1964 Piper PA-28 Cherokee Archer II

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1964 Piper PA-28 Cherokee Archer II
RCR Piper PA-28 Thumb.jpg
NOT A CAR Details
Make Piper
Model PA-28 Cherokee Archer II
Year 1964
Owner RedStar1994 (YouTube)
Episode Details
Episode Link Watch
Season The Southern Stab
Air Date October 19, 2015
Credits u/Ianator

All hail the king of the Bug Smashers! This is a light aircraft, not a car! What are we doing? This is the season finale of Season 7: The Southern Stab. For more footage and a video of this PA-28 landing, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9KHM8Qg3dyg

This episode is the first to include a plane as a reviewed vehicle. This episode also marks the official 'face reveal' of Mr. Regular, which occurs during the walk-out to the plane in the outro.[1] Since then, fans of Regular Car Reviews have taken an interest into his identity, and from this episode on, his anonymity is slowly ebbed away.


All hail the king of the bugsmashers.



And I need your plane,
'Cause I love a Cherokee,

And don't, don't stuff that cock,
By which I mean cockpit,

Because, because too much weight,
Will make us crash 'cause we're not aces.



This is a 1964 Piper Cherokee Archer II. It's a light, single-engine aircraft from an age when you smoked cigarettes, pinched asses, drank hard liquor during the daylight and Codeine was an over-the-counter drug. In 1964, capital gains tax was capped at 25% and that meant that any medium-sized firm could afford their own airplane. Y'know, just because, uh, business lunches just happen to take place at airport diners so why not take the plane?

This Cherokee is powered by a Lycoming 5.9-liter flat four. These are huuuge cylinders, these cylinders are over five inches wide. And the pistons travel 4.375 inches. In metric terms this 5.9-liter Lycoming's bore and stroke is 130.2 millimeters by 111.1 millimeters. Okay, the redline of this engine. You ready? 2,600 RPM. IT'S A MASSIVE FOUR so all it does is get to 2,000 RPM and sit there for hours and hours and hours.

Okay, this prop plane has no transmission and the closest thing to a propeller-driven craft that have transmissions are, uh- (obvious edit) variable pitch props or constant speed props. (end obvious edit) There's really not an apples-to-apples comparison to a gearbox on a car to a 'gearbox,' in quotation marks, in an airplane. But for the sake of this Cherokee it's just one-to-one. However fast the engine is turning is however fast the propeller is turning. Oh yeah, it's air cooled too because DUH.

Other things: Two spark plugs per cylinder. Two magnetos. And it has open headers. No c- no airplane has an 'exhaust'. There's no real regulations regarding noise. I think jets have 'em kinda? But look, look underneath that plane. You see all that BROWN? Yeah, yeah there's no- nothing. It just- a *ptthphphph* ou- out it comes, makes the bottom of the plane all dirty, that's just how prop planes are.

A fully loaded Cherokee Archer II will cruise at 112 miles per hour in still air. 120 miles per hour is the maximum cruise speed with just the pilot on board, no cargo and the tanks at half full. Light aircraft don't really have a 'top' top speed, they don't really call it that, the term they use in avri- aviation is, 'never exceed' speed. The never exceed speed for a Cherokee Archer II is 180 miles per hour and the only way you can get there is going wide open throttle and pointing the nose at Mother Earth. If you go faster than 180 miles per hour in a dive, this thing starts breaking apart.

Yeah, it's a trainer-esque plane but it's a sexy low-wing. A low-wing plane is the rear-wheel drive of the sky while a high-wing plane is front-wheel drive. High-wing plane? Easy to fly. Y'know, lots of room to make mistakes. Low-wing plane? Eh, oooh. Little harder. Easier to slip and spin. If the Cessna 150 is the Chevy Cavalier of the skies and the Cessna 172 is the Toyota Corolla of the skies then the Piper Cherokee is the Ford Taurus. Little larger, little faster. Higher price point but a larger engine.

