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The mother-daughter team of Texans Marion P. Jayne and Patricia Jayne Keefer won the 1994 Round the World Air Race in the Piper Twin Comanche!

Piper Aircraft’s most successful series of single-engine PA24 and twin-engine PA30/39 aircraft were the all-metal Comanche models. Piper built about 7,000 between 1958 and 1972. During training for single-engine operations, several fatal accidents occurred in the early models due to precise handling and rapid stall characteristics. Piper altered the design, and the FAA changed its training requirements which led to a much better safety record.

History of this Aircraft

This aircraft was purchased by Marion and George Jayne for their family equestrian business in 1970. ATP pilot Marion P. Jayne (1926-1996) won her first international race from Ohio to Nicaragua in 1971. She holds the record for the most cross-country speed air race victories. She was inducted into the WAI Pioneer Hall of Fame in 2000 and was named a 100 Aviation Hero at the First Century of Flight Kitty Hawk Celebration in 2003 along with the Wright Brothers, Charles Lindbergh, Amelia Earhart and other legendary aviators.

In 1994, the mother-daughter team of Texans Marion P. Jayne and Patricia Jayne Keefer won FAI Gold Medals for the longest race in history flying this plane. The race covered 21,000 miles around in the world during 12 days over a 24-day period. Marion and Nancy Jayne Palozola were the first mother-daughter team race around the world in 1992 and earned second place.

This plane is the only US aircraft and the only twin-engine plane to have raced in two around-the-world competitions. The plane was flown on 5 of 7 continents. The custom paint scheme was designed by Marion and enhanced by Pat when it was repainted in 2008. A stock model Twin Comanche has 4 fuel tanks holding 90 gallons. For the 1994 world race the plane had 11 tanks holding 252 gallons.

Texas Connection

Roanoke, Texas was the launching airport for the trips to the start locations for both world races. Patricia Jayne “Pat” Keefer and husband Ken Keefer donated the plane to LSFM in 2021. Their donation honors the legacy of Marion P. Jayne and supports STEM programs at the museum. Pat Keefer is the former Chair/CEO of U.S. Air Race, Inc., a Texas-based non-profit organization dedicated to increasing pilot skills, promoting safe flying, and providing learn-to-fly scholarships.

Photo Credit: Dan O’Neil Photography


Quick facts

  • Manufacturer: Piper Aircraft
  • Country: United States
  • Type: Civil Utility
  • Engine: 2 x 160 hp Lycoming IO320-B1A and LIO320-B1A
  • Maximum speed: 205 mph
  • Armament: None
  • Ceiling: 20, 000 feet
  • Range: 1,628 miles
  • Crew: 1.00
  • Length: 25 feet 2 inches
  • Wingspan: 36 feet 10 inches
  • Number built: 7,000
  • Approximate Fuel Burn: 17 gal/hr

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