Piper PA-44 Seminole

PA-44-180

The PA-40 Arapaho was developed and ready to go, but Piper made the decision not to produce this airplane because of its projected high market price. Instead, they undertook the PA-44 Seminole project in order to produce a more cost-competitive light twin.

Announced on 21 February 1978, the Seminole is powered by 180-hp Lycomings, and will do 155 knots at 65-percent power and climb at 1,200 feet per minute. Single-engine service ceiling is 3,200 feet. Piper promised first deliveries in June 1978, and a base price of $73,900. A cantilever low-wing monoplane with a T-Tail, retractable tricycle landing gear and power provided by two Avco Lycoming O-360-E1AD counter-rotating engines.

A big help in holding cost down is commonality with existing airplanes. Most of its fuselage is from the Arrow III, from what would be the forward firewall to the aft cabin bulkhead. The T-tail was actually developed on the Seminole first, but introduced on the Lance II. The wings are basically beefed-up versions of the semi-tapered Arrow III to within four feet of the tip. Like the Seneca II and the Navajo C/R, the Seminole uses counter-rotating propellers for balanced thrust, and optional three-blade propellers in 1979 provided a quieter ride. Also in the same year, a propeller synchrophaser further reduced cabin noise levels.

PA-44T

Two 54-gallon fuel tanks are fitted in the engine nacelles, because the engines attach to the wing right where the gas tank is located on four-place Piper singles, and placing fuel in the nacelles meant no drastic change in the wing outboard of that point. Piper opted for Lycoming's new series of engines, which are made on automated equipment at a slightly lower cost. These engines are deeper than previous Lycomings, and thus the nacelles had to be thicker.

At 75% power and 7,000 feet, the Seminole cruises at 191 mph. When leaned to 65%, best-economy power cruise speed is 181 mph, and range is 898 miles with a 45-minute reserve. At 3,800 pounds gross, the Seminole weighs the same as Gulfstream American’s Cougar, which flies between a pair of 160-hp engines; thus, each Seminole horsepower must heft only 10.6 pounds compared to the Cougar’s 11.9 pounds/hp loading. From the beginning, Piper intended the Seminole as a relatively inexpensive alternative to high-performance singles.

PA-44T

The Seminole was complemented on 24 April 1980 by a turbocharged version designated PA-44-180T Turbo Seminole with TO-360-E1AD counter-rotating engines. At 65-percent power economy cruise, the Turbo Seminole can travel at 194 mph over a distance of 920 miles burning fuel at a rate of 19 gph. Standard equipment includes a built-in oxygen system that consists of a rear-mounted bottle with easy-to-reach overhead outlets, night-lighted pressure gauge, oxygen masks, and a control-wheel mike button.

Piper’s financial troubles brought Seminole production to an end in 1990 after 469 were built. Five years later, New Piper Aircraft resumed making the entry-level twin, the only remaining T-tail aircraft in the line, and 29 were delivered over the next three years.

All were certified to FAA A19SO.

**PA44-180 Seminole **

Engine: 2 x Lycoming O-360-E1AD, 180 hp / 134kW

TBO: 2000 hrs

Prop: Hartzell 2 blade, constant speed 74 in

Seats: 4

Wing area: 183.8 sq.ft

Wingspan: 38 ft. 6.6 in

Overall length: 27 ft. 7.2 in

Height: 8 ft. 6 in

Wing aspect ratio: 8

Max ramp wt: 3816 lb

Max take off wt: 3800 lb

Standard empty wt: 2354 lb

Max useful load: 1462 lb

Max landing wt: 3800 lb

Baggage capacity: 200 lb

Wing loading: 20.7 lbs/sq.ft

Power loading: 10.66 lbs/hp

Max useable fuel: 648 lbs (2x208 lt tanks)

Climb rate: 1340 fpm @ 88 kt

Climb gradient: 913 ft/nm

Rate of climb @ 8000 ft: 740 fpm

Service ceiling; 17,100 ft

SE rate of climb: 217 fpm @ 88 kt

SE climb gradient: 148 f/nm

SE ceiling: 4100 ft

Vne: 202 kt

Vmca: 56 kt

Vfe: 111 kt

Vmo: 169 kt

Cruise speed 75% power: 166 kt

Cruise speed 65% power: 162 kt

Cruise @ 65% power @ 8,000ft: 155 kt

Fuel consumption 75% power: 22.4 USgph

Fuel consumption 65% power: 20.6 USgph

Fuel flow @ 65% power @ 8,000ft: 102 pph

Endurance @ 65% power @ 8,000ft: 6.1 hr

Max range (w/ res) 75% power: 790 nm

Max range (w/ res) 65% power: 850 nm

Stalling speed clean: 57 kt

Stall speed gear/flaps down: 55 kt

Turbulent air penetration speed: 133 kt

Retractable undercarriage

Takeoff distance (50') 1,400 ft

Landing distance (50') 1,190 ft

Takeoff ground roll: 880 ft

Landing ground roll: 383 ft

Cabin width: 41.5 in

Cabin height: 49 in**PA44-180T Turbo Seminole **

Engine: 2 x Lycoming TO-360-E1A6D, 180 hp

TBO: 1800 hr

Prop: Hartzell 2 blade, constant speed 74 in

Seats: 4

Length: 27.6 ft

Height: 8.5 ft

Wingspan: 38.6 ft

Wing area: 183.8 sq.ft

Wing aspect ratio: 8

Max ramp wt: 3943 lb

Max take off wt: 3925 lb

Standard empty wt: 2430 lb

Max useful load: 1513 lb

Max landing wt: 3800 lb

Wing loading: 21.4 lbs/sq.ft

Power loading: 10.9 lbs/hp

Max useable fuel: 648 lb

Climb rate: 1290 fpm @ 88 kt

Climb gradient: 879 ft/nm

Rate of climb @ 8000 ft: 1140 fpm

Certificated ceiling; 20,000 ft

SE rate of climb: 180 fpm @ 88 kt

SE climb gradient: 123 ft/nm

SE ceiling: 12,500 ft

Max speed: 195 kt

Cruise @ 65% power @ 8,000ft: 154 kt

Cruise @ 65% pwr @ 18,000 ft: 169 kt

Fuel flow @ 65% power @ 18,000ft: 132 pph

Endurance @ 65% power @ 18,000ft: 4.7 hr

Stalling speed clean: 60 kt

Stall speed gear/flaps down: 56 kt

Turbulent air penetration speed: 133 kt

Retractable undercarriage

Takeoff distance (50') 1,500 ft

Landing distance (50') 1,190 ft