The Piper Archer is one of two major pillars of the Piper Aircraft Company, the other being the Piper Warrior. Both aircraft have a long standing pedigree in the General Aviation (GA) community for their reliability, ease of maintenance, versatility and availability. The Piper Archer first model was introduced in 1972 and the production line has not stopped. At over 32,000 units built, the Piper Archer is popular amongst flight schools and private owners. For flight schools it provides a versatile training aircraft which can have equipment installed and certified to fly in syllabus training for recreational pilot license (RPL), private pilot license (PPL), Night visual flight rating (NVFR), private instrument flight rating (PIFR) and the single engine command instrument rating (SECIR). The aircrafts features a Lycoming built 180HP, four cylinder horizontally opposed carburettor engine and air cooled piston engine. The cabin seats four people, depending on loading limitations, including the pilot with baggage area behind the second row of seats which can hold 100kg worth of luggage. The aircraft has two fuel tanks, one in each wing, which holds 93 litres of aviation grade 100 Low lead fuel – this gives the aircraft the ability to switch tanks and extend its range compared to a single tank. Depending on variables such as wind, temperature and barometric pressure and the management of the engine – the aircraft is capable of 522 nautical miles of range or 967km. The cruising speed of the aircraft, in the right conditions, can reach 125 knots or 230 kph and can land in fields as short as 600 metres. The airframe is primarily made of metal, with a tricycle landing gear designed and features oleo or pneumatic pistons to cushion even the bumpiest of landings. The cockpit tools available to the pilot include modern autopilots capable of holding direction and altitude, electronic display, Australian instrument certified Global Positioning System (GPS) and Automatic Dependent Broadcasting Surveillance (ADS-B) modern transponder.
The Piper Arrow, a derivative design of Piper Archer – the first model Arrow I was introduced in 1967 as a cost effective option for pilots who required a CPL but could not procure a Cessna 206 or Cessna 182 for the complex requirements of the issue of CPL license. The FAA and CASA deem that for an issue of a Commercial Pilot License the pilot must manage an aircraft with a complex design feature, in the case of the Piper Arrow it has a variable pitch propeller and retractable undercarriage. The aircraft must also be capable of 120KIAS cruise speed under normal conditions. If you are a private pilot or intending to be an instructor the Piper Arrow is a suitable choice to earn the design feature endorsements of retractable undercarriage and multiple pitch propeller control. The aircraft features a similar four cabin seating as the Piper Archer and Warrior, it is slightly upgraded with a 200HP Lycoming horizontally opposed fuel injected engine but is significantly heavier due to the addition of the components for the variable pitch propeller control and retractable undercarriage – therefore the aircraft has the same carry capacity as the other single engine Piper aircraft. The Piper Arrow will cruise at a modest 123 knots or 230kph and has a range of 680 nautical miles or 1260km – with two fuel tanks, one in each wing, that holds 273 litres total. The Piper Arrow at Basair is primarily used for commercial syllabus training and as an introduction to design feature training particularly as an affordable option to achieve retractable undercarriage compared to the hire rate for a multi engine aircraft. The aircraft features a modern cockpit, with instruments approved to fly at night and instrument flight conditions.
Included in Basair inventory is the final General Aviation company of the big three – Beechcraft Aviation. The Beechcraft Baron 55 is widely regarded as the premier twin engine small passenger charter aircraft, with a cabin seat configuration of 6 or 5 depending on club seating arrangement. The Baron, introduced in 1960 was marketed as a bridging option for private or commercial operators who wanted an aircraft which balanced the carrying capacity of the single engine Beechcraft Bonanza and the reliability and redundancy of a second engine which provided much higher cruise speed of 200 knots or 370kph. The aircraft also had a wing tank in each wing with a total capacity of 520 litres and options of additional fuel cells which increased the range to 942 nautical miles or 1744km. A pair of Continental engines with six cylinders each horizontally opposed, fuel injected and capable of producing 285BPH each, the Baron has impressive acceleration and can comfortably climb and cruise whilst still having reserves of power. In the internal cockpit features reliable vacuum air instruments with a modern GPS which meets instrument flying standards for small air transport operations. In Australia the Baron is widely used as small passenger charter and can be modified to conduct aerial survey for geological purposes, the wine industry, fire detection and powerline survey – it is a common aircraft used to charity organisations such as Little Wings which provide passenger transport for paediatric patients.