When the original Piper Aircraft Corporation first conceived a new trainer in the mid-1970s, the company polled flight instructors to determine what traits this airplane should have. The 1978 to 1982 Tomahawk delivers what these special customers ordered: an airplane that provides honest response to pilot inputs, a comfortable cabin with great visibility, and big-airplane-style handling. The control forces and sensitivities match those of the Learjet 35, making transitions to larger aircraft the easiest of any basic trainer, hence the Tomahawk’s popularity with U.S. Air Force flying clubs.
The Piper Tomahawk is a member of the popular Piper PA-38 family, which celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2011. Like the rest of the Piper family, the Tomahawk is a light aircraft designed for flight training and personal use built by Piper Aircraft. Thanks to the inclined seat rails that move up while moving forward and down while moving back, tall pilots gain headroom while short pilots can easily see over the instrument panel.
What can the Piper Tomahawk do?
Ventilation is much better than average, and the cabin is wider by several inches than most other two-seat airplanes. Two doors make boarding a snap. The Tomahawk is one of several variations of the Pa-28 family, which include engines ranging from 140 to 300 hp, some with turbocharging. The Piper family has been the mainstay of Acadian Pilot since its inception, and has long been considered a top training plane.