First conceived in 1964, the Aerostar enjoyed a reputation as the fastest twin-engine aircraft in its class, and continues to be well appreciated by pilots 36 years after the last airframe was produced.
The Aerostar was created by legendary designer Ted R Smith, designer of the A-20 Havoc and Aero Commander, who produced and certified the first airframes in 1967. However, due to the sale of his company manufacture was slow and was ultimately suspended until Smith regained design rights and restarted production in 1973. After Smith’s death in 1976, Aerostar production was taken over by Piper, with Piper-built aircraft designated Piper PA60, and, briefly, Piper Sequoia.
The Aerostar was conceived using monocoque principals, with much of the load bearing being on external surfaces using aluminium skin twice the normal thickness, and reduced structure underneath. Originally designed to take a wide range of powerplants including jets, Smith claimed that the aircraft had been tested to 500mph in a shallow dive, and indeed a jet powered prototype was finally produced by the Aerostar Aircraft Corporation in 1991. Considered a true pilot’s aircraft and not for inexperienced aviators, the Aerostar can have unforgiving stall characteristics, and requires skilful, well co-ordinated flying.
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