PIPER “LANCE”/“TURBO LANCE”
STANDARD DATA: (Lance) Seats 6-7. Gross wt. 3,600. Empty wt. 2,011. Fuel capacity 98. Engine 300-hp Lycoming.
Piper’s Lance is essentially a Cherokee Six with retractable landing gear. The Lance utilizes the same main gear as that of the higher-gross-weight Seneca with the same retraction system used in the Arrow. The Lance’s 1,690-pound useful load is a healthy allowance for passengers, fuel, and luggage. As with the Cherokee Six 300, the dependable 300-hp engine is fuel injected. Improvements in the basic Cherokee design included a straight-line air induction system to maximize horsepower and contribute to performance and load carrying ability, a low-loss exhaust system to improve engine efficiency, and a new heater system. The Lance’s distinction is that it is the first airplane to make the step from fixed-gear super-hauler to high-performance retractable.
Because the Six’s strongest selling point was useful load, Piper had to look for ways to improve the Lance’s carrying ability in order to make room for the added weight of the new gear without sacrificing payload. Piper did this by refining the intake and exhaust systems to achieve more horsepower from the venerable Lycoming engine. With added effective power and the increased aerodynamic efficiency of retractable gear, it was possible to up the gross from 3,400 to 3,600; thus, the Lance still retains a 114-pound useful-load advantage over the Six, even with its retractable gear.
Lance changes in 1978 included the addition of a turbocharged version as well as the use of a T-tail on both models. The Turbo Lance, with its turbocharged 300-hp Lycoming cruises at 201 mph at 16,000 feet. Maximum continuous power is provided to 15,000 feet. The T-tail design reduces noise and vibration levels, increases stability by diminishing longitudinal trim changes as power and flap settings are changed, and increases the center-of-gravity envelope.