Friday, 15 February 2013

Piper PA-31 Navajo

The Piper PA-31 Navajo is a family of cabin-class, twin-engine aircraft designed and built by Piper Aircraft for the general aviation market, most using Lycoming engines. It was also licence-built in a number of Latin American countries.Targeted at small-scale cargo and feeder liner operations and the corporate market, the aircraft was a success. It continues to prove a popular choice, but due to greatly decreased demand across the general aviation sector in the 1980s, production of the PA-31 ceased in 1984.

Piper PA-31 Navajo

Role                    Civil utility aircraft
Manufacturer       Piper Aircraft
First flight           30 September 1964
Introduction        30 March 1967
Status                 Active service
Produced           1967–1984
Number built      3942
Variants             Piper PA-31T Cheyenne

Design and development

The 30th production Navajo, fitted with two-bladed propellers and early two-part airstair cabin entry door (without the third door, introduced later)
A modified PA-31P Pressurized Navajo, fitted with winglets
An Air South West PA-31 in service at Dublin Airport in 1994
1980 Navajo Chieftain

A PA-31P-350 Mojave

At the request of company founder William T. Piper, Piper began development of a six- to eight-seat twin engine corporate and commuter transport aircraft in 1962 under the project name Inca.The type, now designated the PA-31 and looking like a scaled-up Twin Comanche, was officially announced in late 1964 after its first flight on 30 September that year. It was a low-wing monoplane with a conventional tail, powered by two 310 hp (231 kW) Lycoming TIO-540-A turbocharged engines in so-called "tiger shark" cowlings, a feature shared with the Twin Comanche and also the PA-23 Aztec. As testing proceeded two cabin windows were added to each side of the fuselage and the engines moved further forward.The PA-31, now named "Navajo" after a Native American tribe, was not certified by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) until 24 February 1966, and deliveries did not begin until the following year, after the type was re-certified in mid-1966 with an increase in maximum take off weight (MTOW) from 6,200 lb (2,812 kg) to 6,500 lb (2,948 kg).

The PA-31-300 was the next model, certified by the FAA in June 1967.This model was the only one of the PA-31 series not to have turbocharged engines. A pair of 300 hp (224 kW) Lycoming IO-540-M1A5 engines were fitted to the PA-31-300, driving two-bladed propellers. Following the introduction of the PA-31-300 the turbocharged model began to be known unofficially as the PA-31-310. The PA-31-300 was only produced in 1968 and 1969 and had the smallest production total for any PA-31 series model, with only 14 aircraft built.

The next member of the family was also Piper's first pressurized aircraft, the PA-31P Pressurized Navajo, certified in late 1969.Development of the PA-31P had begun in January 1966, before the FAA had awarded the PA-31 a Type certificate.The PA-31P was powered by 425 hp (317 kW) Lycoming TIGO-541-E engines and compared to earlier models had a longer nose, fewer and smaller windows, 25 US gal (95 l) fuel tanks in the engine nacelles and a one-piece airstair cabin entry door instead of the split pair of doors on the unpressurized models. MTOW was greatly increased at 7,800 lb (3,538 kg). Also known unofficially as the PA-31P-425, the PA-31P was produced from 1970 to 1977. In 1971 Piper introduced improvements to the PA-31 model. The Navajo B featured airconditioning, increased baggage space achieved by the addition of storage lockers in the rear part of extended nacelles, a third door next to the cabin entry doors to facilitate the loading of baggage, and an optional separate door for the pilot to enter the cockpit.

Licence manufacture

The PA-31 series was manufactured under licence in several countries from kits of parts supplied by Piper. Chincul SACAIFI in Argentina assembled most of the series as the PA-A-31, PA-A-31-325, PA-A-31P and PA-A-31-350 and Aero Industrial Colombiana SA (AICSA) in Colombia assembled PA-31, PA-31-325 and PA-31-350 aircraft.The PA-31-350 Chieftain was also assembled under licence in Brazil by Embraer as the EMB 820C Navajo.In 1984, Embraer subsidiary company Indústria Aeronáutica Neiva began converting Embraer EMB 820Cs by installing Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6 turboprop engines; Neiva called the converted aircraft the Carajá.


