Piper Twin Comanche PA30 & PA39

By Jason Zilberbrand

April 6, 2022 Educational

Piper Twin Comanche PA30 & PA39

Piper Twin Comanche PA30 & PA39

Piper Aircraft

In the late 1920s, Piper Aircraft turned to fine-tuning a more aerodynamic design made popular by the Spirit of St. Louis. This monoplane with less drag made the first successful non-stop transatlantic flight. Ultimately, it was able to fly from New York to Paris across the Atlantic. Afterward, everyone wanted to try its design and replicate its success. Gordon and C. Gilbert Taylor took on the challenge to create their own version under Taylor Brothers Aircraft Company.

However, after testing its own version of the Spirit of St. Louis, the plane known as “Chummy” crashed and killed Gilbert’s brother, Gordon. Following the loss of his brother, Gilbert went on to restructure the Taylor Brothers Aircraft Company and refinanced with local money. This transition also inspired a new move to Bradford, Pennsylvania. With hopes of rebuilding the aviation corporation, the Great Depression hit and caused the business to fail. Eventually, Gilbert claimed bankruptcy, and William T. Piper saw an opportunity to take over the business, purchasing all of its remaining assets for $761.

Piper reorganized the company, renamed it Taylor Aircraft Company, and led the factory in Bradford. However, that factory burned down in 1937, so Piper relocated to Lock Haven, Pennsylvania. This time, the company was renamed Piper Aircraft Corporation.

Piper Aircraft is known for naming its planes after Native American groups like Cherokee, Comanche, etc. Furthermore, it’s known for producing private, business, and flight training aircraft. Its headquarters are located at Vero Beach Regional Airport in Florida.

  • Country of Origin: America

Piper Twin Comanche PA30 & PA39

The following are statistics for both the PA30 and PA39 for the Piper Twin Comanche.

Piper Twin Comanche PA30 (1965) Statistics

178 kts

Maximum Speed

770 nm

Maximum Range

4

Maximum Occupants

1963–1965

Range Of Years Manufactured

2,000

Total Aircraft Build

About 264

Current Operational Aircraft

1,390 lbs

Useful Load

$81,400

Average Sale Value

Buyer

VREF Demand Rating


Piper Twin Comanche PA39 (1972) Statistics

203 kts

Maximum Speed

1,395 nm

Maximum Range

5-6

Maximum Occupants

1970–1972

Range Of Years Manufactured

149

Total Aircraft Build

About 38

Current Operational Aircraft

1,182.3 lbs

Useful Load

$113,300

Average Sale Value


Buyer

VREF Demand Rating BB


Operational Resources

Operations Manuals

Maintenance Document

Local Resources

Manufacturer

Insurance

Piper Twin Comanche PA30 & PA39 Details

Below includes descriptions for the 1972 Piper Twin Comanche.

Piper Twin Comanche

Interior

A standard PA39 has a Piper Truespeed Indicator, a vacuum system with dual engine-driven vacuum dry pumps, a dual vacuum gauge, dual 70A engine-driven alternators, heated pitot tube, and full-flow oil filters. Its advanced instrument panel offers a 3-inch pictorial gyro horizon, 3-inch directional gyro, rate of climb indicator, OAT gauge, gyro air filter, initial shoulder harness for the two front seats, and a Piper pictorial turn rate indicator.

Exterior

The Twin Comanche’s structure is made of sheet aluminum. All components are primed completely with zinc chromate, and exterior surfaces are coated with acrylic lacquer. The main spars of the wings are joined with high-strength butt fittings in the center of the fuselage, making a continuous main spar. Spars are attached at the side of the fuselage and in the center of the structure. Its wings are also attached at the rear and auxiliary front spar. The wing airfoil section is a laminar flow type with a maximum thickness of about 40% aft of the leading edge. This means the main spar may pass through the cabin under the rear seat, providing unobstructed cabin floor space ahead of the seat. Its flaps are electrically operated, and the deflection is displayed on a flap position indicator. The take-off range is indicated by the White Arc on the flap indicator.

