Laviasa PA-25-235 Puelche Biplaza (two-seat Piper Pawnee derivative)


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Dec 31, 2008
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The Argentine manufacturer Laviasa, still makes the venerable Piper PA-25 Pawnee agricultural plane under license as the Puelche (named for an indigenous people of Argentina.) Back in 2009, the company flew a very interesting new two-seat derivative with a full bubble canopy and raised rear seat intended for training of agricultural and private pilots (presumably taildragger conversions), forest fire detection and glider/banner towing.


I am very surprised that no one has sought to use it as a low-cost aerial surveillance platform, perhaps even with a secondary very light attack capability. The single-seat version can carry 545 kg in the hopper. Shedding the hopper itself and the spray system, adding armored seats and fuel tanks, and maybe same armor for the engine and a secondary armored windscreen should still leave quite a bit of weight -- 300 kg? -- for sensors, additional radios, even a few smart munitions or a machine gun. It's a remarkably rugged and well-proven airframe that would stand up to hard use.