Okay, what's the difference between the base Cherokee and the Archer II? Base Cherokee, 140 horsepower. Cherokee Archer II, 180 horsepower. Base Cherokee has a straight rectangular wing, Cherokee Archer II has a tapered wing. Base Cherokee has VFR avionics in it, Cherokee Archer II has IFR-VFR avionics. I mean, IFR is Instrument Flight Rule, that means you can fly your plane from runway, in the air, land at the other runway, without looking out the windows, all your instruments will tell you where you are and where you're going. VFR: Visual Flight Rules, it's a fancy way of saying, "Look out the window."

Base Cherokee has a 500 pound carrying capacity. And when you're talking about planes, 500 pounds includes the weight of the fuel, includes the weight of the passengers, you haven't even gotten your suitcases yet. The Cherokee Archer II can handle all that, it can handle 764 pounds. The base Cherokee had an office style carpet, the Cherokee Archer II had that shaaag carpet. Yeah. And vinyl interior.

The first-ever Cherokees received their flight certificate from the FAA in 1960. The inaugural flight was on January 10, 1960, getting its kickstart roughly at the same time as the most important decade of the 20th Century, depending on the type of argument you feel about having at your black tie dinner party.

This is a plane for men from a bygone era. The kind of men with that rarest of qualities known as certainty. These were the Bruce Henns of the world who may not know everything right away but have the confidence in their own abilities to figure it out as they go along. Certainty in themselves and their own capabilities. Men with big- (muted, caption 'Hands') -, rock-hard jawlines and cool names like Chip, Ron, Jim Savage, Ronald J. Flighthound, Roy Thunderbolt and John Meatwallet.

And yet, this plane was part of a sky war of sorts that rivaled the '60s auto wars on the ground below. The Piper Cherokee competed with the Cessna 172, the Grumman American AA-5 and the Beechcraft Musketeer. And the race got pretty heated in the mid-60s. You had major aviation companies vying to be the industry standard. The one that got all the military and civilian contracts. And rule all of civil aviation. Since these companies are even more adverse to working with each other than the automotive counterparts.

And you know which company ended up winning? Well... In short, Piper was sued into bankruptcy, Grumman went out of bus- Grumman! They- they made the Hellcat! Holy sh- they- they went out of business. (Captions: Grummen [sic] F6F Hellcat. Did anyone else play Wings of Fury?) And Beechcraft pulled out of the market despite having the most technically advanced planes in the industry. Cessna won. Cessna won by selling planes cheaply and marketing them well. So the Cherokee always played the second, more expensive fiddle.

But look at this thing, it's a beautiful relic. A reliable relic. An emblem of the vagabond spirit of aviation. Sure, participation trophies are BS, but the lesson here is that you don't have to win to be remembered. And you don't have to be memorialized as the industry standard to have mattered.

Also. I would be remiss if I didn't mention all the fine people at this airstrip. There was some kind of event going on while we filmed this. And there were children everywhere and housewives eating hot dogs while svelte husbands flipped burgers while wearing 'Kiss the Chef' aprons with confidence. And even with just a little bit of time among the fine folks of Georgia, the feeling they're made of sterner stuff than that. Being on this airstrip, even in the hot Georgian air, the type of air that made lots of thermals, the type of air that almost made me throw up in this thing. I mean, all we were doing was fast turns and even then, I started getting... Oh boy, oh boy.

Being at this airstrip transported me to the '60s where company picnics still had sack races and watery fruit salads. Bosses' daughters you only ever saw once a year. It's America, writ small. Never mind the skies. Georgia has good people who are morally adjusted at ground level.


to the tune of LEARN TO FLY by FOO FIGHTERS

I'm lookin' at a Piper Cherokee,
I'm lookin' at a Archer II.
This parody's too obvious to do.

This plane, it has a flat-four engine,
Does 180 when it's in nosedive,
Now will you excuse me while I fist the sky,
[Caption: Mr. R slips]
Now will you excuse me while I fist the sky.


  1. https://youtu.be/a4WcMsTDsfc?t=7m15s