There seems to be an aircraft for every type of buyer when you’re looking at Piper Aircraft productions. Whether you’re looking for a completely private flight experience, a business jet for your professional travels, or a trainer aircraft for effective learning, Piper is a trusted name in the aviation industry.
Piper is truly well-known for several standout differentiators including its use of Native American names for its products and its vintage Hershey bar wing design. But for Piper Aircraft, there’s something special about its Warrior series that continues to fascinate pilots and aviation enthusiasts alike.
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Piper Aircraft Warrior Series History
Before diving into Piper’s first 1974 Warrior, it’s important to take a brief look at its history to see how far they’ve come over the last 96 years.
Starting Piper Aircraft Inc.
Before Piper Aircraft existed, there was the Taylor Brothers Aircraft Manufacturing Company, established in the fall of 1927 just before the Great Depression. Founded by two brothers, Clarence G. Taylor and Gordon A. Taylor of Rochester, New York, the name quickly became synonymous with features like the “Hershey bar wing” and its series of aircraft that use names of legendary Native American tribes like the Warrior, Cherokee, and Comanche.
Yet, Piper Aircraft’s success wasn’t immediate. As we’re able to look back almost 100 years later, Piper Aircraft is no stranger to a slew of unfortunate events including the death of Gordon Taylor in 1928 and several bankruptcies. Nevertheless, Piper Aircraft holds its own in aviation history as having one of the most mass-produced American planes during World War II – the Piper Cub.
Ignited by an influential speech given by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Piper Aircraft took its patriotic place in U.S. history producing a total of 14,125 Piper Cubs between 1939 and 1947. Piper’s popularity would influence many pre and post-war pilots as 75% of U.S. World War II pilots trained in Piper Cubs.
Following the war, Piper aircraft became available in surplus and on the market for extremely low prices. This was a huge benefit for the farming industry which needed a faster and more efficient way to apply pesticides to their crops. Outside of the farming industry, non-military buyers became excited to purchase a “warplane” of their own and have a small part in World War II’s history.
Piper Aircraft is most recently part of Textron’s big 3 aviation companies, which also includes Beechcraft and Cessna.
RELATED: Piper Warrior II & III PA28 161
Developing The Warrior
Piper’s early Hershey bar design ceased appearing in its aircraft in the 1970s. Still, it’s thought of as an important element in Piper’s history. Because of what engineers learned from the failures of its Hershey-style wing, they were able to move forward with a sleek new design for a smoother overall performance.
Following poor Cherokee sales, Piper welcomed the first Warrior in 1974. Its largest difference in appearance? Its new, longer, semi-tapered wing design with a higher aspect ratio assisted with handling, climb rate, and lighter roll control forces. Powered by a 150-HP Lycoming O-320-E3D engine, the Warrior is actually Cherokee’s 150 design reintroduced with the Archer’s stretched body and reimagined look.
Even so, the Warrior was not meant to replace the Cherokee. Instead, it was meant to compete as a true 2×2 seater plane against Cessna’s Skyhawk 172 – which was seeing record sales. From Piper’s initial Warrior, another type of O-320 engine, the -D3G, was added to create Warrior II in 1977.
Other noteworthy updates made throughout the Warrior’s production include:
- Weight and balance adjustments
- Removal of its rear seat battery to the front of the firewall
- More streamlined wheel fairings or “pants”
In other words, producing the Warrior series meant that Piper Aircraft was ready to go head-to-head with one of the fastest single-engine aircraft on the market. And it did, producing its next model, the Warrior III, from 1995 to 2017.
The Public’s Feedback On Piper Aircraft’s Warrior Series
Pilots’ responses to the Warrior series throughout the years is mixed with mostly positive feedback. Pros and cons, of course, depend on the exact year and model.
Warrior Series Pros
Among a few necessary upgrades, pilots and pilots-in-training enjoy the Warrior’s range. With a generous 50-gallon fuel load and burning 7.5 to 10 GPH at cruise speed, you can get about 4 to 6 hours of flight time.
Later variations are said to be fairly comfortable and equipped with adjustable seating. Ventilation inside of the cabin is plentiful but can cause chills in the wintertime. Depending on the expected weight, there is more storage room than that of the typical Skyhawk and Cheetah, taking a full structural load of 200 lbs. Additionally, the Warrior’s manual flap system and parking brake are said to be sturdy and reliable.
Warrior Series Cons
There are Warrior owners who say that it doesn’t reach its claimed speed of 127 knots, especially if you’re carrying a full load. Plus, the Warrior’s 150-HP variation has an extremely slow climb rate and can experience runway issues depending on the runway’s structure and condition.
When it comes to the Warrior’s interior, there are reports of malfunctioning seat systems. It can also be a bit difficult to get comfortable as there is only one entry door. Its rear windows cannot be opened in an emergency – which becomes a safety concern. To address ventilation chill during the colder months, the pilot can tape up the exterior air inlet on the tail.
A Fast Way To Compare & Analyze Warrior Models Online
Since Piper’s Warrior series is no longer in production, your best chance of finding an airworthy Warrior is by searching the open market. Wondering about how much it costs to purchase a Warrior?
Here are a few VREF estimated retail values to give you an idea of how much buying a Warrior will set you back:
- 2017 Warrior III PA-28-161: $377,339
- 1995 Warrior III PA-28-161: $99,227
- 1985 Warrior II PA-28-161: $72,673
- 1977 Warrior I PA-28-151: $54,632
VREF Online has in-depth data for thousands of single-engine aircraft, helicopters, business jets, and beyond. You can even compare various models, including those of Piper’s most popular competitors like Cessna’s 150, 172, and 182 series, and Mooney’s M20 series.
Interested in viewing Warrior specifications, data by year, and more? Join VREF Online today.