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 Post subject: Re: The Piper Aztec/Apache thread
PostPosted: 18 Nov 2020, 14:18 
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Joined: 12/16/09
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Location: Snohomish, WA
Aircraft: PA-27T
Oil cooler mod?

Details? Is it discussed in this thread and i've missed it? I'd like to find some more speed.

Mark


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 Post subject: Re: The Piper Aztec/Apache thread
PostPosted: 18 Nov 2020, 14:29 
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Aircraft: C180
Username Protected wrote:
Oil cooler mod?

Details? Is it discussed in this thread and i've missed it? I'd like to find some more speed.

Mark



Early here he mentioned a turbo model intercooler on a NA Aztec? My left engine is a good 15 deg warmer than the right. I often have to leave the cowl cracked open on that side.
Edit it was on his website
https://motoplaneparts.com/piper/


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 Post subject: Re: The Piper Aztec/Apache thread
PostPosted: 22 Nov 2020, 19:24 
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Location: Holland Airpark, WI
Aircraft: '64 D95A Travel Air
Brand new 1969 Piper Turbo Aztec D. It had full de-ice, built in O2, and a RCA AVQ-46 radar. I was only 12 years old in this picture back in November 1969. My uncle flew this for an engraving company out of LSE. They had sold their 1958 Beech 95 Travel Air and ordered this through the Piper dealer, Viking Aviation. I remember going up to 20,000 ft one time, using the onboard O2, but I was too young to know anymore of the particulars. The Aztec would be sold a few years later in favor of a MU-2. Later I got to fly an E and F model. Great flying airplanes and they will always have a special place in my heart.

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1968 Piper Aztec 01.jpg


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 Post subject: Re: The Piper Aztec/Apache thread
PostPosted: 22 Nov 2020, 22:50 
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Joined: 01/19/16
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Location: 13FA Earle Airpark FL/0A7 Hville NC
Aircraft: E33/152A/OV10/23-180
PA 23 water contamination in fuel issues

The Apaches seem to have more problems with water contamination but the Aztecs certainly have their share. The fuel cap access doors are not water tight even with good gaskets but most have deteriorated gaskets. (We should get together for a group buy and have Guy G. produce a better gasket)-they are all the same except for the early Apaches and of course the door was eliminated on the F Model that utilized a modern flush cap similar to the later Beech models. The Apaches can be modified by installing the taller filler necks from any pre F Aztec.

The old rubber thermos bottle type caps do not seal well even when new. The rubber hardens with age and then they don’t seal at all. The cap has a vent hole through the center of the shaft and water can enter there too. The problem with the Apache is that they have a slightly different filler neck and drain scupper geometry. If the aircraft struts are not level or if it is on uneven ground then the water level in the scupper will overflow into the tank. The scupper drains double as the fuel displacement vent that is pressurized utilizing a 1/2 diameter ram air tube on the bottom of the wing. If you ever have fuel loss in flight from the cap or if you ever see a collapsed bladder then it is likely clogged. I have not heard of an engine quit from a clogged vent but I would not discount that possibility. You can check them by blowing in it from the bottom or allowing some fuel to drain through the scupper. Of course if it is clogged with a mud dauber nest then all of the rain water or melting snow will seep through the access door, fill the scupper and then run directly into the tank either around the cap or through the vent hole.

The real problem with stock Apache/Aztec models is the water can not be drained from the aft inboard corner of any of the tanks-for some crazy reason Piper never thought it was necessary. There is only one nipple in the bladder and it is for the main feed finger screen and it is above and slightly forward of the low point. In cold weather it is not uncommon to have a pretty large triangle shaped piece of ice visible floating on the surface. At one point Piper came out with an AD that required installation of a wedge in the low corner inside the tank bay between the bladder of all four tanks. It was a poor design that caused more water retention with the large wrinkles induced in the bottom of the bladder. It does not help that the fuel strainer reservoir volume is much less than the amount of the non drainable accumulation that can be and usually is pure water. If flying in chop there is usually enough water to overwhelm the small strainer reservoir.

