The prototype “Comanche” first flew on 24 May 1956, and the first production aircraft on 21 October 1957. A total of 3,938 had been produced in four versions, with engines of different powers, by 1 January 1965.
The original “Comanche” had a 180 hp Lycoming engine. The second version, the “Comanche 250” with a 250 hp Lycoming engine, received FAA type approval on 7 March 1958. During 1965 the available versions were as follows:
PA-24-260 Comanche 260:
Basic model of “Comanche 260” which was announced on 28 August 1964, as a replacement for the Comanche 250. Powered by 260 hp Lycoming O-540 or IO-540 engine. Normal fuel capacity 60 US gallons (227 liters), with optional extra 30 US gallons (113.5 liters). Introduced cleaned-up landing gear, with single-fork main legs, which create less drag when retracted. Improved cabin soundproofing, heating and ventilation.
PA-24-260 Comanche 260 Custom 93:
Same as standard Comanche 260, with addition of vacuum system, full blind-flying instrumentation, Narco Mk 12 90-channel VHF transceiver with separate 100-channel nav receiver, Narco VOA-6 VOR converter indicator, Bendix ADF-T12, headset, microphone and radio selector panel, Piper TruSpeed Indicator in place of standard ASI, rotating beacon, heated pitot tube, 30 US gallon (113.5 liter) auxiliary fuel tanks.
PA-24-260 Comanche 260 Custom 103:
Same as Custom 93, with addition of Piper AutoControl II and V0A-4 VOR/ILS localizer converter instead of the VOA-6.
PA-24-260 Comanche 260 Custom 113:
Same as Custom 113, with the addition of Piper Course Selector DG to replace zero heading DG.
PA-24-260 Comanche 260 Custom 123:
Same as Custom 113, but with Piper AltiMatic II in place of AutoControl II, plus automatic electric trim, which converts to manual electric tram went AltiMatic II is disengaged.
PA-24-260 Comanche 260 Executive 203:
Same as Custom 103, with the addition of Narco Mk 12 360-channel transceiver, second Narco VOA-4 VOR/ILS localizer converter indicator, Piper PM-1 marker beacon, glare ban instrumentation lights and Piper manual electric trim.
PA-24-260 Comanche 260 Executive 213:
Same as Executive 203, but with Piper Course Selector DG instead of zero heading DG.
PA-24-260 Comanche 260 Executive 223:
Same as Executive 213, but with AltiMatic II automatic electric pitch trim replacing AutoControl II.
PA-24-260 Comanche 260 Sportsman 303:
Same as Executive 203, plus Palm Beach interior with leather upholstery, two front seat headrests and rear seat pillow, curtains, and Palm Beach exterior.
PA-24-260 Comanche 260 Sportsman 313:
Same as Sportsman 303, but with Piper Course Selector DG instead of zero heading DG.
PA-24-260 Comanche 260 Sportsman 323:
Same as Sportsman 313, but with Piper AltiMatic II with automatic electric pitch trim replacing AutoControl II.
PA-24-260 Comanche 260 Professional 403:
Same as a Sportsman 303, but with two Narco Mk 12 360-channel transceivers, one Narco VOA-4 VOR/ILS localizer converter indicator, one Narco VOA-5 VOR/ILS localizer converter indicator with glide-scope indication, Narco UGR-1A glide-slope receiver, Narco UDI-3 DME/GSI, Piper external power unit and anti-static antennae.
PA-24-260 Comanche 260 Professional 413:
Same as Professional 403, but with new production Piper 3-in gyros in place of re-manufactured 5-in gyros, radio coupling to Omni and Piper course selector DG.
PA-24-260 Comanche 260 Professional 423:
Same as Professional 413, but with Piper AltiMatic II replacing AutoControl II.
The following details refer to the basic PA-24-260 “Standard Comanche 260”, but are generally applicable to the other versions except for the detailed changes listed above.