Avionics

The Piper Twin Comanche may or may not contain the following avionics:

Piper Twin Comanche PA30 (1965)

  • Piper Altimatic II

  • Piper PM-1 Marker Beacon

  • King KX170-B KI-208 VOR/LOC

  • MC-1700 KI-209 VOR/ILS

  • King KN-75 GS Receiver

  • King KT-78 Transponder With Encoder

  • King KR-86 ADF, King KA-134 Audio Panel

  • Pointer ELT 3000

Piper Twin Comanche PA39 (1972)

  • ADS-B I/O

  • Piper Altimatic IIIB 2-Axis Autopilot

  • King KMA24 Audio Panel

  • Garmin 530W WAAS GPS

  • King KLN89B IFR GPS

  • DME

  • King KX155 NavComm

  • ELT

  • JPI EDM 760 Engine Management System

  • Shadin DigiFlo-L Fuel Management System

  • Dual Horizon P1000 Digital Tachometers

  • Flightcom 403 Intercom

  • Flightcom Digital Clearance Recorder

  • 3M WX900 Stormscope

  • Garmin 327 Transponder

  • GPSS Roll Steering

Specifications

Piper Twin Comanche (1965)

  • Take Off Run: 950 ft.

  • Landing Roll: 700 ft.

  • Wing Span: 36 ft.

  • Length: 25 ft. 2 in.

  • Height: 8 ft. 3 in.

  • Take Off (50 ft.): 1,590 ft.

  • Configuration: Twin Engine, Piston, Retractable Gear

  • Max Seats: 4

  • Max Take-Off Weight: 3,725 lbs.

  • Cruise 75%: 168 kts

  • Range: 820 nm

Piper Twin Comanche (1972)

  • Take Off Run: 950 ft.

  • Landing Roll: 700 ft.

  • Wing Span: 36 ft.

  • Length: 25 ft. 2 in.

  • Height: 8 ft. 3 in.

  • Take Off (50 ft.): 1,590 ft.

  • Configuration: Twin Engine, Piston, Retractable Gear

  • Max Seats: 5-6

  • Max Take-Off Weight: 3,725 lbs.

  • Cruise 75%: 168 kts

  • Range: 820 nm

Piper Twin Comanche Models

PA-30 Twin Comanche

From 1963 to 1969, Piper manufactured several Twin Comanche models. However, the first is a twin-engine cabin aircraft powered by two 160-hp Lycoming IO-320-B1A engines in wing-mounted nacelles. The aircraft seated 4 and was available at different levels of equipment fits. Those fits included Standard, Custom, Executive, Sportsman, and Professional.

PA-30 Twin Comanche B

This next Comanche aircraft featured a third cabin window on each side and an optional fifth or sixth seat.

PA-30 Turbo Twin Comanche

The 1966 Twin Comanche also offered a turbo version through two Rajay turbo normalized IO-320-C1A piston engines.

PA-30 Twin Comanche C

This 1968 model is also known as the PA30 B/C Twin Comanche. It’s basically a B model with an updated instrument panel, switches, and other smaller variations. Additionally, the B/C version was available in a turbo normalized version.

PA-30-200

Only one of these 1972 models was ever built. It featured two 200-hp Lycoming engines but was later lost to severe water damage.

PA-30-290

Another experimental variant, Piper created this aircraft with two 290-hp Lycoming IO-540-G engines with one taken from its PA-30 Prototype.

PA-30 Twin Comanche D

There is limited information on this model. However, it’s assumed to be an original designation for the upcoming PA-39.

PA-39 Twin Comanche C/R

This 1972 Twin Comanche variant is essentially a PA-30 with counter-rotating 160-hp Lycoming IO-320-B1A engines and modified wing leading edges.

PA-39 Turbo Twin Comanche C/R

The PA39’s turbo twin, this variation was made for higher altitude flights. When developed, it was equipped with IO-320-C1A engines of the same nominal power.

Top Piper Twin Comanche Questions

What Happened To The PA-30-200?

The PA-30-200 was destroyed at the Piper factory by the Susquehanna River floods. It was a prototype that took its first flight in 1967.

How Much Does A Twin Comanche Cost?

Depending on which model you’re looking at, the Twin Comanche can cost you anywhere between $75,900 and $113,300. The condition, year, and more updated avionics will impact a Twin Comanche’s pricing.

What Happened To The Lock Haven Facility In 1972?

In June of 1972, torrential rains from Hurricane Agnes caused the Susquehanna River to flood. Piper’s Lock Haven factory was underneath 16 feet of water, which caused about 100 aircraft to be destroyed completely. Total damages added up to $23 million.

