Never let an airplane take you somewhere you brain didn’t get to five minutes earlier.
The Twin Comanche – Is it the plane for you?
by Allen Murray
The Piper Twin Comanche is an entry-level twin engine piston aircraft which was produced at Piper’s Lock Haven PA plant from 1963 until 1972 when the plant was flooded by hurricane Agnes. Much of the fixtures and tools were destroyed and production then ceased. It was later replaced by Piper’s Seneca l and the Seminole models, both heavier, slower and less fuel-efficient aircraft. There is no other piston twin engine aircraft that is as efficient, absent the diesel – powered Diamond TwinStar DA-42. (But that diesel engine, has a reputation for extremely costly maintenance). It is a long and sad story…
A Note from Freeflight: The newest DA-42 NG is equipped with two sophisticated 170 hp Diesel powered AE300 engines. It’s efficient, ecological, and revolutionary.
The PA-30 Twin Comanche is a 4 place aircraft with a gross weight of 3,600 lbs. The tip-tank version has a gross weight increase of 125 lbs, all as fuel. With standard tanks the plane can carry four “FAA” people with full fuel and some baggage.
Book speed at 8,000′ is 168 Kts at 75% power. Typically, operators can expect about 160- 165 Kts at 8,000′ and burn 16 GPH of 100LL fuel. Range to fuel exhaustion is
beyond 5 hours in that condition. There is also a Turbo version of the PA-30 but that is not included in this discussion.
The plane is docile to fly and is a solid IFR platform. Regular Single-Engine practice is required to maintain proficiency, but the handling is docile so long as the speeds are respected. The cabin is quite roomy and comfortable to sit in but requires some agility to enter and exit the plane.
Landing characteristics are a bit quirky, and sometimes can embarrass the pilot with a couple bounces if the approach is not flown precisely. Approach speed is key. The bookdemonstrated crosswind component is 17 Kts. The Twin Comanche is capable of short field operations but in the case of the writer, at sea level I prefer to have at least 2,500′ of paved runway at a minimum, and more makes life easier.
Many of these aircraft have had avionics, autopilot and other systems upgrades which make them highly suitable for safe, comfortable and reliable transportation.
Maintenance can be a big factor. If you consider purchasing one, it is important that the plane and its records be thoroughly examined and assessed to avoid costly repairs. A properly maintained Twin Comanche can provide reliable service at a cost competitive with some popular high-performance singles like a Beech Bonanza or a Cessna 210.
Parts are widely available and there is support from Webco in KS which supports the entire Comanche line. A Type club, the ICS (International Comanche Society) is a great resource for expertise about the entire Comanche line.
A DA40 XL – Is this the plane for you?
Words from Diamond
Developing and building a family of aircraft takes a long-term commitment and an unwavering vision – it’s not for the faint of heart. Diamond not only has the vision and resources, but an owner who embodies the spirit of innovation.
With the passion of an accomplished pilot, and the vision of a successful entrepreneur, Christian Dries has led Diamond Aircraft’s growth from building only a single motorglider to offering general aviation’s most innovative and diverse family of personal and business aircraft. The growth of the Diamond Aircraft family exemplifies his personal commitment to delivering aircraft that pilots want.
Additional Information on N971PS and be found on John Armstrong’s N971PS Page.
Now Let’s Go Flying! – Upcoming Events!
For More Adventures and Updates!
Visit our Facebook Page!