. The United States Navy and military forces in other countries also used it in small numbers. Single engine performance in both the Apaches and Aztecs is pretty miserable compared to the Piper Seneca. (Airflow in the fuselage is from the tailcone forward.) This would become the Piper Aztec B PA-23-250. The plane is not that busy, but never turn down a copilot. The Aztec was a truck by comparison. Sort by: "LED LANDING LIGHT" PMA Approved (plug and play replacement bulb) (Whelen PAR 36, 4 1/2" Dia) 10-LED-P36P1L-18D $255.00. Max gross weight was 4800 pounds. Piper Apache 235s and Piper Aztecs have two 36-gallon cells in each wing. A stronger stabilator down spring in the E-model improves longitudinal stability, but control pressure in the flare suffers as a result. What defines what is an Apache from an Aztec is the dash after PA 23. In a questionable attempt to resurrect sales of the Apache, Piper hung low-compression, 80-octane versions of the O-540 on the airplane in 1962, calling it the Apache 235. Twins aren’t cheap to operate and the Piper PA-23 is no exception. Another idiosyncrasy is the location of the gear lever on the right and the flap lever on the left of the center pedestal. A great heater keeps the whole cabin warm. A Letter From Your Pilot: the Germanwings Tragedy. Only 118 PA-23-235s were produced before Piper discontinued the Apache in 1965 in favor of the more powerful, faster Aztecs. This design led to some unfavorable flight characteristics and so the aircraft was changed to a single-tail design and constructed with aluminum skin. We flight plan for 150 knots burning 18-20 GPH total. Length: 31.2 feet The stronger Aztecs normally cruise close to 165 knots while consuming nearly twice the fuel as the Apaches. Horsepower: 160 Gross Weight: 3800 lbs Top Speed: 159 kts Empty Weight: 2230 lbs Cruise Speed: 150 kts Fuel Capacity: 72 gal Stall Speed (dirty): 53 kts Range: 616 nm Takeoff: Landing: Ground Roll: 1190 ft Ground Roll 750 ft: Over 50 ft obstacle: 1550 ft Over 50 ft obstacle: 1360 ft Rate Of Climb: 1260 fpm Rate of Climb (One â¦ The big-engined Piper Apache â¦ The Piper Apache and Piper Aztec: Birds of a Feather. Maintaining a classic twin can quickly drain the wallet if an owner is not an A&P or actively involved with maintenance. It was a wonderful airplane to fly and while it was not going to blaze a path through the sky, you could carry quite a load and the cabin size was very comfortable. Max Cruise Speed: 178 knots Prices on Piper Aztecs are generally much lower than those on other light twins, such as Beech Barons and Cessna 310s. In naturally aspirated B through F models, any load above 4400 pounds must be fuel. Our first was a 1955 PA23-150 that had an updated panel and interior, but completely original airframe. The aircraft has hydraulic flaps and gear with manual pump and air bottle as back ups. Figure on about 160 knots on 29 GPH at high cruise for the Apache 235. The Piper Apache is very forgiving for balance limitations. Fuel Capacity: 144 US gallons Height: 10.3 feet In 1964, with the Aztec C, fuel injection became standard, and there was another boost in gross weight, to 5200 pounds. We have consistently been informed that a good experience in owning an Apache or Aztec depends on having a thorough pre-purchase inspection and good initial and recurrent training. The longer, pointed nose is a detriment from the radar standpoint, according to Aztec expert Tom Baum. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. This third row is very uncomfortable for standard passengers though, so many owners have removed this third row to reduce weight and make room for more cargo. 474) suggesting the deployment of small amounts of flap, rather than stabilator trim, to counter nose-heaviness in the pattern; it works. For example, the original nacelles offer quick access to the engines, but to gain access to the oil screen one must drop the lower nacelle assembly. She is from 1955 and powered by two Lycoming O-320-A1A engines. The Apache is very well built, but ease of servicing may not have been a priority, as many maintenance tasks require a lot of labor. It was a perfect replacement for the Aztec, except at night or over mountains when the second engine is greatly missed. This’ll cost you a few knots in cruise though, especially given the rest of the Apache’s overall short, chunky appearance. The Apache 235 and Turbo Aztecs climb at about 220 FPM on one mill. If you haven't seen Flight Simulator 2020, make a point of it. The Piper Apache / Aztec was Piper Aircraftâs first twin-engine production aircraft and over 7,000 were produced over close to a thirty-year time span, with multiple variants over the years. Apaches have generous loading options; most pilots can get away with filling four seats with full tanks and a little bit of baggage. I figure on 7 hours to dry tanks. In fact, many pilots have reported being barely able to maintain altitude on a single engine with a loaded PA-23 on a hot day. Case in point: when Cessna upgraded its 310, Piper countered by adding a fifth seat and bigger engines to its Apache, thus creating the PA-23-250 Aztec. If the left engine goes kaput, there’s a hand pump underneath the control console that requires 30 to 50 strokes to get the gear up or down, a significant challenge during a real emergency. Some models of the gas-fired heater have maximum hours between overhaul limits, so a Hobbs meter on the heater is a good investment. The steel tube frame is subject to corrosion, so inspect carefully, especially under the cabin. Proper recurrent training is the best protection against these shortcomings. Piper would make one more model of the Apache, which was actually based off of the Aztec and came with less powerful 235 hp O-540 engines, but designated the PA-23-235 Apache. Its fat, constant-chord wing allowed it to use the abundant short runways of the day but, with the chubby fuselage, kept cruise speeds leisurely. In 1959, 368 Apaches were built. Service Ceiling: 18,950 feet In 1966, the turbo option became a full-fledged model, with a standard oxygen system. Originally designed in the 1950s by the Stinson Aircraft Company, Piper Aircraft manufactured the Apache â¦ Limiting speeds in later models are a more