Why Does Piper Use Native American Names For Its Aircraft?

In 1947, the U.S. split its Air Force and Army into two separate divisions. Army General Hamilton Howze was tasked with naming its helicopters and did not like the original names they were assigned, the Dragonfly and Hoverfly. According to Howze, he ended up naming the next helicopter Sioux “in honor of the Native Americans who fought Army soldiers in the Sioux Wars and defeated the 7th Cavalry Regiment at the Battle of Little Bighorn.”

Later, AR 70-28 required Army aircraft to be named after “Indian terms and names of American Indian tribes and chiefs.” This rule has since been stricken, and the Army has acknowledged the relationship between the U.S. military and Native Americans in a press release discussing the several American Indian Wars from 1609 to 1924. Today, the U.S. military needs formal permission from the tribes to use any other names.

The release states, “But Native Americans also served as some of the fiercest fighters for the United States for more than 200 years…In fact, 32 Native Americans have earned the nation’s highest military award, the Medal of Honor.”

Because of this early established trend, it’s possible that Piper’s team decided to start using Native American names for their own aircraft to stand out. Headquarters did, in fact, have native villages within a quarter-mile. Its first aircraft with a Native American name became the all-metal aircraft, the Piper Apache, produced from 1952 to 1981. While there are no significant historical ties regarding Piper, higher-ups have since decided that the names will honor the natives.

All of the following are Piper aircraft names derived from Indigenous peoples.

  • Piper PA-23 Apache

  • Piper PA-23 Aztek

  • Piper PA-24 Comanche

  • Piper PA-25 Pawnee

  • Piper PA-28 Cherokee

  • Piper PA-28-236 Dakota

  • Piper PA-31 Navajo

  • Piper PA-31P-350 Mojave

  • Piper PA-31T Cheyenne

  • Piper PA-34 Seneca

  • Piper PA-44 Seminole

What Engine Does A Twin Comanche Have?

The Piper Twin Comanche uses Lycoming AIO-320 engines. However, if you end up buying a turbocharged version, you’re looking at IO-320-C1A piston engines.

Is A Twin Comanche PA30 Or PA39 Easy To Fly?

Pilots enjoy flying the Piper Twin Comanche PA30 and PA39 models because they’re faster-flying aircraft, which is an improvement over the much later Piper Seminole. While these models have less horsepower, they have an improved lift. These versions did lose some effective wingspan because of their twin-engine installation. However, the ‘Twin Com’ has only 9.5 inches more span than the single.

How Safe Is The Twin Comanche?

According to the AOPA, during a decade of study, there were 10 Twin Comanche incidents per year. However, in each aircraft incident analyzed to date, pilots were the primary cause of accidents, weighing in at roughly 75%. Per 100 aircraft in its fleet, the record of the Twin Comanche was basically the same as the single Comanche, at about nine accidents per 100 aircraft.

Was Piper Aircraft Ever Built By Another Manufacturer?

Yes. The Piper airplanes were produced by Brazilian manufacturer Embraer under license in 1974. They used knock-down kits from Piper’s U.S. factory for Embraer assembly and marketing in Brazil and Latin America. Nearly 2,500 licensed-built Pipers were produced by Embraer between 1974 and 2000.

How Fast Is A Piper Twin Comanche?

The PA30 Twin Comanche can travel up to 205 mph.

What Are All The Comanche Models Piper Ever Built?

There are 5 other Comanche aircraft manufactured by Piper. However, the only twin-engine model is the PA30 and PA39. The following Comanche models were produced from 1958 to 1972.

  • Piper Comanche PA24 180

  • Piper Comanche PA24 250

  • Piper Comanche PA24 260

  • Piper Comanche PA24 400

  • Piper Twin Comanche PA30/39

Related VREF Resources

The History of The Piper Arrow II PA28R-200 & Piper Arrow III PA28R-201

Cessna Skyhawk 172 A-H The History of The Most Popular Cessna Ever!

Cessna Centurion 210 A-R

Beechcraft Baron 55 A/B

Everything You Wanted To Know About The Cessna Skyhawk 172 I-M

Searching For More Information On Piper’s Twin Comanches?

Join VREF Online and view history, specs, and more for aircraft of all types.

[Sign Up]