What is the crank the pilot is operating above his head? Also what type of aircraft is this?

enter image description here

image source

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    $\begingroup$ Where did you get the image from? Is this a frame grab out of a video? Mind attributing the source? $\endgroup$ – Ron Beyer Jan 1 '17 at 6:54
  • $\begingroup$ I'm pretty sure that's out of Friendly Skies Film's YouTube channel, though exactly which video I don't know... $\endgroup$ – Michael Hampton Jan 1 '17 at 7:42
  • $\begingroup$ This is not the video from which this picture came, but it explains which way to turn the crank. $\endgroup$ – Michael Hampton Jan 1 '17 at 7:51
  • $\begingroup$ Aha, I was right! It was from his channel. That scene starts here. The plane is N8831N. $\endgroup$ – Michael Hampton Jan 1 '17 at 8:44
  • $\begingroup$ Oops, added the citation. It's a screen grab from the linked YouTube video $\endgroup$ – TomMcW Jan 1 '17 at 13:36

The pilot is operating the overhead stabilator trim crank in an early model Piper Cherokee. Here's a close up the trim crank:

Trim crank

Piper Cherokee overhead trim crank; image from tnwings.com

In later models, it was replaced with airliner type trim wheels

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    $\begingroup$ I commented on the other answer but the Comanche's also had this, it isn't clear which of the piper PA-24, 28 just from the picture. It may even be a Twin Comanche $\endgroup$ – Ron Beyer Jan 1 '17 at 6:51
  • $\begingroup$ @RonBeyer In other places in the video I grabbed that from they show a PA-28-151, reg # N8027F. Most likely the same plane. Hadn't thought of checking the tail num when I posted the question :) Never seen a trim crank on the ceiling before. But, I've never been in a piper before either $\endgroup$ – TomMcW Jan 1 '17 at 13:48
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    $\begingroup$ @TomMcW As I previously mentioned to you, the plane in your screenshot is N8831N. (See this video for the explanation.) $\endgroup$ – Michael Hampton Jan 1 '17 at 19:30

That's a pitch trim control. The older PA-28-140 Warriors had their manual elevator (stabilator) trim as an overhead crank like that. Later versions of the PA-28 moved the trim to a friction wheel between the front seats behind the flap lever.

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    $\begingroup$ The Comanche's have it too, I occasionally fly a PA-24-180 with the ceiling trim crank. A good way to remember how it works is you screw it in to go up, and unscrew it to go down. $\endgroup$ – Ron Beyer Jan 1 '17 at 6:48
  • $\begingroup$ @RonBeyer Better not screw it up! $\endgroup$ – flawr Jan 1 '17 at 15:36
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    $\begingroup$ My 1968 Cherokee has this design and when you first start to fly it you have to think about which way to crank. After a while you don’t think about it anymore and your hand just knows which way to crank. $\endgroup$ – JScarry Jan 1 '17 at 16:07
  • $\begingroup$ @JScarry Yep, becomes totally automatic after just a few hours. The same issue presents on trim wheel type systems; you just learn it with time. $\endgroup$ – J Walters Jan 2 '17 at 2:32

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