Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Aerospace, Physics, and Space Sciences

First Advisor

Ralph D. Kimberlin

Second Advisor

Mary Ann Gaal

Third Advisor

Brian A. Kish

Fourth Advisor

David C. Fleming


Today, Piper is one of the most used aircraft in the general aviation sector. The history of Piper Aircraft has been the subject of numerous books and research projects with over 80 years of aviation industry leadership. For aviation fanatics, the Cherokee is synonymous with Piper Aircraft Corporation. The Piper PA-28 Cherokee is a family of two-seat or four-seat light aircraft built for air taxi, flight training, and personal use. The original Piper Cherokees PA-28- 150 and PA-28-160 received their type certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration back in 1960 and the series remains in production to this day. Multiple models are currently in use in general aviation including the well-known Piper Warrior and Archer. The Piper Archer debuted in 1974. This last, is what many pilots consider the best compromise of power, performance, useful load, and economy in the PA28 line. The PA28-181 Archer is horizontally opposed, air cooled, normally aspirated, directly driven and is equipped with a Lycoming engine O-360. The Archer is also equipped with improved avionics Garmin 1000. Certainly, one of the industry’s legends for reliability, durability, and economy. The Piper Archer also gained a 20-hp difference from the previous Cherokee models, and this was not the only improvement that resulted in Archer’s dominance over the Warrior. In 1995, Piper stepped up the Archer III by incorporating a new cowling utilizing NASA inspired, University of Mississippi-developed, axisymmetric engine inlets, a new windshield line, an improved panel, and a revamped interior. The idea behind the new cowling was to glean an extra knot or two of speed, modernize the airplane’s looks, and increase cooling efficiency. Though the old Warrior had almost the same cruise and handling performance, Archer has the capability to carry four people but remains certified under the same FAR Part 23 certification as Warrior. Following these changes, one can only wonder how efficient they are. These alterations obviously influenced the handling and performance qualities of the aircraft. To determine the changes, we have decided to make two sorties on the aircraft. The FIT Aviation uses the Piper Archer and Piper Warrior as part of their training fleet. The sorties will be conducted on one of the aircrafts from FITA.