Piper Cherokee Six

10 Replies

Piper Cherokee Six

Posted by Thomas Wiedenbeck on Jan 22, 2018 7:18 pm

I am interested in any feed back from owners of Piper Cherokee Six aircraft.  Any mantanance issues, engine reliability, typical curse speeds, fuel consumption, annual costs, typical insurance costs and any other insights you can offer.  I currently fly a Piper Cherokee 140 and am considering an upgrade.
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Re: Piper Cherokee Six

Posted by Keith Diamond on Jan 29, 2018 9:51 am

Howdy-  while I don’t have a tremendous amount of time with my 1979 C6, I can help with of your questions.  I am an under 100hr pilot so my numbers could be way different than what you are going to see.

Hourly costs are coming out around 125 per hour NOT including the acquisition of the plane.  That’s with avgas at about $4.  My insurance until I get to 100 hours is 2800py and they required 10 hours with and sign off from a CFI for model.  It should drop to 2600 when I get to 100 hours in a few weeks.  

The annual just completed Jan 3 was 5k including tires, engine particle blast and epoxy (corrosion) and a new vacuum pump ($400).    The prior year annual had the fuel tank SB and some other large items and come out to around 10-12k as I was told. I didn’t pay for that one.  

So far I have been able to cruise ROP as per the power chart at 13.8gph consistent and that gets me about 139kts tas.  I like to cruise a little higher when I can- about 8500-9500ft and 65% hp at 13.8 fits nicely with WOT and about 2200rpm.  This is with speed pants, hoerner tips, root fairings, gaps seals, one piece windshield.    YMMV.   I am planning on a JPI-930 asap to start running lean of peak which may need GAMI injectors ($850)and maybe next year will look into electronic ignition for around $6000.  The io-540 is a beast and needs to handled with a lot of respect.    I can climb out on cold days at 1300fpm or more depending.   Interesting to me right away was the procedure of backing down the MP at only 500ft.   This is after training where the throttle is pretty much wide open all day and has a prayer or two along with it to get the distance and climb needed off the tarmac.    Seemed foreign to me but it works well.

Landing is typical Cherokee- will drop FAST if you don’t leave enough power in and you need to leave it in longer than most others.   I am not full off on the throttle until right before the flare.   Within 10-12 landings I put a few down where you could hardly tell if the tires were on the ground yet.

Very well behaved aircraft- can carry multiple adults in comfort with enough fuel for 3-4 hours easy.  Very happy with my acquisition.   I am 6’2” and the extra pilot room is a must as well as toting around a family of five- the PA-32 fits the mission perfectly.    

Re: Piper Cherokee Six

Posted by Stan Vanderwerf on Jan 29, 2018 11:48 am

Keith, Good morning. Regarding your Cherokee Six question, I have a Piper Lance, essentially the same airplane except with retractable gear. I think my Lance is an outstanding airplane. Great payload, range, and reasonable speed at 155kts. The engine, an IO-540 went 2400 hours before I overhauled it last year. The IO-540 is a good engine and is in widespread use for both aviation and non-aviation purposes (like Florida airboats, etc).  I have over 2,000 hours with no accidents or incidents so my insurance is under $1,200 a year. There are very few ADs and compliance for those is not expensive. When nothing is found at an annual, this costs under $2,500. However, with an old airplane, sometimes something big is found. My biggest was that my fuel tanks needed to be re-sealed. This was $8K approximately. Other than my engine overhaul, this was the biggest single repair in the decade I've owned the airplane. 

​Handling is excellent. A super IFR platform. I have had full fuel and all 6 seats filled and been below weight limits. Of course, this depends on the weight of the passengers. I can also lean back to approx 13.5 gph. I live at a high altitude airport (over 6,000 MSL) and with full fuel and just myself, still obtain over a 1,000fpm rate of climb on a cold day. This is possible with a low time (not high time) engine.  

