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Piper Cherokee Arrow in Detail

n Text and photos by Kai-Mikael Jää-Aro, with additional historical background by Martin Waligorski

There is a sad lack of civilian models on our modelling tables, in particular considering that there actually are quite a few kits available out there. One of my favourites is the Airfix model of the Piper Cherokee Arrow II, which isn't a bad model at all, so I thought that the time had come to do a superdetailed Piper. As a step towards this I took the opportunity at the 2004 air days at Tullinge airfield (sadly, probably the final days of the airfield) to make a serious walkaround of a Piper.

The Piper Cherokee family

The Cherokee is the common name for Piper's PA-28 family of aircraft models, which was introduced in the early 1960s and is still under production by the New Piper Aircraft. The Cherokee has been one of the company's most successful products with over 40 variants. It has been widely used for general aviation and pilot training around the world.

The initial PA-28-150 and PA-28-160 Cherokees were introduced in 1961, intended as replacements for the older PA-22 TriPacer and Colt models. Unlike the PA-22 series, the new aircraft was of low wing design and metal construction throughout, featuring a streamlined fuselage which provided room for two pilots and two passengers in side-by-side arrangement.

The Cherokee proved to have excellent flying characteristics. Control response was reassuringly slow and predictable, systems were simple, and the aircraft almost impossible to stall.

Piper has proven to be masters in adapting the same basic airframe to a variety of models, installing engines ranging from 140 to 235 hp, fixed or retractable landing gear, fixed or constant speed propellers, extended wingtips and even turbocharging.


Following the first two production models, the long-span 235 hp Lycoming-powered Cherokee 235 was introduced in 1963 initiating the high-end series of the Cherokee. The two seat trainer PA-28-140 entered the marketplace in 1964.

Subsequent variants were the Cherokee -180B, -180C and -180D models, the PA-28-235C, PA-28-140 Flite Liner two-seat trainer, PA-28-180F, PA-28-235E, PA-28-180 Cherokee Archer and PA-28-235 Cherokee Pathfinder.

The PA-28-180D model was also modified with retractable landing gear, giving birth to the PA-28R Cherokee Arrow series.  PA-28-180 Cherokee Challenger and PA-28-235 Cherokee Charger introduced a longer fuselage stretched by some 5 inches and enlarged tail. Both these features were subsequently adopted in PA-28R-200 Cherokee Arrow II production.

All early production models had a rectangular wing popularly referred to as "Hershey Bar". This was changed with PA-28-151 Cherokee Warrior which introduced a revised wing with tapered outboard section, also adopted for all subsequent variants: PA-28-181 Cherokee Archer II and PA-28R-201 Arrow III, PA-28-236 Dakota, the PA-28-161 Warrior II, PA-28-201T Turbo Dakota and PA-28-161 Cadet.

By the beginning of 1980s, Piper went into serious financial troubles which eventually lead to its bankruptcy. Among the few final models were the PA-28RT-201 and -201T Arrow IV with a new all moving T-tail.

New Piper returned the Archer II, Arrow and Dakota to low-rate production in 1994. By then the Cherokee family name had been dropped so that the "new" models were officially just called Archer, Arrow, Warrior and Dakota. Archer II was followed in 1995 by the PA-28-181 Archer III, which featured a new, streamlined cowling. Similarly, the the PA-28-161 Warrior III, replaced the previous Warrior model. Archer III, Arrow III and Warrior III are still in production today.

The depicted subject, SE-GVA, is a PA-28R-201 Piper Cherokee Arrow III. The difference against the Arrow II is that the III has the new enlarged wing, but the rest of the aircraft is, as far as I can tell, identical between the two marks.

(Due to the number of images the material has been split into parts to facilitate faster downloads - Ed.)

Piper PA-28R-201 Arrow III in detail

Piper Cherokee Arrow in Detail: Part 1

Piper Cherokee Arrow in Detail: Part 2

Piper Cherokee Arrow in Detail: Part 3



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