PA28-140 gap seal review

PA28-140 gap seal review

I recently bought a 66 Cherokee 140, and even more recently, went ahead with some aileron/stabilator trim tab gap seals. These are the kind sold by AMR&D and are of the tape variety that cover the gap on top of the control surfaces.

I had a hard time prior to installing these on finding out about what sort of specific performance improvements that I would see...so here's my review after a 5.4 hour flight a couple days ago.

First off, installation was very simple when compared to the other gap seals that rivet into place, these are just like using ordinary tape, and the installation went pretty quickly.

To start with, what I had read about them said they would improve climb rate, cruise speed, and roll response.

As far as the climb rate goes, I definitely noticed a difference with the seals installed. Prior to installation, I would get a climb rate of about 600-650 near sea level on a standard day. With the seals, I'm getting a solid 850fpm at sea level, and around 5000-6000 ft DA I'm getting 600-650fpm. Very big improvement to me, and that alone was worth the money.

As far as cruise speed goes, my 140 seemed to be pretty quick prior to installation, getting around 140mph TAS at 7500ft DA. I didn't notice a huge speed difference with the seal...maybe 5mph at most. For the flight a couple days ago, my TAS varied between 140-145mph at 7500-8500ft DA.

On to the aileron effectiveness, I did notice a difference at low speeds while coming in to land. Not huge, but noticable. I'd compare it to the difference between steering response in a family car, to that of a lower end sports car.

Anyway, hopefully this will help someone out in making a decision to go with some gap seals and wondered about these. If I remember right, Tony mentioned recently that he was having some issues with his current gap seals on his 66 Cherokee and may have been in the market for some new ones.

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Re: PA28-140 gap seal review

The gap seals will also give about a 20% improvement in roll rate.  I think a 5 mph increase in cruise speed might be a tad optimistic.  The gap seals are certainly worth installing.
JimC

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Re: PA28-140 gap seal review

Aaron,
thanks for the review.

I have been considering these for some time.
My aircraft has the Booster (droop), wing tips.
I like the performance I seem to get with them.

My thought was how my plane would perform with the addition of gap seals with these wing tips and perhaps the installation of some wing root fairings as well.

John k.

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Re: PA28-140 gap seal review

I'd imagine every little bit helps with these sort of mods.  One day when I get the money, I plan to go for some upgraded wing tips as well as I think they'd probably be the biggest bang for the buck.

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Re: PA28-140 gap seal review

Removing the step is probably the best bang for the buck (free).
Biggest speed increment, aftermarket wheel fairings.
Then VG's to open the envelope a bit.
JimC

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Re: PA28-140 gap seal review

How much speed improvement do you see by removing the step?

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Re: PA28-140 gap seal review

About a knot -- but, it is free.
JimC

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Re: PA28-140 gap seal review

Hmmm a Cherokee 140 that does 140 MPH when my Cherokee 180 has to see a good day to do 140, what's up with that? My POH says with a factory new airplane flown by a test pilot the best a 180 can do is 141 MPH.

AW

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Re: PA28-140 gap seal review

Alex, sounds like your airframe is near stock.  With two on board, my PA28-150C (160 hp) gets 140 mph indicated at 75% down low, and 155 true at 7500 feet.  Top speed for me is 162 mph true at 1100 feet and 2790 rpm.  Speed mods can help.
JimC

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Re: PA28-140 gap seal review

I once tried my own gap seals using a roll of PVC gap seal tape borrowed from some local fiberglass sailplane guys. This was just a temporary experiment, but  I covered the topside of the aileron gaps, and the stabilator trimtab gap too. I noticed absolutely no improvement or change in cruise speed or climb rates at all.

Zero, zip, zilch, nada.

But I did notice a rather pronounced improvement in roll rate and low speed aileron authority. That's all that I could find that the gap seal tape really did accomplish. Is it worth what AMR&D charges for their tape and STC to make it a legal mod? Maybe, but not for me since a Cherokee still has the roll rate of a pig on valium, even with the tape, and if there's no noticeable speed improvement then I am not interested in buying.

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Re: PA28-140 gap seal review

In both a PA28 and a PA32, I found the substantially improved low airspeed roll rate to be one of the best bangs for the buck that you can put on a Cherokee.
JimC

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Re: PA28-140 gap seal review

Has anyone thought of using the Laminer Flow or Knots 2 U and the tape seal from AMR D?

Would there be any disadvantage of both?

I just purchased a beautiful 140 that has the wigtips with landing lights and wheel pants. The seller gave me the STC and tape seal kit. I was wondering if it ws worth looking at the other options too.

Smitty

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