​I highly recommend an engine monitor. Installed a JPI EDM900 and I consider this an excellent investment to help retain the health of the engine. Hourly costs with 150+ hrs/yr including fixed and variable costs is approx $150/hr. Fixed costs in this case includes hanger rent which is reasonable where I live.

​Regarding landings, I stay a little high on the approach because, as you stated, the airplane is a brick without power. Landing is straight forward and very easy to squeak the wheels nearly every time. The airplane is also forgiving in crosswind landings, overall it's very versatile. Take out the rear seats and you can put bicycles in the airplane and just about anything else. The space inside is outstanding. It is also very difficult to get my Lance out of balance, especially with the forward and rear luggage compartments. 

​In a thousand hours of flying my Lance, I have had a vacuum pump failure, magneto failure, autopilot failure, replaced a cylinder (lost compression due to shock cooling from the previous owner), had a fuel injector get clogged (one cylinder would not fire, amazingly this was not noticable from any vibrations, just loss in power, clean fuel is critical due to the tiny injector nozzles), had a prop overhaul (prop timed out, no failures), lost the alternator belt in flight (make sure you are always scanning the instruments), and had a piece of the left main gear hub break off on landing (apparently a stress fracture in the hub from many years before, I promise I was sqeaking my landings) which caused a flat tire. Bottom line here: old airplanes DO have things happen to them, so think about preventative maintenance. I have replaced any and all hozes when they were old and inflexible before they broke during operations, for example. 

Hope this input helps and enjoy your Cherokee Six. The Six/Lance/Saratoga series is a great line of airplanes.

​Stan VanderWerf

Re: Piper Cherokee Six

Posted by Walter Larson on Feb 1, 2018 10:44 am

I owned a Six 300 for twenty years and almost 1000 hours in Alaska. It is a fantastic airplane. The Six is comparable to a C-207 in performance. It's like a pickup truck as it will haul close to 1000 pounds with full fuel. You can't go wrong with a good Six. My cost and fuel/speed numbers won't relate to the average plane as I had oversized tires (for beach and rough strip landings), my best friend was an A&PIA (annuals were $300-400) and insurance costs are outragous in Alaska (AOPA agency didn't even want to talk to me).  

The IO-540 is bulletproof. I only had to replace a vac pump, spark plugs and an exhaust. I had some problems with the strut seals. 

My Six had close to 10,000 hours on the airframe and with overt 2000 hours on the engine. I worried about the cost of having to replace an engine so I sold it. I now regret letting it go. I've heard that in South America it's not uncommon to run the engine to 3000 hours.

Re: Piper Cherokee Six

Posted by Walter Laird on Feb 12, 2018 10:12 am

Where are you located? We are looking for a partner in our Cherokee 6 located at HPN but would consider DXR....

Re: Piper Cherokee Six

Posted by Thomas Wiedenbeck on Feb 18, 2018 7:46 pm

Sorry I am based in the Midwest.  KLSE is the closest medium airport.

Re: Piper Cherokee Six

Posted by Jack Silverman on Feb 19, 2018 1:37 pm

 I  owned a PA 32  260 engine for 15 years it was built in 1966  Cruise speed 132 mph at 17 gallons an hour. I love the airplane easy to fly easy to Land I love the airplane easy to fly easy land.  I’ve done a new paint job for about 10 grand I did a rebuilt engine for about 10 grand.  No major squawks.  For an annual I paid anywhere from 1500 to 6000 ripped off on the 6000.  Useful load incredible.  I live in California and my insurance is around $1000 .  i used to lease  Buffalo spring station in Catalina and I brought over in my plane a lot of supplies  and equipment .  I’ve had some problem with the temperature  gage had to send it out to be repaired around $250.

