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Piper Archer


piper archerArchers, which were simply renamed Cherokee 180s, debuted in 1974, and made their entry wearing the old Hershey Bar wings. They differed from the Warrior not just in the horsepower department, but also in size. In 1973 the airplane was given a five-inch fuselage stretch; a bigger door, cabin, and stabilator area; a new version of the O-360; a 50-pound gross weight increase; and an instrument panel redesign. Like the Warrior, airplanes in the 1974 model year were first called Challengers.

In 1976 the wing planform was tapered and the aircraft were renamed Archer IIs. Archer manuals proclaim maximum cruise speeds in the 125-kt range at 75-percent power — about the same as the Warrior II's — but Archers have maximum gross weights 225 pounds greater.

Let's just say this up front: Archers aren't speed demons. Realistically, you'll get maximum true airspeeds of 120 kt or so from an Archer. Fuel burns at these settings will be approximately 10.5 gph. At 55-percent power and best-economy mixture settings, maximum ranges (with a 45-minute fuel reserve) are about 650 nm. Of course, if you fly at those power settings you'll lop 15 to 20 kt off your maximum cruise speed potential. At 75-percent power and optimum altitudes, ranges drop to 550 nm or so.

Useful loads vary with each airplane, of course, but Piper and The New Piper give maximum useful load figures of approximately 980 pounds for the Archer. Consequently, payloads with full fuel run about 700 to 800 pounds — not bad. Fill the tanks to the tabs (the 17-gallon mark in each wing tank) and your useful load jumps to approximately 775 to 886 pounds. Enough to take a spouse and kids on a 300-nm trip, say.

The Archers are tame, docile creatures with unremarkable handling characteristics. The stall is almost a nonevent, and these airplanes take a lot of provoking to spin. Many pilots feel that Archers are easy airplanes to consistently land well. They handle crosswinds with minimal fuss and minimal footwork, and make you look good in front of passengers and airport gawkers alike.

Performance Summary

The airplane is a four-place, low wing, single engine airplane equipped with fixed tricycle landing gear, having a steerable nose wheel and two main wheels. The basic airframe, except for a tubular steel engine mount, steel landing gear struts, and other miscellaneous parts is of aluminum alloy construction.
This airplane is certificated in the normal and utility category. In the normal category all aerobatic maneuvers including spins are prohibited. In the utility category certain maneuvers as per the aircraft’s POH are permitted. The aircraft is approved for day and night VFR/IFR when equipped in accordance with F.A.R. 91 or F.A.R. 135.

The engine is a Lycoming Model O-360-A4A and is rated at 180 horsepower at 2700 RPM. It is a four-cylinder, normally aspirated, direct drive, air-cooled, horizontally opposed, carburetor equipped engine. Major accessories include a starter at 60-amps, 14-volt alternator, a shielded ignition, vacuum pump drive, fuel pump, and a dry, automotive type carburetor air filter.

Fuel is stored in two twenty-five gallon tanks, which are secured to the leading edge structure of each wing by screws and nut plates. An auxiliary electric fuel pump is provided for use in case of failure of the engine driven pump. Fuel quantity and pressure are indicated on gauges located in the engine gauge cluster on the instrument panel.

The electrical system includes a 14-volt, 60-amp alternator, a 12-volt battery, a voltage regulator, an overvoltage relay and a master switch relay.


  1974 Piper Cherokee Archer PA-28-180 1977 Piper Cherokee Archer II
2007 Piper Cherokee Archer III
Model Lyc. O-360-A4A Lyc. O-360-A4A Lyc. O-360-A4M
No. Cylinders 4 4 4
Displacement 361 cu. in. 361 cu. in. 361 cu. in.
HP 180 180 180
Carbureted Or Fuel Injected Carbureted Carbureted Carbureted
Fixed Pitch/ Constant Speed Propeller Fixed Pitch Fixed Pitch Fixed Pitch
Fuel Capacity 50 gallons 50 gallons 50 gallons
Min. Octane Fuel 100 100 100
Avg. Fuel Burn at 75% power in standard conditions per hour Unknown 8.8-10.5 gallons Unknown
Weights and Capacities:      
Takeoff/Landing Weight Normal Category 2,450 lbs. 2,550 lbs. 2,550 lbs.
Takeoff/Landing Weight Utility Category 1,950 lbs. 2,130 lbs. 2,130 lbs.
Standard Empty Weight 1,404 lbs. 1,416 lbs. 1,680 lbs.
Max. Useful Load Normal Category 1,046 lbs. 1,134 lbs. 870 lbs.
Max. Useful Load Utility Category 546 lbs. 714 lbs. 450 lbs
Baggage Capacity 200 lbs. 200 lbs. 200 lbs.
Oil Capacity 8 quarts 8 quarts 8 quarts
Do Not Exceed Speed 148 KCAS 148 KCAS 148 KCAS
Max. Structural Cruising Speed 121 KCAS 121 KCAS 121 KCAS
Stall Speed Clean 59 KCAS 55 Knots Unknown
Stall Speed Landing Configuration 53 KCAS 49 Knots 45 KIAS
Climb Best Rate 725 FPM 735 FPM Unknown
Wing Loading 14.4 lbs./sq. ft. 15 lbs./sq. ft. Unknown
Power Loading 13.6 lbs./hp 14.2 lbs./hp. Unknown
Service Ceiling 14,150 ft. 13,650 ft. 14,100