Piper Saratoga

The Piper PA-32R is a six-seat, high-performance, single engine, all-metal fixed-wing aircraft produced by Piper Aircraft. The design began life as the Piper Lance, a retractable gear version of the Piper Cherokee Six. Later models are known as Saratogas.

The Saratoga competes with the Beechcraft Bonanza, Mooney Ovation, Cirrus SR22, Cessna 206 Stationair, and Cessna 350.


Until 1972, when the assembly line was destroyed in a flood, the Comanche was Piper's luxury high-performance single. Afterwards, Piper began modifying its heavy lifting single engine PA-32 Cherokee Six, adding retractable landing gear and designating the type as the "PA-32R".

Versions of the PA-32R

PA-32R-300 (1976-1978) - called the Piper Cherokee Lance. Initial version of the retractable PA-32 line, with a standard tail in the 1976 model. The 1977 and 1978 models featured a tail modified to a "T" design with the stabilator (horizontal stabilizer/elevator) moved to the top of the vertical tail.

PA-32RT-300 (1978-1979) - Beginning with this model, the Cherokee name was officially dropped and the model was designated the Lance II. The "T" tail arrangement was continued on the Lance II.

PA-32RT-300T (1978-1979) - Also in 1978 a turbocharged version, designated the Turbo Lance II, was introduced.

PA-32R-301 (1980-2007) - The 1980 models reverted back to a standard tail design, and were designated as the Saratoga SP. In 1993 the airplane received several cosmetic and systems updates and was redesignated as the Saratoga II HP.

PA-32R-301T (1980-Present) - The 1980 Turbocharged model was given the name Turbo Saratoga SP. The name and model designation stayed the same through the 1996 model year, despite several updates to the airplane during that time. Starting with the 1997 model year the airplane received a new designation, the Saratoga II TC, and a new Lycoming TIO-540-AH1A engine. Externally the biggest difference was the new LoPresti-designed cowl, with much smaller, round air inlets. 1997-1998 Saratoga II TC's featured a King avionics suite, which was switched to dual Garmin GNS-430's and a GTX-320 transponder with the 1999 models. In mid-2000 model year the avionics were again updated, with one Garmin GNS-430 and one GNS-530 and a GTX-327 transponder as standard equipment. Beginning in 2004 the Saratoga models were available with an Avidyne Entegra "Glass Panel" avionics system, which was replaced by the Garmin G1000 in 2007.

For the 2008 model year, the Saratoga II HP (normally aspirated) model was eliminated, along with the 6X and 6XT (fixed-gear versions of the Saratoga), leaving the turbocharged Saratoga II TC as the only current production model in the PA-32 line.

License production

The PA-32 was also built under licence in Brazil as the Embraer EMB-720 Minuano, and the PA-32R as the EMB-721 Sertanejo, while Chincul in Argentina built the PA-32 as PA-A-32, the PA-32R as PA-A-32R, and the PA-32RT as the PA-A-32RT.

JFK Jr. Accident

The Saratoga is possibly best known outside the aviation community as the aircraft type in which John F. Kennedy Jr. and two passengers were killed on July 16 1999.

See also


External links

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