Design of the “Warrior” began in June 1972, an important feature being the replacement of the earlier constant chord wings of the “Cherokee” series by a longer span wing with tapered outer panels. As a result of its introduction, the “Warrior”, which at that time had essentially the same 150 hp (112 kW) engine as the discontinued “Cherokee Cruiser”, was certificated at a maximum T-O weight 175 lb (79 kg) greater. First flight of a prototype was made on 17 October 1972, and FAA certification of the original model, PA-28-151 was granted on 9 August 1973.
The 1986 PA-28-161 “Warrior II” version, first flown on 27 of August 1976, has a 160 hp (119 kW) engine which operates on 100 octane low-lead fuel. The 1986 version offers a basic optional equipment package, Executive, comprising: blind-flying instrumentation with 3 in inch gyros; clock; outside air temperature gauge; exhaust gas temperature gauge; rate of climb and true airspeed indicators; instrument panel lights, white backlighting; overhead red spotlight; cabin dome, avionics dimming, navigation, landing and taxi lights; rotating beacon; assist strap at door; aircraft step; engine primer system; engine driven an electric vacuum pump with vacuum gauge; quick oil drain; wheel fairings; towbar; pilot's vertically adjustable seat, sun visors, alternate static source, heated pitot, emergency locator transmitter, strobe lights, external power socket, and 35Ah battery.
In addition, five optional avionics groups were available for factory installation in the “Warrior II”.
A total of 2,905 “Warriors” had been sold by one January 1987. Later sales included 12 for the Royal Jordanian Air Academy and 19 for the British Aerospace Flying College at Prestwick Airport, Scotland. These aircraft were used for training commercial and military pilot cadets, commencing in January 1988 with trainees sponsored by British Airways.
Specifications and Performance Data (1987 Piper PA-28-161 “Warrior II”) ²