Plane & Pilot
Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Piper Archer: 50 Years & Counting

The Piper Archer soldiers on into a new generation

High-wing fans argue that there are no low-wing birds, and low-wing advocates question the almost total dearth of high-wing jet fighters. (Okay, the Navy's F8 Crusader wasn't exactly a slouch.) High wingers tout their type's ready adaptability to float and bush operation, and low-wing supporters point to the fact that high-wing airplanes block the view of other traffic and the airport during base and final turns. 'Nuff said. We'll leave that debate for another article.

Here's a look at the performance and specifications for the two 2011 models:

By any measure, the Archer LX is a plush airplane, with equipment and features commensurate with its price tag. Open the right entry door, and you're confronted with more leather than a rock star's closet. Interiors have been progressively improved to the point that they truly are nearly automotive in nature. Air-conditioning, the ultimate creature comfort, is available as an option.

The Archer's panel features a Garmin 500 system with Synthetic Vision as standard. The package provides plenty of extra panel space, should you select options such as Stormscope, SkyWatch, ADF or DME. The radio suite includes a pair of do-everything Garmin GNS 430W VHF/LOC/VOR/GPSs, a Garmin 340 audio panel and a Garmin 330 Mode S tran-sponder with Traffic Information System uplink. An STEC 55X autopilot also is optional. In other words, the Archer is IFR-ready right out of the box. Piper also offers an option for upgrading to a dual G500 system.

Labels: Piston Singles


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