On 20 November 2001 I took delivery of my airplane, N32169, a 1974 Piper Archer. It's a great, solid airplane that has seen me through to an IFR ticket, and will hopefully see me through a lot more flying before I scrape up the time and money to step up. It's one of the first years of the Archers, and happens to be a P28A-180 where most Archers are P28A-181s. (And the “P28A” designation is fairly new, many people still use PA28-180.)


N32169's a great instrument platform with a Garmin GNS 430 IFR moving map GPS and dual VOR/LOC/GS system. It also has an ADF and LORAN, but the LORAN's VFR only and the ADF's, well, an ADF. Still, a solid, fun IFR platform that's already had a few adventures with me. The only thing that's “missing” is an autopilot, but I really don't mind that. I like hand-flying.

big sky

There's a strange bit of karma between 32169 and me. When it was initially delivered to its first owners (the Elmira Aeronautical Corporation or the Horseheads Aeronautical Corporation, depending on whether you believe the nigh illegible sticker on the plane or the AOPA title search) it was delivered to the small upstate NY town I grew up in. When I was wandering around seeing planes in the sky and wanting to fly, 32169 may have been one of the ones I saw. The odd part is that both of us crossed the country before we flew together. When I bought the plane it was in San Diego, and I was in Los Angeles. I've also heard from a controller who flew it from the LA area to Oshkosh, and know that while it lived down in San Diego it made regular trips to SMO. These days we start out trips together from Santa Monica (SMO).

So far we've travelled all over the LA basin, up through the Central Valley (including Columbia), to the Bay Area, down to San Diego, out to Vegas, baby, Vegas, and up the coast to Seattle. We've seen exotic cats, chocolate factories, deserted strips and crowded airports. We've travelled for work and for fun. Together we've crossed a little ocean and considerably more desert. We've even broken out of bright clouds into pitch darkness. I'm looking forward to more of the same.

If you and 32169 have been somewhere together, let me know..

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