We asked the Air Facts community to share with us why they bought the airplane they did and why this was the right choice for them. We heard from William “Pete” Hodges of Spotsylvania, Virginia, who made the case for his 1968 Cherokee PA28-140. Here’s Pete’s case:
In 2004 I was completing my Private and was looking for a first airplane to own that would support the flying my wife and I wanted to do, including 400 mile cross-countries, training and day trips. After reading “Buying and Owning Your First Airplane,” we chose the Piper Cherokee 140. We bought it just after I soloed and I completed all the cross-country and final training in this aircraft. I learned not only how to be a good pilot, but also how the be an owner and good steward of the airplane.
We chose the little 140 because it was the smallest airplane that would do our biggest job. There are a lot of them around so it would be easy to get parts. All the mechanics know how to work on them as they are simple to maintain with fixed prop and fixed gear. They cruise at an honest 100+ knots with 5.5+ hours of endurance at 8.5 GPH, and they carry a lot of stuff with two people on board.This airplane can also carry four people, no bags, partial load of fuel, and has good short field/grass field performance, especially when lightly loaded or in cool weather. It is a great choice for a first airplane that you want to keep and grow with.
We bought 86F in 2004 with a zero-time engine overhaul, new interior, and six-year old exterior paint. It looked almost new for 36 years old. After we owned it for a couple of years, I started to get the “bigger airplane” itch. After doing some research, we got our bigger plane by modifying this one with the CAVERNOUS back shelf option for about $1500 instead swapping to a larger airplane for $15,000. A year later we added an AOA Lift Reserve Indicator to give us a better margin of error for short field work, and the year after that we added wheel pants for an extra 10% of cruise speed.
Are we happy with our little bird? You bet we are! Sometimes the best deal you can get is a good well-built plane-Jane!
Pete made a good case for his Cherokee. How about you? What do you fly or own and why is it the best airplane for you. Go ahead: Make your case.