Early in my career of parting out mostly flown in derelict twins I purchased an old Apache. I did everything I could to get all of the water out of it-shook it, taxied it and shook it some more. I purged the fuel system, drained the carb bowls, drained the strainers and pressure crossfeed line and opened the electric pumps to try to get all of the water out. I kept getting more but finally thought I got it all. Flying it home across a large national forest with nowhere to land one engine quit. I suspected it was due to water and was worried about the other side as it was intermittently sputtering. I let the dead engine windmill while descending. I moved the throttle back and forth rapidly for a couple of minutes and it finally caught. (The accelerator pump was tapping the water in the bottom of the carb bowl). As soon as it came back up to power the other quit and I had to repeat the process. Had I feathered it I would have been in the trees.

After that incident I developed a method using a length of clear tubing tywrapped to a malleable rod. I used it to siphon the water from the bottom corner of the bladders through the filler cap.

Many of the aircraft that I ferried home had corroded aluminum lines, split lines from water freezing, fuel strainer upper housings split from freezing, corroded throttle bodies, collapsed carb floats from being frozen, corroded boost pumps, stuck fuel selectors, corroded crossfeed drains etc. it seemed that many owners typically tried to run them and then took a slug of water through the fuel systems then left them that way to get thoroughly ruined.

About 25 years ago I sold some cut wing sections with fuel bays and core cells in them to Karl Hartwig of Eagle Fuel Cells to pattern new fuel cells and apply for a parts manufacturer approval. I told him about the issue and he designed and STCed the tanks with flush quick drains in the bottom corners and provided me with the first set. I would not own a PA23 without them.

Water in the fuel and resulting internal corrosion from it is one of the most serious gotchas inherent to the PA 23 design.

A very nice Geronimo that I sold before the Eagle drains were available crashed shortly after takeoff due to water contamination. I had thoroughly briefed the new owner but he still let it happen

Another of my long time parts customers got killed departing a short grass field. I picked up the salvage and later found that the Dukes 3 way fuel valve had internal corrosion and the shaft was sheared. I believe that it sheared when he selected to the full tank and did not have any way to know that he was still running from the empty tank as the single gauge gets switched along with the fuel selector. If a selector valve ever does not operate smoothly then a closer inspection is warranted.

Also don’t forget to drain and purge the crossfeed line regularly. It is the low point and frequently gets a little accumulation. The aluminum drain valve is prone to corrosion and the crossfeed valve tends to get stuck if neglected. Put a bucket under The belly and turn the fuel off on one side then run the opposite boost pump with the spring loaded drain valve open for a few seconds. Reverse the process to purge the other side. Also a good time to make sure that your drain tube is good and properly installed. Frequently mechanics neglect it when re installing the large belly access panel.


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 Post subject: Re: The Piper Aztec/Apache thread
PostPosted: 23 Nov 2020, 02:39 
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Joined: 10/30/15
Posts: 227
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Location: LFBR
Aircraft: 73 Turbo Aztec
Talking about water in the fuel there is also an issue with the tip tanks. The drain valve isn't at the lowest point there either and if there is still water in either of them at takeoff, that water will move to the corresponding outboard tank as soon as it gets a chance, eg. at rotation, with entertaining consequences. (it's been my SOP to takeoff on the inboard for that reason).

+1 on the fuel tanks gaskets; I'll definitely go for a better solution than the cork ones if I could (for the fuels senders as well, come to think of it).


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 Post subject: Re: The Piper Aztec/Apache thread
PostPosted: 23 Nov 2020, 11:08 
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Posts: 309
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Location: KFXE
I've had PA23's for twenty plus years, and PA30's. Never had a water problem. On the other hand, I do replace the door seal gaskets every two years. And the cap rubbers every 5 years. And apply DC4 to the door gaskets every month to keep them pliable, and prevent freezing in the winter. The fuel doors and caps are designed to shed water, but they can't do their job without a little bit of care.

Just general maintenance is all that is needed to keep the water out.

