Debuting in 1952, the Piper PA-23 Apache was actually designed by Stinson prior to its acquisition by Piper. First flying as a twin tail design, it was quickly modified to the single tail after the initial prototype failed to perform adequately.
The Apache evolved quickly to acquire 150hp and later 160hp engines. It further evolved into the longer nosed and sweep-tailed Aztec, and the original Apache was discontinued in 1965 after which only Aztecs were built. Initially flown as a high-end private or business aircraft, 2047 Apaches were built before production ceased.
Known as the “Sweet Potato” due to its rotund looks, the Apache is a spirited performer in the climb although slow compared with modern twins in the cruise. Unlike most modern twins, it is not truly redundant, with some systems running off only one engine, and single engine performance is marginal. Partly because of its limitations, it has found great favour as a twin engine trainer, being well placed to demonstrate yaw induced roll at VMC, and presenting suitably challenging single engine flying characteristics. With many pilots having logged time on the Apache, the aircraft is well respected and despite its age many well-maintained examples fly to this day.
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