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  • Writer's pictureDaniel Parker

Meet Our Piper Lance

When you get into Commercial Pilot training, you have to get familiar with bigger and more powerful aircraft. We use a PA 32R-300, more commonly known as the Piper Cherokee Lance to do most of our high performance and complex flight training. The Lance was an upgrade to the Piper Cherokee Six, adding retractable landing gear, and giving it the new PA 32R designation.

Ours is a six-seat, all-metal, single engine, fixed-wing aircraft, with low-mounted wings and retractable tricycle landing gear. They have a single door for the pilots on the right side, which is entered by stepping up onto the wing just like our Cherokees, and a secondary door on the left behind the wing for passengers to enter the plane. The first PA-32R was put into production in 1976 to surpass Pipers Comanche as their best high performance single-engine plane. Piper created several models of the PA-32R from 1976-2009, in this time by installing a range of engines, and changing the name from the Lance to the Saratoga.

Our Lance is from the first generation in 1976 when they still had the iconic rectangular planform wing, popularly called the "Hershey Bar'' wing (because of its resemblance to the rectangular chocolate bar). Similar to our Cherokees, our Lance also still uses a control yoke rather than a stick, together with rudder pedals for steering, flaps which can extend for maneuvers and landing into 3 places or angles from 10° up to 40°, dash-mounted control knobs for the throttle, mixture, and propellor angle, and a floor mounted wheel for stabilator trim right next to the Flap lever. These things make the Lance a high powered trainer aircraft comparable to the Cessna 210 or 350, or a Beechcraft Bonanza in ease of use and handling.

The Lance utilizes the traditional 'Six-Pack' configuration of instruments, dual 2-way radios, a radio managing panel, and Garmin G430 & G650 GPS’s to make communication and navigation simpler. We have a Garmin transponder installed, as well as a Garmin G 340 radio changer, and an Avionics Innovations music player. The Lance is equipped for IFR (Instrument Flight Rules) as well, making it able to do a wide range of flight training activities, as well as some nice scenic flights in all kinds of conditions. Like our Cherokees, she has her own personality and nickname: Lois Lane. We have also gotten her an official call-sign: Red Rock 24, rather than using the standard tail number on radio calls.

Overall, the Piper Lance makes a fantastic high performance and complex trainer, and we have worked hard to make flying ours the best experience possible! We love being able to fly, and attend events all over the States like going to the AirVenture Oshkosh fly-in convention. We look forward to sharing this love of the skies with you!

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