Wednesday, November 30, -0001

PIPER CHEROKEE 235“ PATHFINDER/DAKOTA”


1964–94



STANDARD DATA: (Dakota) Seats 4. Gross wt. 3,000. Empty wt. 1,633. Fuel capacity 77. Engine 235-hp Lycoming.
PERFORMANCE: Top mph 170. Cruise mph 166. Stall mph 64. Initial climb rate 965. Ceiling 17,900. Range 800. Takeoff distance (50') 1,300. Landing distance (50') 1,740.

STANDARD DATA: (Pathfinder) Seats 4. Gross wt. 3,000. Empty wt. 1,565. Fuel capacity 84. Engine 235-hp Lycoming.
PERFORMANCE: Top mph 161. Cruise mph 153. Stall mph 65. Initial climb rate 800. Range 915. Ceiling 13,550. Takeoff distance (50') 1,410. Landing distance (50') 1,740.


This middle-of-the-line Cherokee (formerly the Charger) is powered by a 235-hp engine and ranks between the Archer and the bigger Cherokee Six. Piper apparently planned the entire Cherokee series so that even a student could work his or her way up the line progressively to constant-speed-prop retractables with a minimum of transitioning difficulty. The 235 is of fixed-gear variety, but a constant-speed prop is offered as one of the many factory options.

The main difference between the Pathfinder and the other Cherokees is its powerful 540 cu. in. Lycoming beneath the fiberglass cowl. It is a true four-place airplane in every sense of the word and excels in the fixed gear category with a capability of carrying a useful load that is greater than its empty weight. The 235 Path-finder can take off with four adults, 200 pounds of baggage, 84 gallons of fuel, and still be under the approved gross weight limitations. Couple this with its range of just under 1,110 miles at 55% power, and it can readily be seen why the 235 Pathfinder outranks many other aircraft in the same class.

In 1979, Dakota became the name of Piper’s 235-hp four-seater. Along with its new name, the Dakota came outfitted with the same semi-tapered wings that had graced earlier model Arrow IIIs, Warrior Is, and Archer IIs. The Dakota boasts more useful load and range plus a shorter takeoff distance and faster cruise than any plane in its class. Further aerodynamic streamlining is also accomplished with the introduction of the same speed fairings used on several other single-engine models. The Dakota’s cowl design includes a streamlined close-fitting cowl and oversized spinner to better cut through the air.




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