Pilots - help me understand Piper aircraft

So I am (somewhat) considering buying a used airplane. It may or may not just be a pipe dream for now, who knows? But I’m researching it. One thing I am having a hard time figuring out is Piper’s nomenclature for the PA-28 series.

From their website (www.newpiper.com) I see that at least for the new models, it seems like they have three PA28’s:

PA-28-161 Warrior
PA-28-181 Archer
PA-28R-201 Arrow (retractable gear)

These planes look identical with simply cosmetic differences (and of course the gear on the Arrow), just with different size engines. Are they? Are they the same size airframe? It’s hard to glean this information off the website.

What’s a Cherokee that I see reference to for used airplanes? Is it the same as a PA-28-151?

This must be a popular line, but obviously I have no experience with Piper aircraft. Is there a site I can go to that has all this information (I tried google but mostly came up with aircraft for sale.)

Anything else I should know about Piper nomenclature?


Well, a former Piper employee once told me that the corporate motto was “With enough horsepower, you can make a bathtub fly.” (But that might not be what you had in mind.)

This site lists the specs for the various PA-28s and they appear (based on wingspan, wing, area, etc.) to be the same basic plane.

You might find what you are looking for (or find someone to point you to what you need) at the

Cherokee Pilot’s Association, (click on the Performance & Specifications link by scrolling down on the left.

From what I have read and seen, it appears there is a product line called Cherokee, designated as PA-28. From this stems numerous actual models, including the Arrow, Archer, and Warrior. They all share the same basic airframe, but with varying amounts of features and modifications.

The site of the Cherokee Pilot’s Assocation lists the Arrow, Archer, 140, 180, Warrior, 235, Dakota, Six, Lance, and Saratoga as being Cherokee models. I don’t understand the Saratoga part because a Saratoga is listed as a PA-32. If you really want to know, I’d call/email Piper or try emailing the guy who started the Cherokee association.