Re: Piper Cherokee Six

Posted by Quinn Resnick on Jun 5, 2018 6:50 pm

I purchased a 1966 PA32-260 around 3 years ago . It's a great aircraft aircraft, with a nice useful load. I live in the Greater Atlanta area, and it serves us well for SE destinations, including the Bahamas. My insurance is around $1350 a year, with about 800 hours and an IFR rating. This is my third aircraft with Mooney, Arrow and PA28-180 time. My insurance requirements were only 3 hours. However, my comfort level and transition time from the Cherokee 180 to a Cherokee 6 was around 12 hours. This included day, night and IFR currency. 

I have read the previous posts, and noticed the pricing and maintenance costs were all over the board, but with this said, probably accurate. I would always recommend doing your own research, in your local area and resources available to you. Pricing will vary greatly, depending upon area, experience as a pilot, relationships, etc. For example, Atlanta is a larger city, and the costs are higher here, than if I were living in south Ga. I do not have the time for owner assisted annuals. The average base annual cost on my PA-32 is around $1800. I have found a few on the lower end around $1200-$1400. I feel very comfortable with my shop of choice performing the repairs on my aircraft, and everything is done properly. It's a fully licensed shop, very professional and the labor rates are $90/hr. They show all parts with explanation on any additional repairs needing to be done or recommended. I have no concerns flying in IFR or at night, not to say anything couldn't happen, at any time. I have not found any $300-$400 or $800 annuals in my area. 

Also remember, when purchasing an aircraft, it's only as good as the last mechanic. With this being said, expect a much higher cost on your first annual or so. This has happened on my last 2 aircraft purchases. Both of them also had pre-purchase inspections, and the annuals were not gentle. The first annual on the PA32-260, was around $11K. There are some things that were not picked up during the inspection. Some pilots consider optional items, as items not needing to be addressed. Personally, I do not consider optional items as optional, with the exception of the overhead speaker. Some optional items are airworthiness items in the future. 

However, I am very happy with the plane in general. There are days, I would rather go faster or higher, but it all comes as a cost. It's a great aircraft for the money. There is plenty of passenger room, and can go from north Atlanta to Boca Raton without any re-fueling stops. 

Re: Piper Cherokee Six

Posted by Philip Johnson on Jun 11, 2018 10:29 am

I think we have the same model airplane down here in Columbus.  What kind of radios do you have?  Who does avionics work?


Re: Piper Cherokee Six

Posted by Christopher Buchanan on Sep 12, 2018 6:13 pm


Posted by Keith Diamond on Jan 29, 2018 9:51 am

Howdy-  while I don’t have a tremendous amount of time with my 1979 C6, I can help with of your questions.  I am an under 100hr pilot so my numbers could be way different than what you are going to see.

Hourly costs are coming out around 125 per hour NOT including the acquisition of the plane.  That’s with avgas at about $4.  My insurance until I get to 100 hours is 2800py and they required 10 hours with and sign off from a CFI for model.  It should drop to 2600 when I get to 100 hours in a few weeks.  

Hi Keith!  Chris & Lori here!  We are zero time students looking at purchasing a 6/300.  (I actually have 35 hrs in a piper 180 20 yrs ago, but can't find my log book!)  My Broker told me $4225/year for insurance, On the PA32, the carrier would need to approve the CFI. They need a high time CFI with considerable PA32 time.  You would need 25 hours dual with a CFI prior to solo and then once licensed, 10 hours solo prior to carrying passengers.

Would you mind sharing the name of your insurance company?

Re: Piper Cherokee Six

Posted by Keith Diamond on Sep 14, 2018 9:25 pm

I use avemco and once licensed had similar requirements.   I had 80-ish hours when I bought mine.   

Trust me on this-   Buy the PA-32 now if it’s a good deal- TRAIN WITH A TRAINING PLANE.    If not I’ll be here to say I told you so- just holler when the time comes.    It’s a lot of bird to handle for a zero timer.    Do the math as well if you think you will save money with your own plane.   The hourly cost on the pa-32 will be higher than a training bird.  Way higher once you factor in the dings and dents you will inflict.     

Sorry if that’s a downer.   Grab the plane just don’t train in it.  

Good luck-