A Piper Aztec may not be cheap to operate, but its an affordable buy. Maximum gross weight was 3500 pounds (to put this in perspective, it’s only 100 pounds more than a V35 Bonanza and less than most of the big six-place singles), with a 1320-pound useful load. The E and F models have a nose extension with a fiberglass cap. Featured Plane Piper Apache The World’s First Modern Twin Trainer The airplane that taught many of today’s airline captains to fly. If looking to purchase an Apache, I would seek out an aircraft that had the new style props installed. WORLD'S PREMIER INDEPENDENT AVIATION NEWS RESOURCE. 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 … 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. The Piper Apache is very forgiving for balance limitations. This design led to some unfavorable flight characteristics and so the aircraft was changed to a single-tail design and constructed with aluminum skin. Is it a Piper Apache PA-23? 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. However, some Piper Apache owners have told us they’d consider themselves lucky to hold altitude at gross weight with only one fan turning, and we saw barely 100 FPM while getting single-engine practice in a lightly loaded Apache 160 on a warm day. Just be careful – older Apaches can quickly drain the bank account if not actively maintained. The PA-23 Apache/Aztec was the first twin-engine aircraft built by the Piper Aircraft Company, and between 1952 and 1981 they turned out nearly 7,000 of them. Learn how your comment data is processed. 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. Originally designed in the 1950s by the Stinson Aircraft Company, Piper Aircraft manufactured the Apache and a more powerful version, the Aztec, in the United States from the 1950s to the 1980s. Parts support for the Geronimo mods is excellent. Early Piper Aztecs require less than 1250 feet. In many cases, the repetitive inspections are no longer necessary after affected parts are replaced or modified. Owners of 150- and 160-HP Apaches report 135 to 145 knots on 16 GPH at 75 percent power. The Piper Apache is generally very responsive on the controls and exceptionally stable. I flew it 150 hours in that time and found it to be a docile, easy to fly, very comfortable airplane. Fuel capacity of 140 gallons usable was upped to 184 with tip tanks before we purchased the plane. Major enhancements include a larger cabin, larger rudder, redesigned nose & windshield, aerodynamic improvements to all control surfaces, and larger 180 hp engines. The Aztec F added an auxiliary hydraulic pump on the right engine. Single engine performance in both the Apaches and Aztecs is pretty miserable compared to the Piper Seneca. The last versions, the Piper Aztec series, by contrast, are capable load-haulers with very good short-field performance. The Aztec was a truck by comparison. 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. The longer, pointed nose is a detriment from the radar standpoint, according to Aztec expert Tom Baum. 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. The fat, high-lift airfoil has a lot to do with the PA-23’s docility and good low-speed performance, but it costs more than a few knots in speed. In 1960, Piper introduced the Aztec, a stretched PA-23 airframe with 250-HP Lycoming O-540-A1B5 engines and a larger tail with stabilator. 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 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. 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. The Piper Apache is largely relegated to the training function for those looking for cheap-to-fly time builder but the Piper Aztec remains one of general aviation’s stalwart twins and although it has high operating costs, it can be bought relatively cheaply. Takeoff Distance over 50’ obstacle: 1,980 feet In 1964, with the Aztec C, fuel injection became standard, and there was another boost in gross weight, to 5200 pounds. 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. In our check of ADs for the PA-23, we found 108 listed. Or PA-23 Aztec? Example, a PA 23-150 is a Apache with 150 HP engines, a PA 23-160 is a Apache with 160 HP engines. All of these Apaches have the older round tail. There are zero fuel, max landing and max landing tip tank weights to consider, but with a little planning they seldom are a concern. 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. Propeller: Two-blade, constant speed, feathering Another idiosyncrasy is the location of the gear lever on the right and the flap lever on the left of the center pedestal. One idiosyncrasy that will present itself to the transitioning pilot is the tendency of pre-1976 models to pitch up strenuously when flaps are lowered. 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. It has the O-360 (180 HP), long nose with baggage, aux electric hydraulic pump, aft baggage, flap gap seals, aux fuel tanks (108 gallons total), squared-off tail and fiberglass nacelles. 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 engines. 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. Piper PA-34 Seneca: One of the Last of It’s Kind, The Beechcraft 58 Baron: Crown Royalty of the Light-Twin World, The Cessna 120: The Little Trainer That Could. If you catch it early, the fix is merely expensive. I wish it were as fast as a 310. John Tamage of Diamond Aire in Montana (the current holder of the Geronimo STCs) has always been very responsive about parts or support. Considering the number of Aztecs built, it’s curious that there is no organization devoted to their owners. In our opinion, the edge of the single-engine performance envelope on light-light twins—those with normally aspirated engines of less than 200 HP—is really too close to being unsafe for comfort. There, served as an F-15E Instructor Weapon Systems Officer for ten years, obtaining 1,600 flight hours over two deployments to Afghanistan and well over 100 combat missions flying Close Air Support. With it came the tube-and-fabric Twin Stinson, with 125-HP engines and twin tails. Figure about $275 per hour, wet, to run a normally-aspirated Aztec, based on 150 hours a year. This wasn’t just about changing a windshield or rudder – Piper Geronimos are essentially entirely rebuilt aircraft. The D models had minor improvements, including instrument arrangement. So now we find ourselves in 1961 with the PA-23-160 Apache H and the PA-23-250 Aztec B being produced simultaneously. The steel tube frame is subject to corrosion, so inspect carefully, especially under the cabin. The airframes were virtually identical, and it could be hard to tell an Apache from an early Aztec. Each was all-metal and of semi-monocoque construction. 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