manageable 130 and 109 knots. Following all of this? Stall Speed: 59 knots, landing configuration Top speed was 157 knots, with a published but optimistic cruise of 148 knots, while 135 to 140 knots proved to be more realistic. It makes those long IFR flights with alternates a snap. Beginning with the B-model Aztec, there are three full rows of seats and 150-pound capacity baggage compartments fore and aft. Max Weight: 5,200 pounds Everything else is pretty normal. This entered production under the designation PA-23-250 Aztec in 1959-60, the US Navy acquiring 20 of these aircraft for use in a utility role, designating them UO-1, â¦ The Aztec â¦ Maintenance is not user-friendly. Unlike the Baron or 310, it almost feels as if you point it in the right direction and fall asleep until time to flare. My plane had a very basic cylinder head temperature probe; with a modern one, this consumption might be improved. The stabilator and stabilator-balance system were changed with the introduction of the F model, but Piper later switched again from external to internal balance weights after AD 79-26-1 targeted cracks and attachment problems. Original Piper Apaches in average condition carry price tags around $30,000, and it’s not hard to find one for much less. The gear and flaps are hydraulic, meaning that the aging system will provide the owner with the joy of tracing leaks on a regular basis. Shop by category. Trim bezel panel from Piper Aztec. We saw little better during a workout in a Seneca III under a hot Florida sun. There’s really nothing special about the cockpit of the Apache except for its generous size. Example, a PA 23-150 is a Apache with 150 HP engines, a PA 23-160 is a Apache with 160 HP engines. During the run of the Aztec C, the engine TBO went from 1200 to 2000 hours, a benefit retrofittable to the older engines with the installation of half-inch exhaust valves. Wing Span: 37.2 feet The first really big change came about in 1962, when Piper introduced the Aztec â¦ Reports of parts availability are mixed. This list of Piper Apache and Aztec ADs is provided as a service â¦ shipping: + $8.30 shipping . The Piper Apache models need less than 1100 feet to get in or out over a 50-foot obstacle, although the published Vx is very near Vmc. Choose Options. When getting on the brakes after landing, if you lower the nose as you would a 310 or Baron, you’ll just slide the tires because the wing is lifting and there’s no weight on the mains. I eventually took one of the middle seats out, which turned the rear seat into a very comfortable spot with great legroom. I replaced it with a Cessna 210. CG is seldom a concern unless we put really big people in the rear seats. A consequent Apache advancement was the PA-23-235 Apache 235, a lower controlled improvement of the PA-23-250 Aztec, presented in 1962. Aztec/Apache Accidents: Other. The original Apache, with 150-HP engines and a useful load of 1320 pounds, has a higher single-engine ceiling (5300 feet versus 3800 feet), higher service ceiling (17,000 feet against 15,000 feet) and better single-engine rate of climb (240 FPM versus 212 FPM). The most recent, 2009-13-06, applies to all models with a nose baggage compartment and requires inspection and replacement of door and latch components following fatal accidents resulting from a door coming open in flight. Up high, around 24,000 feet, a Turbo Aztec can sizzle along at 190 to 200 knots with fuel gushing at 30 to 35 GPH. The last model to roll off of the Piper line in 1981 was the six-seat PA-23-250 Aztec F with 2 x 250 hp fuel-injected IO-540 â¦ The United States Navy and military forces in other countries also used it in small numbers. All models are capable of carrying an extra 36-40 gallons in optional wingtip tanks. Trim bezel panel from Piper Aztec. I was reluctant to get involved with an airplane that seemed to be on the trailing edge of technology, with a welded frame structure and systems that seemed about five years behind a 310 or Baron of the same vintage—plus, for the same fuel burn, it was 20 knots slower. In our check of ADs for the PA-23, we found 108 listed. It was N4374P, the one in the 1961 Piper brochures, but not nearly so shiny when I got my hands on it ten years later. Parts availability for some airframe parts can be a challenge, but the vast majority of consumable parts are readily available. The PA-23 was not initially designed by Piper Aircraft. The forum is a fantastic resource for parts and maintenance advice. Standard Empty Weight: 3,180 pounds Passengers: five. Or a Piper Aztec PA-27? Piper installed 150-HP engines, changed to a single vertical fin and rather than redesigning the fuselage, simply covered the steel tubes with aluminum, creating the PA-23 Apache. The Piper Aztec grew from the Piper Apache design, and the two aircraft share the same model numerical designation of PA-23 established during the original Apache certification. As mentioned earlier, the airplanes are exemplary short-fielders. If that engine quit, the pilot would need to give a hefty 30-50 pumps of the manual gear extension to get the wheels down. The Piper Apache / Aztec was Piper Aircraft’s first twin-engine production aircraft and over 7,000 were produced over close to a thirty-year time span, with multiple variants over the years. Cheap to operate and the way-too-cute Apache hit the market place ; 1,231 were built that. 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Charged Aztec capacity baggage compartments mean it ’ s easy to stay in.. The tube-and-fabric twin Stinson, with a fifth, and to install vortex generators all models are of! Great legroom attempts at trimming and roam a bit in altitude more tapered nose allows only a radar. And Aztec: Birds of a flap-stabilator interconnect to reduce the pitch-up tendency year, the more tapered nose only... Devoted to their likes it was 1954 and the flap lever on the controls exceptionally. Knots consuming 15 gallons per hour is not an a & P or actively involved with maintenance present! To check the level of the change was a perfect replacement for the Aztec â¦ bezel. Stupid design the Piper Apache is one of the Geronimo Mods design eliminates cockpit display clutter and easier.
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