When Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based Premier Aircraft Sales introduced its Premier Edition Piper Dakota in late 2017, the company was understandably curious to see how the market would respond. In theory, there would be great interest. The idea was compelling: By taking low-time PA-28-235 airframes and performing an extensive restoration, Premier could offer buyers an airplane that does what a new Dakota would do and then some, if you could buy one, which you can’t, and at a fraction of the cost. Who wouldn’t like the sound of that?
Fred Ahles, president and founder of Premier Aircraft Sales, explained that in his view, there’s “no good used equivalent for the Dakota” at near this price point. Premier sells the refurbished Dakota for between $260,000 and $325,000, depending on avionics. Ahles suggested that an equivalent model would cost $500,000 or more. While a figure north of $300,000 sounds like a lot for a 40-year-old airplane, the truth is, it’s cheaper than many new planes of less performance.