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 Post subject: Re: The Piper Aztec/Apache thread
PostPosted: 25 Nov 2020, 22:16 
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Joined: 09/06/13
Posts: 77
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Company: Showalter Aviation
Location: Orlando, FL
Aircraft: Piper Aztec
I stopped by BT for the first time in a few weeks tonight and what a nice surprise to see this thread! Great stories and great info on this thread, I'll gladly add what I can. My dad and I currently own a 1971 E-model, and before that owned a 1974 E-model which we purchased in 2004 soon after I got my multi rating. In early 2015, right after we had booked paint and interior slots for our '74, the '71 dropped into our laps and we immediately knew we had a good "forever airplane" candidate on our hands. She was owned by a splendid gentleman who had become ill and wanted to find her a good home. It was more of an interview than a sale. Subsequently we have overhauled both engines and done a full panel upgrade, along with all the other little things you do when you find "the one."

Attachment:
IMG_0433.JPG


She proudly wears her original scheme and colors, Avocado Green and Black, although the paint was redone to an incredibly high standard in the early 2000's by the previous owner. When I brought her home the first day my oldest son exclaimed that it "looks like a Ninja Turtle!" The name stuck, so today we enjoy family adventures in "the Turtle."

Attachment:
IMG_3802.jpg


Attachment:
IMG_3803.jpg


After the original Altimatic V-FD went abruptly into go around mode on me while sedately cruising home at 9000 feet one day (thankfully alone), complete with face melting pitch up to some imaginary command bars, we knew it was time to "finish the job" on the panel. We already had the G5 and the 750/430 in the panel, along with the JPI, and Garmin had just unveiled the GI275. So we had a new panel cut, two 275's installed, and a reconditioned Stec 55X went in. The vacuum system came out and viola, we were 120 pounds (!) lighter.

To echo some other posters on this thread, outside of the turbine stuff I fly earning a living, I feel safer in an Aztec than in any other piston airplane I've flown. I tell people it is like flying your couch. Just a sweet, docile airplane with no bad habits. Not beautiful, not particularly fast, but a wonderful blend of positive attributes. We fly ours with the right side middle seat out and it is great for my family of 4. With a 2000 lb useful load and a comically large CG envelope we never have loading challenges.

Best Aztec story? Well that belongs to my dad, who is a relief and charity flying Rockstar. After the earthquake in Haiti a generous local donor purchased an X-ray machine to send to a children's hospital on the island that was dealing with masses of extremity injuries. It arrived in a 30 foot box truck and weighed some 800 lbs. After careful disassembly and some creative finagling the whole thing went into the Aztec (this our '74 model). We had a good location based on Google maps, and one of the doctors had a satellite phone. He described a road that ran near the hospital that had a 2200 foot straightaway that was in fairly good shape, and my dad set off. After a stop in Matthew Town in the extreme southern Bahamas to tank up on 100LL the flight proceeded down to Haiti, dad found the road and landed. A truck met him and less than 12 hours later the machine was up and running. What amazing things we can do with our machines...

These really are great old airplanes, some of Piper's best work. Occasionally I will get to fly a Baron, and I always savor it's superb handling and solid feel. I spend loads of time in King Air 90's and 200's as well, and there is no denying that those products have a "feel" that the Aztec lacks. But I am never disappointed to slide into the Turtle and head off for some fun!


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 Post subject: Re: The Piper Aztec/Apache thread
PostPosted: 26 Nov 2020, 22:29 
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Location: 13FA Earle Airpark FL/0A7 Hville NC
Aircraft: E33/152A/OV10/23-180
That is one classy Aztec. Thanks for sharing. Love the correct colors and paint scheme. Just needs some curtains! I am glad to see other people appreciating and respecting them. They seem to be making a bit of a comeback. When I did mine up over the top I got laughed at for putting too much $ and sweat into it. Now there are a number of “over the top” ones out there. Good job!

Mark M.-Just looked at your Turbo F pics. That one is over the top and very tastefully done too.


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 Post subject: Re: The Piper Aztec/Apache thread
PostPosted: 29 Nov 2020, 16:31 
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Location: KSRQ KJVL
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I did NOT enjoy having elevator trim as a hand crank over your head, that was my least desirable aspect of flying an Aztec


Kind of enjoy that hand crank in my comanche

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 Post subject: Re: The Piper Aztec/Apache thread
PostPosted: 29 Nov 2020, 17:54 
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Location: Airdrie, AB
Aircraft: Cessna A185F
An autopilot with electric trim would render the crank to backup status if that was the only thing holding you back from an Aztec.


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 Post subject: Re: The Piper Aztec/Apache thread
PostPosted: 30 Nov 2020, 12:38 
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Username Protected wrote:
I did NOT enjoy having elevator trim as a hand crank over your head, that was my least desirable aspect of flying an Aztec


Kind of enjoy that hand crank in my comanche



I like the hand crank!!! More so than the wheel trim on cessnas. A matter of choice I guess.

rgs,

Patrick

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 Post subject: Re: The Piper Aztec/Apache thread
PostPosted: 23 Jan 2021, 09:38 
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Location: Tucson, AZ (winter) & Brunswick, ME (summer)
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Username Protected wrote:
I ... had the cabin door pop open in flight. That is a serious problem in an Apache.


I had the same wild wide in an Aztec. My right seater announced the door pop just as I was rotating. I acknowledged him, but didn't realize that was an abort criterion... so we went flying. In my defense, a door pop in a Cessna single is a non-event, so I've always trained to ignore it and fly on. Like a dropped pencil, one of those "Don't crash the plane due to distraction" kinda things.

Big mistake! In that plane, the door pop was a very big deal. I got a workout keeping that airplane flying above blue line. The airflow over the tail was badly disturbed, resulting in very strong pitch buffet and leaving little pitch control authority. Pitch trim was ineffective.

I was able to achieve a very shallow climb at full power (we were light; half tanks and only two onboard) and got it down safely at a big runway that was close by. I kept my speed up, and chose a no-flaps landing because the Aztec flaps produce a large pitch moment.

My right seater could not close the door inflight, no matter how hard he tried.


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 Post subject: Re: The Piper Aztec/Apache thread
PostPosted: 26 Apr 2021, 18:24 
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Username Protected wrote:
I ... had the cabin door pop open in flight. That is a serious problem in an Apache.



My right seater could not close the door inflight, no matter how hard he tried.


I have not tried it, but I was told when the door pops open in flight, you can in fact close it. first, slow down as slow as you can go. Open the storm window. Close the passenger door, close the storm window. Resume normal flight.

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 Post subject: Re: The Piper Aztec/Apache thread
PostPosted: 27 Apr 2021, 09:26 
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[/quote]My right seater could not close the door inflight, no matter how hard he tried.[/quote]

The procedure in the pilot's handbook works just fine. You slow to 90, open the storm window, and close the door. Many people have added a pull strap on the aft end of the door to help in this instance.

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 Post subject: Re: The Piper Aztec/Apache thread
PostPosted: 28 Apr 2021, 02:48 
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Location: Oxford, UK
Aircraft: PA28-161
Operated a 1973 E in Europe for ten years. This was before the lo-cost airlines and regional air fares were quite high. AvGas back then in Europe was not too expensive, around 1 USD a litre, which by European standards was very cheap. Most airports were still run as state owned enterprises with no handling charges and very low parking charges.

The Aztec was very reliable and would manage the FL150 MEAs over the Alps. It flew all over Europe and was an honest IFR airplane. The Super Cub wing tempted you into perhaps shorter fields, than with hindsight, would have been wise, including grass strips.

Towards the end, the combination of rising airport and airways charges, much more expensive AvGas, and the mandatory time in service maintenance items under European rules, made it less economic (much less). I once booked a bunch of lo-cost flights for one euro cent each (the local airport had subsidised the lo cost airline and wanted to build traffic), and knew my good friend would have to be sold. It got sold and I flew it to Bucharest, it then lived in Greece, Ukraine and now in Latvia.

It had a working Altimatic Vd, a KNS80 and a Garmin 150. Can't remember the HSI, but the avionics kit was quite reliable.

My only regret was flying at 150-155 KTAS because of the eventual cost of AvGas. It was an honest 170-180 KTAS aircraft full throttle and around FL60, faster than the reputation it has as the Apache's bigger brother.

I also had some experience in the PA-23-160, in fact did a couple of revalidation flights in an Apache. I could have got for more money an Apache! the market was a bit weird twenty five years ago, and sometimes would have liked to have had a good solid Apache. They are a very nice handling aircraft, and if you don't mind being overtaken by Cherokees, very practical family transport. SE performance is also better than advertised with the correct technique - although SE ceiling is realistically 3,000 feet.


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