Piper Aircraft

In the early 1920s, Piper Aircraft began refining a more aerodynamic aircraft design. Their initial low-drag monoplane, made famous by the Spirit of St. Louis, accomplished its first successful non-stop transatlantic flight in 1927. After witnessing its ability to fly from New York to Paris across the Atlantic, many sought to replicate its design and emulate its success. Gordon and C. Gilbert Taylor teamed up to create their own version under the Taylor Brothers Aircraft Company.

However, during testing of the Spirit of St. Louis replica dubbed “Chummy,” an accident killed Gilbert’s brother, Gordon. After Gordon’s death, Gilbert restructured the Taylor Brothers Aircraft Company and refinanced it with local funds. This pivot also inspired a relocation to Bradford, Pennsylvania, with visions of rebuilding the aviation business. When the Great Depression struck, it forced the company into bankruptcy. Grabbing the opportunity, William T. Piper acquired all remaining assets for $761.

After reorganizing the company at its Bradford factory, it was renamed the Taylor Aircraft Company. A factory fire in 1937 prompted Piper to relocate its operations to Lock Haven, Pennsylvania, where the company was again rebranded as Piper Aircraft Corporation.

In 1972, Hurricane Agnes brought 9 inches of rain to central Pennsylvania, causing floodwaters that devastated Piper’s Lock Haven facility. The entire plant, multiple fully-built aircraft, and all design and engineering work were lost beyond repair.

Piper Aircraft currently specializes in producing private, business, and flight training aircraft with headquarters at the Vero Beach Regional Airport in Florida. The aviation manufacturer is renowned for naming its aircraft after Native American tribes like Cherokee and Apache.

  • Country of Origin: America

Native American Aircraft Names

The U.S. split its Air Force and Army into two separate divisions in 1947. 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 Joint Base San Antonio (JBSA), he chose the name 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 on, the Army asked for its AR 70-28 aircraft to be named after “Indian terms and names of American Indian tribes and chiefs.” However, the rule did not last as there were disagreements, causing the Army to acknowledge the relationship between the U.S. military and Native Americans in a press release discussing the several American Indian Wars from 1609 to 1924. Now, the U.S. military needs formal permission from the tribes to use any similar names in the future.

The release also says, “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.”

Piper’s team may have decided to start using Native American names for their aircraft to stand out during its initial years. Using native tribe and warrior names might have been inspired by the headquarters’ surrounding area as it’s located within a quarter mile of several native villages. The first aircraft with a Native American name became the all-metal aircraft, the Piper Apache, manufactured from 1952 to 1981.

The following Piper aircraft names all derive 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

Piper Comanche PA-24-250

The following are statistics for the most recent Piper Comanche PA-24-250.

  • Maximum Speed: 157 kts
  • Maximum Range: 630 nm
  • Maximum Occupants: 4
  • Range of Years Manufactured: 1958–1964
  • Total Aircraft Build: 3,686
  • Current Operational Aircraft: Unknown
  • Useful Load: 1,100 lbs.
  • Average Sale Value: $82,838
  • Average Days On Market For Sale: 29
  • VREF Demand Rating: Join VREF Online

Operational Resources

Operations Manuals

Maintenance Document

Local Resources



Piper Comanche PA-24-250 Details

Below are descriptions for Piper’s 1964 Comanche PA-24-250.


The Comanche PA-24-250 is a high-performance business plane with ample room and comfort for 4 passengers. This variant offered an improved ventilating system, adjustable front seats, and radio units installed in the center of the instrument panel.


The Comanche PA-24-250 offers an advanced aerodynamic design including a laminar flow wing, which allows it to travel longer distances. This aircraft also has a single-piece stabilator, giving it superior longitudinal stability for less drag. Piper has also equipped this aircraft with primed interior surfaces before assembly to prevent corrosion.


A Piper Comanche PA-24-250 may or may not contain the following avionics:

  • Garmin GMA Audio Panel
  • Garmin 396 Color Portable Moving Map GPS
  • Garmin GTX 327 Transponder with Mode C
  • Garmin GDL 82 ADSB Out
  • King KX 175B Analog 760 Channel Nav/Com
  • King KI 209 Glide Slope/VOR/Localizer Indicator
  • Narco MK 12D Digital Flip Flop 760 Channel Nav/Com
  • Narco VOR/Localizer Indicator
  • S-Tec 40 Autopilot
  • Fuel Scan 450 Fuel Flow Computer
  • Electronics International EGT/CHT Gauge
  • Dual Yoke Mounted Push-to-Talk Buttons
  • Remote Autopilot Disconnect Button on Yoke
  • Outside Air Temp Gauge
  • 406 ELT with Remote Arming Panel
  • Digital Timer


  • Configuration: Single Engine, Piston, Retractable Gear
  • Max Seats: 4
  • Max Takeoff Weight: 2,800 lbs.
  • Cruise: 157 kts
  • Range: 630 nm
  • Take-Off (50 ft.): 1,650 ft.
  • Landing (50 ft.): 1,025 ft.
  • Wing Span: 36 ft.
  • Length: 24 ft. 1 in.
  • Height: 7 ft. 3 in.
  • Takeoff (50 ft.): 1,650 ft.

Piper Comanche Models

Comanche 180

Not to be confused with the Twin Comanche design that debuted after 1972, the original version of this design was the PA-24. This variant features a carbureted 180-horsepower Lycoming O-360-A1A engine, swept tail, laminar flow airfoil, and all-flying stabilator.

