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Why the Tomahawk?

It is apparent from the “first lesson” thread that a lot of people started their PPL in the PA38.

Why was it so popular? My impression, from about 25hrs in them, was

  • all were in appallingly poor condition
  • almost nobody would want to fly in it post-PPL, especially with a “nice” passenger
  • the handling was pretty lively which, with the lack of an autopilot, make flying it A-B hard work
  • not especially suitable for short/soft runways (unlike e.g. Cessnas)
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

It never was very popular in Germany. I flew one in the US and liked em because they are so much more roomy than 150/152s.

Funny how certain countries have certain populations of GA aircraft (not only where they had a local manufacturer). From my observation:

UK has loads of PA38, Piper Warriors, AA5s. Very few C172s

Germany has thousands of 172s. Also a lot of Archers.

Italy has a lot of (dreadful TB9s). Also, lots of Turbo Arrows.

Switzerland has always had many Mooneys.

Poland loves the Reims Rocket.


Frankfurt (EDFZ, EDFE), Germany

For me, it’s simple: the lowest hourly rate in our club and the aircraft the training manual was written for. And they weren’t that bad if you ask me. Sure, they were dated, but in an otherwise good condition. I have flown a few other types since, and although I wouldn’t go back to the Tomahawk, it doesn’t rank lowest on my list.

EHTE, Netherlands

It’s probably the best GA trainer of recent years for a lot of reasons and it spins superbly.

I bought a Tomahawk II with 2040TT four weeks ago for my son. He just finished his PPL. It’s a funny plane. Roomy, no stupid SID like Cessna, cheap hangar (165€/month), good visibility, about 22-23 l/h and a cheaper purchase price than C150/152. Meanwhile I count 7h on it and I think there will be some more this year.

Last Edited by Tigerflyer at 01 Aug 19:26

I like the PA-38. It shows a student what a stall really is, it spins nicely and it’s more roomy than a 150/152 … and feels like a bigger plane.

Tomahawk was best summed up by mad_jock of PP**ne:

Folk either love them or hate them. If Piper was ever to produce a new tommy a suitable name for the Brit market would be the “Piper Marmite”

LKBU near Prague, Czech Republic

I wonder how the LBA ever accepted these registration markings…

Frankfurt (EDFZ, EDFE), Germany

The PA38 delivered exactly what was required by the instructors at that time. The ideal primary trainer. An airplane that required positive control, good speed control during landing, good visibility, aggressive stall characteristics. It is not an airplane you want to take IFR to FL200 and equip with stormscope, GPS, TKS, TIS etc. For traveling across Europe.

So let’s keep in sight what the mission was. It is closer to an ultralight than to a TB20.


boscomantico wrote:

Switzerland has always had many Mooneys.

So does Germany.

Primary trainers here were at my time (1983) mostly Cessna 150/152s.

My whole PPL training was in the C150, mostly in a 1967 model without even a gyro. Just a Nav/Com, Transponder as well as Air Speed, altimeter and whisky compas. All of them were in very good condition.

There are many C172 as well as PA28 for rent in the clubs.

PA38, I remember seeing one years ago in Grenchen as a flight school plane, nowhere else here.

LSZH, Switzerland
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