Piper Aircraft

Piper Aircraft began fine-tuning a more aerodynamic aircraft design in the early 1920s. Made popular by the Spirit of St. Louis, their initial monoplane with less drag made the first successful non-stop transatlantic flight. After seeing it capable of flying from New York to Paris across the Atlantic, everyone wanted to try its design and copy its success. Gordon and C. Gilbert Taylor teamed up 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” killed Gilbert’s brother, Gordon in an accident. Following the loss of his brother, Gilbert went on to revamp the Taylor Brothers Aircraft Company — refinancing it with local money. This change also inspired a new move to Bradford, Pennsylvania with dreams of rebuilding the aviation corporation. Even so, the Great Depression hit and caused the business to fail. Gilbert eventually filed for bankruptcy, causing William T. Piper to see an opportunity to take over the business. And so he did by purchasing all of its remaining assets for $761.

After reorganizing the company in its Bradford factory, it was renamed Taylor Aircraft Company. However, a factory fire caused the warehouse to burn down in 1937, prompting Piper to relocate to Lock Haven, Pennsylvania. Combined with the new move, the company was once again renamed Piper Aircraft Corporation.

Piper Aircraft is known for naming aircraft after Native American groups like Cherokee, Apache, etc. Furthermore, it’s known for producing private, business, and flight training aircraft. After 1972 Hurricane Agnes dumped 9 inches of rain on central Pennsylvania, floodwaters left Piper’s Lock Haven location destroyed. The entire facility, several fully produced aircraft, and all design and engineering work were lost and well beyond repair. Current headquarters are located at Vero Beach Regional Airport in Florida.

  • 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-24-260

The following are statistics for Piper’s 1972 PA-24-260 Comanche.

  • Maximum Speed: 178 kts
  • Maximum Range: 625 nm
  • Maximum Occupants: 4
  • Range Of Years Manufactured: 1965–1972
  • Total Aircraft Build: 1,029
  • Current Operational Aircraft: Unknown
  • Useful Load: 1,427 lbs
  • Average Sale Value: $138,679

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Piper Comanche PA-24-260 Details

Below are descriptions for Piper’s 1972 Comanche.

Piper Comanche


The Comanche’s interior features upholstered seating for up to 6 in tough Naugahyde or leather. Each seat is individually reclinable for enhanced comfort. Other features include styled wood grain trim, 68 custom color combinations, and Piper’s SportsPower console.


The Comanche is known for its low-wing, all-metal monoplane design with tricycle retractable landing gear. Newly designed cowl treatments gave the Comanche its updated “tiger shark” style – both sleek and functional as it and its extended prop shaft help maintain its center of gravity range.


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

Piper Comanche PA-24-260

  • S-Tec 50 Autopilot with Alt-Hold and Localizer Coupling
  • Terra TMA-340 Audio Panel
  • Collins Microline 251/351 Nav-Com #1 (Glideslope)
  • Collins Microline 251/351 Nav-Com #2
  • King KT-76A Transponder
  • King KR-86 ADF
  • Narco DME-190
  • Northstar M1 Loran
  • JPI EDM-800 Graphic Engine Monitor
  • Hoskins CFS-1000 Fuel Management
  • True Airspeed Indicator


  • Configuration: Single Engine, Piston, Retractable Gear
  • Range: 625 nm
  • Takeoff Run: 760 ft.
  • Landing Roll 925 ft.
  • Wing Span: 36 ft.
  • Length: 25 ft. 4 in.
  • Height: 7 ft. 6 in.
  • Take-Off (50 ft.): 1,400 ft.
  • Max Seats: 6
  • Max Takeoff Weight: 3,100 lbs.
  • Cruise: 157 kts

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 Johnson bar actuator as the Piper Cherokee. The base price for a brand new, standard Comanche 180 aircraft was anywhere 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, as compared to other 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-hp 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.


This single Comanche was 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

The following are answers to several FAQs regarding the Piper Comanche PA-24-260.

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

Piper’s Comanche 260 has quite a few world records under its belt. Most noteworthy records include:

  • Max Conrad. Flew nonstop in June 1959 from Casablanca, Morocco, to Los Angeles – a distance record of 7,668 miles. He also flew a Comanche 180 on another distance-record flight in FAI C1-C Class for aircraft taking off at weights from 2,204 lbs. to less than 3,858 lbs. that still stands. Conrad flew from Casablanca to El Paso, Texas (6,966 miles) nonstop – a distance of 6,967 miles in 56 hours 26 minutes. He also set a closed-circuit distance record in the same aircraft in 1960, flying 6,921 miles.
  • Kenneth Walker. The first-ever solo single-engine crossing of the Pacific and the third solo crossing from the US to Australia on 14 May 1962.
  • Toku-Hana. Flying a 1961 PA-24-250 in July 1964, Henry Ohye made the first successful trans-Pacific flight from the United States to Japan in a single-engined aircraft. He flew from Los Angeles to Tokyo making stops in Honolulu, Midway, Wake, Guam, and Okinawa.
  • Myth Too. A 1966 Comanche 260B, named Myth Too flown by English aviator Sheila Scott, holds 90 world-class light aviation records. This aircraft is on public display at the National Museum of Flight, Scotland.
  • Fred Lasby. At the age of 82 in 1994, Lasby was the oldest pilot on record to circumnavigate in a Comanche 260B.

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

Depending on the age, condition, and several other factors, you may find a pre-owned Comanche PA-24-260 for about $125,000.

Is The Comanche PA-24-260 Turbocharged?

4 total versions of the Comanche 260 were introduced by 1965, but only 1 would ever be turbocharged – the PA-24-260TC. Piper’s 260TC was introduced in 1970 using a Rajay turbocharger.

  • PA-24-260 (1965)
  • PA-24-260B (1966 to 1968)
  • PA-24-260C (1969 to 1972)
  • PA-24-260TC

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