The flaps designed for this Comanche aircraft were manually actuated and controlled by the same actuator as the Piper Cherokee. The base price for a brand new, standard Comanche 180 aircraft ranged between $17,850 (1958) and $21,580 (1964). A total of 1,143 Comanche 180s were built.

Comanche 250

In 1958, Piper welcomed its 250 horsepower variant using a Lycoming O-540 engine. This addition gave the PA-24-250 Comanche a top cruise speed of 160 kn. Piper’s 250s were produced with mostly carbureted Lycoming O-540-AIA5 engines. Yet, a small number were fitted with the fuel-injected versions of the same engine. Early Comanche 250s had manually operated flaps. Electrically actuated flaps were made standard in 1962.

Comanche 260

Since 1965, Piper’s introduced a total of four (4), 260-horsepower Comanche variants:

PA-24-260 (1965)

The 260 had an empty weight of around 1,700 lbs. and a maximum gross weight of 2,900 lbs. This 4-seater aircraft also had an optional 90-gallon-capacity auxiliary fuel system.

PA-24-260B (1966 to 1968)

The 260B was longer than its previous models due to a longer propeller spinner. The 260B is a 6-seater aircraft with a third side window and a typical empty weight of 1,728 lbs.

PA-24-260C (1969 to 1972)

The 260C introduces its “tiger shark” cowling and maximum gross weight of 3,200 lbs., redesigned cowl flaps, and an aileron-rudder interconnect. Excluding the 400, this aircraft has a useful load of 1,427 lbs. – the largest of all Comanche aircraft payloads. It’s often mistaken for the 400 but has slightly longer cowling and a longer nose gear door, compared to previous models.

PA-24-260TC (Turbocharged 260C) (1970 to 1972)

Beginning in 1970, Piper offered a turbo-normalized variant of the PA-24-260 known as the 260TC with a Lycoming IO-540-R1A5 engine and dual Rajay turbochargers. A total of 26 were produced between 1970 and 1972. This turbocharged Comanche aircraft had a maximum true airspeed of 223 mph.

The turbocharged 260C experienced a 100-lb. gross weight increase. However, its performance remained about the same as its B variant. Its range went up slightly while its climb rate declined. This variant also had “tiger shark” cowling.


With limited information on Piper’s PA-24-300 model, its 1972 Twin Comanche variant is essentially a PA-30 with counter-rotating 160-horsepower Lycoming IO-320-B1A engines and modified wing leading edges.

Comanche 400

Also known as the PA39’s turbo twin, this variation was made for higher altitude flights – equipped with IO-320-C1A engines of the same nominal power.


The PA-33 is a single-engine Comanche modified by Swearingen with a pressurized cabin in 1967. Powered by a 260-horsepower Lycoming O-540 engine and equipped with Twin Comanche landing gear, the PA-33 became a prototype. After making its first flight on March 11, 1967, it crashed later during takeoff in May 1967. The project was then canceled.

Top Piper Comanche PA-24-260 Questions

Explore answers to questions about the Piper Comanche PA-24-260.

What Is The Purpose Of A Monocoque Structure In Aviation?

In aviation, a monocoque structure is a design that uses the aircraft’s outer skin to support most, if not all, of the aircraft’s structural loads. Monocoque is French for “single shell” or “hull”. Monocoque structures are strong and light – making them ideal for aircraft to increase their strength-to-weight ratios, aerodynamic performance, and enhanced fuel efficiency.

How Many World Records Does The Comanche PA-24-260 Have?

Piper’s Comanche 250/260 variants have achieved several remarkable world records:

  • Max Conrad flew nonstop from Casablanca, Morocco to Los Angeles in June 1959, setting a distance record of 7,668 miles in a Comanche. He also flew a Comanche 180 on another record-breaking distance flight from Casablanca to El Paso, Texas (6,966 miles) nonstop. Additionally, he set a closed-circuit distance record of 6,921 miles in the same aircraft in 1960.
  • Kenneth Walker made the first-ever solo single-engine crossing of the Pacific and the third solo flight from the United States to Australia on May 14, 1962, in a Comanche.
  • In July 1964, Henry Ohye flew a 1961 PA-24-250 Comanche from Los Angeles to Tokyo, making stops in Honolulu, Midway, Wake, Guam, and Okinawa. This was the first successful trans-Pacific flight in a single-engine aircraft from the United States to Japan.
  • A 1966 Comanche 260B named “Myth Too,” flown by English aviator Sheila Scott, holds 90 world records in light aviation. This aircraft is displayed at the National Museum of Flight in Scotland.
  • At age 82 in 1994, Fred Lasby became the oldest pilot on record to circumnavigate the globe in a Comanche 260B.

How Much Does A Pre-Owned Comanche PA-24-260 Cost?

The average price of a pre-owned Piper Comanche PA-24-250 is about $82,838.

What Is The Difference Between The Comanche 180 & 250?

The 180 and 250 Comanche airframes are the same, however, there’s a Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) to upgrade the 180 to the larger engine. Keep in mind that the 250 has a significantly higher gross weight of 2,800 lbs. versus 2,550 lbs. for the 180.

What Engine Does A Comanche 250 Use?

A 250-horsepower Lycoming O-540-A engine powers the Piper Comanche PA-24-250. Its 6-cylinder 250 horsepower engine is equipped with a geared starter, 50 AMP 12V generator, vacuum pump drive, carburetor air box, and filter. The exhaust gases go through a manifold that has a stainless steel muffler and a shroud that provides heat for the cabin and carburetor. The engine cooling system works without the usual cowl flaps, exhaust augmenters, or other drag-inducing components.

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