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|Piper PA-28-236 Dakota|
|Role||Civil utility aircraft|
|First flight||14 January 1960|
|Piper PA-28-236 Dakota|
|Role||Civil utility aircraft|
|First flight||14 January 1960|
All members of the PA-28 family are all-metal, unpressurized, single-engined, piston-powered airplanes with low-mounted wings and tricycle landing gear. They all have a single door on the copilot side, which is entered by stepping on the wing.
The first PA-28 received its type certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration in 1960, and the series remains in production to this day. Current models are the Arrow and Archer TX and LX. The Archer was discontinued in 2009, but with investment from new company ownership, was put back into production in 2010. The PA-28 series competes with the Cessna 172, the Grumman American AA-5 series, and the Beechcraft Musketeer.
Piper has created variations within the Cherokee family by installing engines ranging from 140 to 300 hp (105-220 kW), providing turbocharging, offering fixed or retractable landing gear, fixed-pitch or constant speed propellers, and stretching the fuselage to accommodate six people. The larger, six-seat variant of the PA-28 is generally the PA-32; earlier versions were known as the "Cherokee Six", and a PA-32 version called the Saratoga was in production until 2009.
At the time of the Cherokee's introduction, Piper's primary single-engined, 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 to compete with the Cessna 172, although some later Cherokees also featured retractable gear and constant-speed propellers.
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).
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 (depending on passenger weight and fuel loading), and the model remains popular on the used-airplane market. In 1968, the cockpit was modified to replace the "push-pull" style engine controls with levers. In addition, a third window was added to each side, giving the fuselage the more modern look seen in current production.
Piper continued to expand the line rapidly. In 1963, the company introduced the even more powerful Cherokee 235 (PA-28-235), which competed favorably with the Cessna 182 for load-carrying capability. The Cherokee 235 featured a Lycoming O-540 engine derated to 235 horsepower (175 kW) and a longer wing which would eventually be used for the Cherokee Six. It included tip tanks of 17-gallon capacity each, bringing the total fuel capacity of the Cherokee 235 to 84 gallons. The aircraft had its fuselage stretched in 1973 giving much more leg room in the rear. The stabilator area was increased as well. In 1973 the marketing name was changed from "235" to "Charger". In 1974 it was changed again to "Pathfinder". Production of the Pathfinder continued until 1977. There was no 1978 model year. In 1979 the aircraft was given the Piper tapered wing and the name was changed again, this time to "Dakota".
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. The PA-28-140 engine was slightly modified shortly after its introduction to produce 150 horsepower (112 kW), but kept the -140 name.
In 1967, Piper introduced the PA-28R-180 Cherokee Arrow. This aircraft featured a constant-speed propeller, retractable landing gear and was powered by a 180-horsepower (134-kW) Lycoming IO-360-B1E engine. A 200-hp (149-kW) version powered by a Lycoming IO-360-C1C was offered as an option beginning in 1969 and designated the PA-28R-200; the 180-hp model was dropped after 1971. At the time the Arrow was introduced, Piper removed the Cherokee 150 and Cherokee 160 from production.
The Arrow II came out in 1972, featuring a five-inch fuselage stretch to increase legroom for the rear-seat passengers. In 1977, Piper introduced the Arrow III (PA-28R-201), which featured a semitapered wing and longer stabilator, a design feature that had previously been introduced successfully on the PA-28-181 and provided better low-speed handling. It also featured larger fuel tanks, increasing capacity from 50 to 77 gallons.
The first turbocharged model, the PA-28R-201T was also offered in 1977, powered by a six-cylinder Continental TSIO-360-F engine equipped with a Rajay turbocharger. A three-bladed propeller was optional.
In 1979, the Arrow was restyled again as the PA-28RT-201 Arrow IV, featuring a "T" tail that resembled the other aircraft in the Piper line at the time.
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-hp plane, and was 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 changed the marketing names of some of the Cherokee models again, renaming the Cruiser 2+2 (140) simply the Cruiser, the Challenger to the Archer (model PA-28-181) and the Charger (235) to Pathfinder.
In 1977, Piper stopped producing the Cruiser (140) and Pathfinder (235), but introduced a new 235-hp (175-kW) plane, the Dakota (PA-28-236), based on the Cherokee 235, Charger, and Pathfinder models, but with the new semitapered wing.
The PA-28-201T Turbo Dakota followed the introduction of the PA-28-236 Dakota in 1979. The airframe was essentially the same as a fixed-gear Arrow III, and was powered by a turbocharged Continental TSIO-360-FB engine producing 200 hp (149 kW). The aircraft did not sell well, and production ended in 1980.
In 1978, Piper upgraded the Warrior to 160 hp (119 kW) PA-28-161, changing its name to Cherokee Warrior II. This aircraft had slightly improved aerodynamic wheel fairings. Later models of the Warrior II, manufactured after July 1982, incorporated a gross weight increase to 2,440 pounds, giving a useful load over 900 pounds. This same aircraft, now available with a glass cockpit, was available as the Warrior III, and was marketed as a training aircraft.
In 1965, Piper developed the Piper Cherokee Six, designated the PA-32, by stretching the PA-28 design. It featured a lengthened fuselage and seating for one pilot and five passengers.
PA-28s were built under license in Brazil as the Embraer EMB-711A and EMB-711C Corisco (PA-28R-200), EMB-711B (PA-28R-201), EMB-711T (PA-28RT-201) and EMB-711ST Corisco Turbo (PA-28RT-201T) and the EMB-712 Tupi (PA-28-181). Argentinian production was carried out by Chincul SACAIFI of San Juan, Argentina. Chincul S. A. built 960 airplanes between 1972 and 1995, including the Cherokee Archer, Dakota, Arrow, and Turbo Arrow. The PA-28-236 Dakota was also assembled under license by the Maintenance Wing of the Chilean Air Force (which later became known as ENAER). By September 1982, 20 Dakotas had been assembled in Chile.
The original Piper Aircraft company declared bankruptcy in 1991. In 1995, The New Piper Aircraft company was created. It was renamed Piper Aircraft once again in 2006. The company currently produces one variant: the 180 horsepower (134 kW) Archer LX (PA-28-181). Two Diesel versions, 135 and 155 hp, are being tested.
Beginning with the Warrior in 1974, Piper switched to a semitapered wing with the NACA 652-415 profile and a 2-foot-longer (0.61 m) wingspan. The constant chord is maintained from the root to mid-wing, at which point a tapered section sweeping backwards on the leading edge continues until the tip. 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.
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. The Hershey Bar wing design is not markedly inferior to the tapered design, and in some ways is quite advantageous. As Piper Cherokee designer John Thorp says: "Tapered wings tend to stall outboard, reducing aileron effectiveness and increasing the likelihood of a rolloff into a spin." 
As Peter Garrison further explains: "To prevent tip stall, designers have resorted to providing the outboard portions of tapered wings with more cambered airfoil sections, drooped or enlarged leading edges, fixed or automatic leading edge slots or slats, and, most commonly, wing twist or "washout". The trouble with these fixes is that they all increase the drag, canceling whatever benefit the tapered wing was supposed to deliver in the first place."
For the Cherokee family, Piper used their traditional flight control configuration. The horizontal tail is a stabilator with an antiservo tab (sometimes termed an antibalance tab). The antiservo 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, and arguably less effective, 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 Johnson bar 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°.
Older Cherokees use an overhead crank for stabilator trim (correctly called an antiservo tab), 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 instrument 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.
The Cherokee series has been popular with private owners and flying clubs, with over 32,000 delivered.
Data from Piper Aircraft Owner's Handbook
factory standard 1964, none
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