Sunday, January 29, 2012

N24MT- Our "new" Piper Lance

Well, I felt that I had put sufficient time on the Viking getting the complex and high performance experience that I needed to bring the insurance price down to earth.    One call to my insurance guy confirmed that it was doable.  For some reason Cessna 210's were still on the expensive side when it came to their insurance cost.  After looking at a couple of different makes and models I decided on a 1977 Piper Lance that was being sold by some CEO defense contractor out of Virginia.  However, lucky for me, the airplane was located closer in Sturgis, MI.  It was at Bartelt Aviation which was an FBO/Broker in Sturgis and claims to be the Saratoga experts.  Well John Bartelt, the owner, certainly was as good as they come.  He made the purchase of this aircraft as easy and as smooth as possible.  John had this 1977 Piper Lance in his inventory for sale as he was brokering the deal for the owner in Virginia.  In fact, Bartelt had sold this very plane to that owner some time in the past.  Apparently, this owner had a couple of kids in college which was sucking all his AvGas money.  So, the owner decided to sell the plane until his college bills were no more.  Lucky for me I was in the market and this plane had everything I was looking for and quite a bit of upgrades to boot.

The Piper Lance performance specs were good.  Not as quick as a Cessna 210 or Beech A36, but had a better useful load and plenty of room.  This airplane allows me to carry my entire family and plenty of baggage.  Not to mention that I could currently carry a full fuel load.  I suspect that in years to come I might have to sacrifice some fuel for the growing kids, but for now I got my cake and eating it too!  Below are the performance specs for the Lance as published by Rising up aviation:

Piper Lance PA32R-300 Performance Data
Here she is

  • Horsepower: 300 Continuous
  • Top Speed:  165 Kts
  • Cruise speed (75% power): 155Kts
  • Stall Speed (dirty): 61 Kts
  • Average Range: 748 nm
  • Gross Weight: 3600 lbs
  • Useful load: 1968 lbs
  • Fuel capacity: 98 gal
  • Usable fuel load: 94 gal

Takeoff Performance
  • Ground Roll: 1450 ft
  • Over 50 ft obstacle: 2360 ft
  • Average climb: 1000 fpm
  • Ceiling: 15400 ft
Landing Performance
  • Ground Roll: 880 ft
  • Over 50 ft obstacle: 1710 ft

This plane had everything a growing boy needed in a airplane.  The previous owner spared no expense on upgrades to this aircraft.  N24MT had a factory re manufactured IO 540 Lycoming with roller tappet conversion.  It only had 400 hours on the engine.  The panel sported Com/Nav 1 of a Garmin GNS 430 which I later upgraded to the GNS 430W.  You never know when you might need to do a WAAS approach, you know.  COM/NAV 2 had a Apollo (now Garmin) SL-30.  Nav1 is coupled to the HSI which has a slaved compass.  Audio panel was an Apollo (now Garmin) SL-15.  I had six headset intercom and input jacks for ipods, XM radio, and cell phones.  The pilot and co-pilot had optional Bose jacks installed.  The autopilot was coupled to the glideslope and altitude hold.  LOVE IT.  It is also coupled to NAV one and will follow the GPS or NAV track.

The plane also had the Turn coordinator replaced with an electric back up Attitude indicator with slip coordinator.  Insight engine monitor and JPI 450 fuel scanner also installed.  The plane also had The Apollo MX20 Multi-function display.  The transponder was the Garmin GTX330 with TIS traffic enabled and displayed on both the MX20 and the 430W.  Both Nav1 and 2 have glideslopes.  It also had a brand new 406 ELT installed recently.  The airplane also has a 3M WX-10 Stormscope which works great.

The plane also had a bunch of Lopresti speed mods including wheel spats, gap seals for all control surfaces, Wing tip zips with wing tip strobes and wing tip landing lights.  Sorry, no Lopresti Howl cowl.  I'll be damned if I am going to spending 35,000 on one either. Come on, for a piece of fiber glass, are they crazy?

If I could change one thing about this plane.  It would be to put a 3 bladed hartzell prop on it, but for now it has all I need.

Oh, I almost forgot.  It has Air Conditioning.  Not that I need that much around where I live, but I do plan to fly down to Florida some time to see family.  Down there it is a great option.  I remember sweating the family jewels off training in Tampa.

The following are some pictures of 24MT

Lopresti wing tip zips

Club seating configuration

Dual Rosen visors

Needless to say we love the airplane and could see it being a part of the family for years to come, so long as I need the seats.

Bartelt aviation had one of their pilots bring the airplane to me and then checked me out in it.  I then flew him back to Sturgis, MI with my friend Jim who is an instrument rated CFI.  Since I was instrument rated yet, that way we could go IFR there and back.  The trip was great, unfortunately the SD card in my Droid phone crapped out and I lost all the photos.  Man!!!! was I pissed.  Anyways, we made it there and back the same day.  Bartelts pilot also threw in a biannual for me even though I was not due.  That was nice of him.

Well the adventures continue.  Thank you for reading.  Feel free to Join and/or follow my blog.


  1. Dave,

    Looks like a sweet ride, a real "go someplace" airplane. Sturgis, MI is 6 mi SE of where I learned to fly. Oddly, I think I've landed there exactly once, probably on my second or third lesson.

    1. Thanks Chris,
      We are planning a trip to FL soon. Small world on where you trained. Flying makes it that much smaller. I will be planning a trip to buffalo sometime to see an old Navy buddy of mine. I guess that is out in your neck of the woods.

    2. Dave - Yup! Home base is 30 nautical east of KBUF.

  2. Replies
    1. Hey Geoff,

      I don't know if you saw my last question to you about Cecil Field. Have you ever flown in there since it went public. I spent years there working on Navy Jets but the only ones that got to fly in and out of there were the Navy Jocks. I am going to find some real sick pleasure out of flying in there when I go down to FL. Anyways, Thanks again for the complements on 24MT.


  3. Dave,
    It looks like its been a year since you purchased the Lance... How has it worked out for you? What kinds of speeds and fuel burns are you seeing? Has maintenance been fairly easy on the lance? I owned a fixed gear turbo Saratoga before the recession. I'd like to get another plane and the lance seems to have a lot of bang for the buck. Any advice would be appreciated... also how is your insurance cost. I have lots of PA-32 time, and rated Multi Engine but only something like 35 hours of retract.
    Todd (Seattle)


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