Piper Cherokee

From Academic Kids

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 The New Piper Aircraft Company.

Piper Cherokee PA-28-181 (Archer II).
Piper Cherokee PA-28-181 (Archer II).

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 many 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, and even turbocharging.

Piper PA-28 Cherokee 180E.
Piper PA-28 Cherokee 180E.


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). In 1962, Piper added the Cherokee 180 (PA-28-180): the extra power made it practical to fly with all four seats filled, and the Cherokee 180 remains popular on the used-airplane market. 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 typically shipped with only two seats at first. An often confused issue, the PA-28-140 was slightly modified shortly after its introduction to produce 150 horsepower (112 kW), but kept the -140 name.

Missing image
Piper PA-28R-200 Cherokee Arrow at Carp Airport, Ontario, June 2005 showing the landing gear doors particular to this retractable gear version of the Cherokee

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-320 engine. The engine was upgraded to 200 horsepower (149 kW) in 1969 and the designation was changed to PA-28R-200. At the same time the Arrow was introduced Piper removed the Cherokee 150 and Cherokee 160 from production.

In 1969, the cockpit was modified to replace the "push-pull" style throttle with a more modern style with levers for the throttle and mixture.

Missing image
Piper Warrior II on takeoff roll

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), 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 Warrior II.

The original Piper Aircraft company declared bankruptcy in 1991. In 1995, The New Piper Aircraft company was set up. It currently (2005) 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 rectangular wing popularly called the Hershey Bar wing. Beginning with the Warrior in 1974, Piper switched to using a tapered wing.

The two Cherokee wing designs are the source of a great deal of debate inside the Cherokee community. For example, some pilots claim that the "Hershey Bar" wing produces a more abrupt stall, with loss of aileron effectiveness; however, the wing twist (with a higher incidence angle near the root and lower near the tip) is more important than tapering for stall control, and both wing types exhibit this twist.

Likewise, some pilots claim that the semi-tapered wing reduces cruise speed; in fact, both the semi-tapered 160 horsepower Warrior II and the 180 horsepower Archer II have higher published cruise speeds than their straight-wing predecessors, the Cherokee 160 and Cherokee 180. It is important to note, however, that some of that difference is accounted for by other aerodynamic improvements, such as gap seals and better wheel fairings.


PA-28-161 Piper Warrior II, 1982 or later

General characteristics

  • Crew: one, pilot
  • 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 ft² (15.8 m²)
  • Empty weight: 1,500 lb (680 kg)
  • Maximum takeoff weight: 2,440 lb (1,107 kg)
  • Powerplant: 1x Lycoming O-320-D3G, 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 (75% power): 127 knots (235 km/h) true airspeed at 8,000 ft (2438 m) density altitude, 2,300 lb (1,043 kg) gross weight
  • Range (75% power, no reserve): 660 nautical miles (1,167 km) at best economy mixture, 8,000 ft (2,438 m) density altitude, 2,300 lb (1,043 kg) gross weight, no wind
  • Fuel consumption (75% power): 10 US gallons/hour (38 liters/hour) at best power mixture setting; 8.5 US gallons/hour (32 liters/hour) at best economy mixture setting
  • Service ceiling: 11,000 ft (3,350 m)
  • Rate of climb: 640 ft/min (195 m/min) at sea level, 2,440 lb (1,107 kg) gross weight
  • Wing loading: 14.4 lb/ft² (70.1 kg/m²)
  • Power loading: 15.3 lb/hp (9.2 kg/kW)

See also

External links

Lists of Aircraft | Aircraft manufacturers | Aircraft engines | Aircraft engine manufacturers

Airports | Airlines | Air forces | Aircraft weapons | Missiles | Timeline of aviation

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