Compare the fixed costs, variable cost, and performance of Piper Dakota PA28 to over 500 jets, turboprops, helicopters and piston aircraft, with accurate data from Conklin & de Decker.
The PA-28 family dates back to 1962 and includes aircraft from the basic Cherokee 140, with its fixed gear and fixed-pitch propeller, to the Turbo Arrow, with its turbocharged engine and retractable gear. They all share the certification of the PA-28 from 1962. In 1964, the Dakota line was introduced and was originally called the Cherokee 235. The aircraft was designed to compete with the Cessna 182. While the aircraft compares favorably with the Cessna 182, the Cessna was a better seller.
In 1973, the Cherokee 235 was renamed the Charger with the addition of a constant-speed propeller. In 1975, the name changed again to the Pathfinder. By 1979, the model had the 5-inch fuselage stretch, the original “Hershey Bar” wing was replaced with a semi-tapered wing, and the model was referred to as the Dakota. Unfortunately, the Dakota did not survive the general aviation sales depression of the 1980s and production was a trickle until it ended in 1994.
Speed was never the forte of any Cherokee and the Dakota was no exception. However, the 235 hp Lycoming enabled it to outperform the other Cherokees and to haul a reasonable load. The cabin is comfortable, especially after the 5-inch fuselage stretch. The Dakota is a suitable alternative to the Cessna 182.
Lycoming Ly O-540-J3A5D 1