The Piper Aerostar (formerly Ted Smith Aerostar) is an American twin-engined propeller-driven executive or light transport aircraft, designed by Ted R. Smith. It was originally built by Ted Smith Aircraft Company, which after 1978 became part of the Piper Aircraft Corporation.
Ted Smith flew the first Aerostar 600 in October 1967. It was a mid-wing cantilever monoplane powered by two wing-mounted Avco Lycoming piston engines, with a tricycle landing gear. It was fitted with luxury accommodation for six. Also produced, and the base of most of the subsequent models, was a version with a turbocharged engine, the Aerostar 601.
The Aerostar is one of the fastest twin piston engine aircraft produced, with cruise speeds from 220 kt (408 kph) for the earliest 600 models to 261 kt (483 kph) for the later 700 models. Light construction, low drag and high powered engines also contribute to fast climb rates.
The aircraft were originally built at Van Nuys in California, when in 1968 the company was bought by the American Cement Company. The acquisition was not a success and in 1969 the company was sold again to Butler Aviation, owners of Mooney Airplane Company. The new company was named Aerostar Aircraft Corporation and it was intended to move production to a Mooney plant at Kerrville, Texas. In 1972 Ted Smith bought back all the rights to the aircraft and continue to manufacture Aerostars in Santa Maria, California. He also introduced the pressurized Aerostar 601P. The 601P had engines with higher-rate turbochargers to feed a cabin pressurisation system. Another variant was the stretched Aerostar 700 Superstar. In 1976 the company name was changed to the Ted Smith Aerostar Corporation. Ted Smith died in 1976.
In 1978 the company was taken over by the Piper Aircraft Corporation. It continued to build three variants (600A, 601B and 600P) and then re-introduced the 601P and 602P (sometimes known as the Sequoia). After discontinuing production of the non-pressurised models, Piper moved production to Vero Beach. The Aerostar was last built there in 1984.
The Aerostar type certificate and manufacturing documentation were sold in 1991 to Jim Christy and Steve Speer, who had been part of the Ted Smith Aerostar operation, and now operate Aerostar Aircraft Corporation in Hayden Lake, Idaho, providing maintenance and support of the aircraft.
- Initial production model with two 290hp Lycoming IO-540-K engines, 282 produced under four different company names.
- Model 600 with some minor detail changes.
- Designation used for aircraft sold in Europe.
- 601 (later PA-61)
- This aircraft still holds the land closed speed record for a production piston twin
- Model 600 with turbocharged engines, 117 built.
- 601B (later PA-61)
- Model 601 with increased wingspan, 44 built.
- 601P (later PA-61P)
- Pressurised version of the 601 with increased gross weight, 492 built
- 602P Sequoia (later PA-60)
- Piper developed version of the 601P with the 290 hp Lycoming TIO-540-AA1A5 engines, 124 built.
- A pressurised Aerostar with 310 hp TIO-540 engines, one built.
- 700 Superstar
- Prototype of stretched fuselage variant with two IO-540M engines.
- 602P with counter-rotating Lycoming TIO-540-U2A engines, 26 built, also designated the PA-60
- New modification of 700P with a reinforced nose gear allowing for higher takeoff weight
- 601P with stretched fuselage, enlarged tail and two 400 hp Lycoming engines, one built.
- A modification to replace the twin piston engines with a single nose mounted turboprop.
Data from Jane's Civil and Military Aircraft Upgrades 1994-95
- Crew: 1
- Capacity: 5 passengers
- Length: 34 ft 9¾ in (10.61 m)
- Wingspan: 36 ft 8 in (11.18 m)
- Height: 12 ft 1 in (3.68 m)
- Wing area: 178.2 ft2 (16.56 m2)
- Empty weight: 4,275 lb (1,939 kg)
- Gross weight: 6,315 lb (2,864 kg)
- Powerplant: 2 × Avco Lycoming TIO-540-U2A flat six counter-rotating piston, 350 hp (261 kW) each each
- Maximum speed: 306 mph (492 km/h)
- Cruise speed: 242 mph (390 km/h)
- Range: 1,024 miles (1,648 km)
- Service ceiling: 25,000 ft (7,620 m)
- Rate of climb: 1,840 ft/min (9.4 m/s)
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Piper Aerostar|
- The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Aircraft (Part Work 1982-1985), 1985, Orbis Publishing
- Michell, Simon. Jane's Civil and Military Aircraft Upgrades 1994-95. Coulsdon, UK:Jane's Information Group, 1994. ISBN 0-7106-1208-7.
- Simpson, R.W. Airlife's General Aviation, 1991, Airlife Publishing, ISBN 1-85310-194-X