PA-31 Navajo
    Initial production version, also known unofficially as the PA-31-310.

PA-31-300 Navajo
    Variant of the Navajo with normally aspirated engines; 14 built.

PA-31 Navajo B
    Marketing name for 1971 improved variant with 310 hp (231 kW) Lycoming TIO-540-E turbo-charged piston engines, new airconditioning and optional pilot access door and optional wide utility door.

PA-31 Navajo C
    Marketing name for 1974 improved variant with 310 hp (231 kW) Lycoming TIO-540-A2C engines and other minor improvements.

PA-31P Pressurized Navajo
    Pressurized version of the PA-31 Navajo, powered by two 425-hp (317-kW) Lycoming TIGO-541-E1A piston engines.

PA-31-325 Navajo
    Referred to as the "Navajo C/R" for Counter Rotating; variant of Navajo with counter-rotating propellers introduced with the PA-31-350 Chieftain. 325 hp (242 kW) Lycoming TIO-540 / LTIO-540 engines

PA-31-350 Chieftain
    Stretched version of the Navajo with more powerful 350-hp (261-kW) engines that rotate in opposite directions (a Lycoming TIO-540 and a Lycoming LTIO-540) to eliminate critical engine issues.

PA-31P-350 Mojave
    Piston-engine variant of the PA-31T1 Cheyenne I; 50 aircraft built.

    Also known as the T1020/T-1020; variant of the PA-31-350 Chieftain optimised for commuter airline use, with less baggage and fuel capacity and increased seating capacity (nine passengers). First flight September 25, 1981. 21 built.

    Also known as the T1040/T-1040; turboprop powered airliner with fuselage of the PA-31-350T1020, and wings, tail and Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-11 engines of PA-31T Cheyenne. First flight July 17, 1981. 24 built.

    Experimental version of PA-31-350; two built.

    Unbuilt airliner variant with fuselage lengthened by 11 ft 6 in (3.51 m) compared to the PA-31-350.

EMB 820C
    Version of Chieftain built under licence by Embraer in Brazil.

Neiva Carajá
    Turboprop conversion of EMB 820C, fitted with two Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-27 engines flat-rated to 550shp. The Carajá's MTOW of 8,003lbs was 1000lbs more than that of the Chieftain.

Colemill Panther
    Re-engined Navajo with 350 hp (261 kW) Lycoming TIO-540-J2B engines, 4-blade "Q-Tip" propellers and optional winglets. Conversion designed by Colemill Enterprises of Nashville, Tennessee.

Specifications (PA-31 Navajo)

General characteristics

    Crew:                             1 or 2
    Capacity:                        5 to 7 passengers
    Length:                           32 ft 7½ in (9.94 m)
    Wingspan:                      40 ft 8 in (12.40 m)
    Height:                           13 ft 0 in (3.96 m)
    Wing area:                     229 sq. ft (21.3 m²)
    Empty weight:                3,930 lb (1,782 kg)
    Max. takeoff weight:      6,500 lb (2,948 kg)
    Powerplant:                   2 × Lycoming TIO-540-A air-cooled six-cylinder horizontally opposed                         piston engine, 310 hp (231 kW) each
    Propellers:                   Two or three blade, metal, fully feathering, Hartzell propeller


    Never exceed speed:           236 knots (438 km/h (272 mph))
    Maximum speed:                 227 knots (420 km/h (260 mph)) at 15,000 ft (4,600 m)
    Cruise speed:                      207 knots (383 km/h (238 mph)) econ cruise at 20,000 ft (6,100 m)
    Stall speed:                         63.5 knots (118 km/h (73 mph)) flaps down
    Range:                                1,011 nmi (1,875 km (1,165 mi))
    Service ceiling:                 26,300 ft (8,015 m)
    Rate of climb:                    1,445 ft/min (7.3 m/s)

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