The Aerostar - which in its higher powered forms can lay claim to being the fastest piston twin GA aircraft built - was designed by Ted Smith, who was also responsible for the Aero Commander twins.
Smith's original intention in designing the Aerostar was to develop a family of single and piston twins, twin turboprop and even twin jet powered versions of the same basic aircraft. However the Aerostar appeared in piston twin form only. Smith began design work on the Aerostar in late 1964, with a prototype making its first flight two years later in November 1966.
The prototype was powered by 120kW (160hp) Lycoming IO-320s, but the Aerostar was placed into production from 1968 as the Aerostar 600 with 215kW (290hp) IO-540s. The turbocharged Aerostar 601 followed the 600 into production shortly afterwards, while the turbocharged and pressurised 601P went into production in 1972. By this time Butler Aviation had acquired the production rights of the Aerostar in 1970, producing a small number as Butler Aerostars. Smith bought the line back again in 1972, and his new company Ted R Smith and Associates resumed Aerostar manufacture, including of the improved 601B with the same span wings as on the 601P, until Piper acquired the Aerostar line in March 1978.
Piper continued production of the 600A, 601B and 601P at Ted Smith's Santa Maria plant, and introduced the 602P with low compression TIO-540-AA1A5 engines.
When Piper transferred production to its new Vero Beach, Florida factory in early 1982, only the 602P was in production, and this was redesignated the PA-60-602P. The PA-60-700P was the last Aerostar version, and just 25 were built. In production between 1983 and 1985, the 700P has more powerful engines, a higher max takeoff weight and optional extra fuel capacity.
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