For more than 60 years, this Piper Apache has gone a few places, seen a few things, carried a few passengers and trained a few pilots.
The picture above shows Sweet Potato on the ramp at the First Flight Airport with the Wright Brothers Memorial in the background, possibly taken by the plane's former owner. It was previously registered to an owner in North Carolina (the internet is great for some things...).
Consider this: Sweet Potato came off the assembly line just 51 years after Orville and Wilber made that first powered flight in 1903. The airplane is now more than 60 years old! There's plenty of history in this story.
The plane has had plenty of adventures and plenty of owners over the years. FAA records show 5 different owners in just the past 15 years.
One of those owners is Bob Stark who runs the Twin Oaks Airpark in Hillsboro, Oregon. He chuckled as soon as I mentioned the tail number N1017P.
"Oh wow, that was a good old bird," he recalled during a recent phone conversation we had while checking in with the former owner who utilized N1017P primarily as a multi-engine trainer.
Bob has another PA23 with a spiffy, modernized panel (see below) and the Geronimo conversion, which adds 180hp engines to the airframe.
Besides its stint in Oregon (just outside of Portland), Sweet Potato has also recently lived in Colorado, North Carolina and now here in Gulf Shores, Alabama.
Stay tuned for more!