Papa and I are gaining weight

May 22, 2008 by Steven W. Ells, Associate Editor

I weighed my 1960 Comanche a week ago. It’s the 180 horsepower “baby comanche” model. And although I have worked mightily to remove all the dross that is always part of every airplane upgrade project, 85Papa has put on some pounds. Every old airplane has rats nests of cut-off coaxial cables, 1960- vintage wiring bundles, and  mondo-sized gyroscopic instruments that were equal to the best installed in a World War II era bomber. Tom Horne calls these antiquated gyros “kill me” gauges because of the confusing presentation.

The original Piper weight and balance report showed a left main weight of 543 pounds, a right main weight of 549 pounds, and a nose gear weight of 443 pounds for a total of 1,535 pounds. That includes a 19 pound Narco Omnigator and antenna, an 8 pound Narco Superhomer VHT-3, and a 6 pound Narco LFR-3 radio. Subtract this empty weight from Papa’s 2,550 pound max gross takeoff weight to find a useful load of a whopping 1,015 pounds.

The latest weighing revealed a left main weight of 562 (+19 pounds), a right main weight of 576 (+27 pounds), and a nose weight of 454 (+11 pounds) for a total weight gain of 57 pounds. Although Papa has gained weight (who hasn’t?) he will still carry 958 pounds. The changes I’ve made over the last four years would not account for a 57 pound gain so there must be some other answer.  I’ve heard that the original factory weight and balance figures were estimated. I know the May 2008 weight is correct. Can anyone sustantiate the rumor about factory weight figures?  

3 Responses to “Papa and I are gaining weight”

  1. Dave Morris N6030X Says:

    My 1960 Mooney M20A has the same problem. I’ve got about 50 pounds unaccounted for over the years. Surely after replacing all those Narco tube radios and high voltage power supplies and heavy transformers with new-fangled light-weight transistor-and-satellite gadgetry, we should have GAINED useful load, not lost it.

    Are we over-painting our birds? Or were the original weighings done by someone from the marketing department?

    Dave Morris
    N6030X

  2. Bruce Allen Says:

    Does anyone know where I can get a Narco LRF-1 or a dash 3 vintage radio? I need one complete for a vintage cockpit. Thanks!

  3. Bruce Allen Says:

    Does anyone know where I can get a Narco LRF-1 or a dash 3 vintage radio? I need one complete for a vintage cockpit. Tailwindsof41@aol.com Thanks!

Leave a Reply

*