Piper PA-20 Pacer

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PA-20 Pacer
&
PA-22 Tri-Pacer
Family
Piper PA-22-150TD Tri-Pacer Kyabram Vabre.jpg
Piper PA-22-150 Tri-Pacers. The red one is in original configuration, while the blue one has been converted to conventional landing gear
Role Civil utility aircraft
Manufacturer Piper Aircraft
First flight 1949 (PA-20)
1950 (PA-22)
Produced 1950-1954 (PA-20)
1950-1964 (PA-22)
Number built 1120 (PA-20)
9490 (PA-22)
Variants Javelin V6 STOL
Piper PA-20-115 Pacer
Ski-equipped PA-20 Pacer at Stockholm's Bromma Airport in March 1968
A Tri-Pacer restored to its original factory paint scheme.
A Piper PA-22-135 Tri-Pacer
A Piper PA-22-150 Tri-Pacer that was converted to conventional landing gear, rendering it very similar to a Piper PA-20 Pacer
Miss Pearl, an award winning conversion of a Piper PA-22-135 Tri-Pacer to conventional landing gear.
Piper PA-22 Colt at Uetersen Airport

The PA-20 Pacer and PA-22 Tri-Pacer are a family of four-place, strut braced, high-wing light aircraft that were built by Piper Aircraft in the post-World War II period.

The Pacer was essentially a four-place version of the two-place PA-17 Vagabond light aircraft. It features a steel tube fuselage and an aluminum frame wing, covered with fabric, much like Piper's most famous aircraft, the Cub and Super Cub. An aircraft prized for its ruggedness, spacious cabin, and, for its time, impressive speed, many Pacers continue to fly today.

Factory installed 125 hp (93 kW), 135 hp (100 kW) and 150 hp (112 kW) engine options were available and 160 hp (120 kW) as well as 180 hp (135 kW) engine after-market conversions are an option.

Development[edit]

The Piper PA-20 Pacer was originally designed as a tailwheel aircraft and thus had somewhat limited forward visibility on the ground and more demanding ground-handling characteristics. To help introduce more pilots to easier, safer flying, from February 1951, Piper introduced the PA-22 Tri-Pacer with a nosewheel instead of the tailwheel landing gear.[1] Additionally, the Tri-Pacer offered higher-powered engine options in the form of 150 hp (112 kW) and 160 HP (120 kW) engines, whereas the largest engine available to the original Pacer had an output of 135 hp (100 kW).[2] At the time the tricycle undercarriage became a popular preference and 1953 saw the PA-22 Tri-Pacer outsell the Pacer by a ratio of six to one.[3] Due to the geometry of the nosewheel installation it is sometimes referred as the "Flying Milk Stool".[4]

In 1959 and 1960 Piper offered a cheaper, less well-equipped version of the Tri-Pacer with a 150 HP (112 kW) Lycoming O-320 designated the PA-22-150 Caribbean.[5] Over 8000 Tri-Pacers were produced between 1953 and 1960 when production ended, with over 2000 still registered with the FAA in 2006.

An unusual feature of the Tri-Pacer is the incorporation of bungee-linked ailerons and rudder. Beside simplifying the coordination of inflight manoeuvres, this system which can easily be overcome by the pilot as required, allowed the installation of a simplified form of autopilot marketed by Piper under the name Auto-control.[6]

A small number of PA-22s have been converted to taildragger configuration, resulting in an aircraft that is very similar to a PA-20 Pacer, but which retains the model refinements and features of the PA-22. These conversions are often referred to by owners as PA-22/20s and are often listed in classified aircraft ads as such, although officially such converted aircraft continue to be designated by the FAA as PA-22 Tri-Pacers. When this conversion is accomplished, a 2 puck disc brake conversion is usually installed in place of the original drum brakes, and the Lycoming O-360 180 HP engine is the preferred upgrade.[7] Some PA-22s have a Hartzell constant-speed controllable propeller or Koppers Aeromatic propeller.[8] Each of these installations improves performance/economy at the sacrifice of payload.

A trainer version of the PA-22 Tri-Pacer was designed and designated the PA-22-108 Colt. It was intended to compete directly with other popular trainers of the day, such as the Cessna 150 and was powered by a 108 hp (80 kW) Lycoming O-235. Over 2,000 Colts were manufactured during the two production years.[5]

The Colt closely resembles the Tri-Pacer and uses the same landing gear, engine mounts, seats, windshield, door, tail surfaces, struts and the same instrument panel as well.[5] A few Colts have also been converted to tailwheel configuration, although this is not as popular as converting Tri-Pacers.[9]

The last batch of 12 PA-22-150s were built for the French Army in 1963 and the last of the family a PA-22-108 Colt was completed on 26 March 1964. The type was replaced on the Vero Beach production line by the PA-28 Cherokee 140.[citation needed]

Operational history[edit]

Cuba[edit]

Between 1953 and 1955, the Cuban Army Air Force (Fuerza Aérea Ejército de Cuba, or FAEC) received 7 PA-20s, 4 PA-22-150s, and 3 and PA-22-160s. During the Cuban Revolution, PA-22s had their rear-doors removed and a .30 caliber machine gun installed in its place for use against insurgents, along with hand-dropped grenades.[10] A PA-22 providing ground support for the Cuban Army during the Battle of Guisa is believed to be the lone aircraft lost by the FAEC to enemy fire.[11]

Katanga[edit]

During the Congo Crisis, Katangese separatists received five PA-22-150s from the South African Air Force for the Force Aérienne Katangaise. Deployed against ONUC forces between 1961 and 1963, their status at the end of the conflict remained somewhat uncertain.[12]

Variants[edit]

PA-20
Four-seat, conventional landing gear, light cabin aircraft, powered by a 125 hp (93 kW) Lycoming O-290-D engine. Certified 21 December 1949.[13]
PA-20S
Three-seat, conventional landing gear, light cabin aircraft, with optional float installation, powered by a 125 hp (93 kW) Lycoming O-290-D engine. Certified 18 May 1950.[13]
PA-20 115
Four-seat, conventional landing gear, light cabin aircraft, powered by a 115 hp (86 kW) Lycoming O-235-C1 engine. Certified 22 March 1950.[13]
PA-20S 115
Three-seat, conventional landing gear, light cabin aircraft, with optional float installation, powered by a 115 hp (86 kW) Lycoming O-235-C1 engine. Certified 18 May 1950.[13]
PA-20 135
Four-seat, conventional landing gear, light cabin aircraft, powered by a 135 hp (101 kW) Lycoming O-290-D2 engine. Certified 5 May 1952.[13]
PA-20S 135
Three-seat, conventional landing gear, light cabin aircraft, with optional float installation, powered by a 135 hp (101 kW) Lycoming O-290-D2 engine. Certified 15 May 1952.[13]
PA-22
Four-seat, tricycle landing gear, light cabin aircraft, powered by a 125 hp (93 kW) Lycoming O-290-D engine. Certified 20 December 1950.[14]
PA-22-108 Colt
Two-seat, tricycle landing gear, light cabin aircraft, powered by a 108 hp (81 kW) Lycoming O-235-C1 or C1B engine. Certified 21 October 1960.[14]
PA-22-135
Four-seat, tricycle landing gear, light cabin aircraft, powered by a 135 hp (101 kW) Lycoming O-290-D2 engine. Certified 5 May 1952.[14]
PA-22S-135
Three-seat, tricycle landing gear, light cabin aircraft, with optional float installation, powered by a 135 hp (101 kW) