No airplane personifies the epithet “Dynamic Elegance” more aptly than does the Piper Comanche 250.
The unique conjoining of many superlative aeronautic and aesthetic qualities marks this very special aeroplane. It has been said that if an aeroplane looks right, it will fly right. In this it is supposed that the eye’s natural ability to sense the pleasing proportion and intrinsic efficiency of a design is a reliable predictor of similarly excellent aeronautic performance. The Comanche 250 proves that this adage may be relied upon and bears validity. The Piper Comanche takes its well-deserved place on an illustrious list of aeroplanes which are both so very pleasing to the eyes and which are equally capable of superior performance.
There are many including this writer the most beautiful of all General Aviation (GA) aircraft, if not the most beautiful. From any angle the Comanche treats the eyes. This is what provides its elegance. Its superlative performance is a matter of record and this provides its dynamism. These two great and rare qualities, beauty and performance would be enough in and of themselves to place the Comanche at the pinnacle of GA aircraft, but the Comanche possesses an additional quality, one which, after all, may be its most endearing. Of all of the high performance GA aircraft the Comanche is arguably the least demanding of the relatively low- time pilot. That this is so is not an accident or a fortuitous circumstance – William Piper specifically intended that it should be so. The Comanche’s forgiving flight characteristics and its refusal to turn and bite an unwary pilot without plenty of warning, its relatively gentle stall, easy handling at low airspeeds and its overall delightful handling at all airspeeds are confidence boosters for its fortunate pilots.
The Comanche is also particularly exceptional in that it does not achieve its excellent aerodynamic performance at the expense of interior room and comfort; it is among the roomiest and most comfortable of “high performance” aeroplanes. Neither does the Comanche sacrifice useful load nor its generous weight and balance envelope at the altar of high airspeed. It is a highly capable heavy load hauler and its capacious useful load as well as its ability to safely carry baggage and substantial rear seat passengers without straining its aft load limits is far better than its closest competitors of equal horsepower – including and specifically the V-tail Beechcraft Bonanza. Perhaps most importantly, the Comanche does not achieve its performance by the intrinsic design features which compromise stable flying characteristics. Its light airframe weight and its generous, high aspect-ratio, laminar flow wing provides the Comanche with high efficiency as well as a low wing loading.
Accordingly, Comanche pilots and owners are particularly loyal and satisfied, and for good reason; the Comanche delivers extraordinarily dynamic performance while embodying the highest degree of aeronautic elegance.
So, how is it that all of these superlative qualities came together in this aeroplane? Well, therein lays the Comanche’s tale, one redolent of aeronautic expertise, prescience, confidence and also of a fierce competitive spirit. As it happens, it all began a little more than ten years before the first Comanche ever flew.
Once upon a time…
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