Piper PA-30/39 Twin Comanche
Country of Origin
United States of America
Six seat light twin
As its name implies, the Twin Comanche is a twin engine development of the PA-24 Comanche. When in production, it was Piper's premier four/six place light twin, replacing the Apache 235 and positioned beneath the larger and more powerful Aztec. The Twin Comanche was originally proposed as early as 1956, when the single engine Comanche was undergoing initial development, however the project was delayed while Piper worked on the Comanche and the Aztec twin. So it was not until 1962 that a Comanche was converted to a twin configuration with two 120kW (160hp) IO-320s (originally two 110kW (150hp) engines were planned), with first flight on November 7 1962. First flight of a production Twin Comanche was in May 1963, with first deliveries later that year. The Twin Comanche differed little from its single engine brethren other than changes associated with its twin engine layout, and it quickly proved to be very popular. Improvements to the PA-30 resulted in the introduction of the Twin Comanche B in 1965, which featured a stretched fuselage allowing seating for up to six, as on the equivalent Comanche B single, while turbocharged engines and wingtip tanks were offered as options as the Turbo Twin Comanche B. From 1970 the Twin Comanche C featured a slightly higher cruising speed and interior improvements, while the PA-39 Twin Comanche C/R was fitted with counter rotating engines. Production of the Twin Comanche ceased in 1972 - by which time only the PA-39 was available - due to the flooding of Piper's Lock Haven factory.
PA-30-160 - Two 120kW (160hp) Lycoming IO-320-B1A fuel injected flat four piston engines driving two blade constant speed Hartzell propellers. PA-39 - Two 120kW (160hp) counter rotating Lycoming L/IO-320-C1As.
PA-30-160 - Max speed 330km/h (178kt), max cruising speed 312km/h (168kt), long range cruising speed 267km/h (144kt). Initial rate of climb 1460ft/min. Service ceiling 18,600ft. Max range with no reserves and standard fuel 1795km (970nm), or with tip tanks 2190km (1182nm). PA-39 Turbo - Max speed 376km/h (203kt), max cruising speed 357km/h (193kt), economical cruising speed 327km/h (177kt). Initial rate of climb 1460ft/min. Service ceiling 25,000ft. Range at max cruising speed 2373km (1282nm), range at economical cruising speed 2582km (1395nm).
PA-30-160 - Empty 1002kg (2210lb), max takeoff 1633kg (3600lb), or 1690kg (3725lb) with tip tanks. PA-39 Turbo - Empty 1097kg (2416lb), max ramp 1690kg (3725lb).
Wing span 10.97m (36ft 0in) or 11.22m (36ft 10in) with tip tanks, length 7.67m (25ft 2in), height 2.49m (8ft 2in). Wing area 16.5m2 (178sq ft).
Typical seating for four, including pilot in Twin Comanche. Up to six including pilot in Twin Comanche B.
Total Twin Comanche production was 2156, comprising 2001 PA-30s and 155 PA-39s.
Piper PA-30/39 Twin Comanche
The backbone of this section is from the The International Directory of Civil Aircraft by Gerard Frawley and used with permission. To get your own copy of the book click here.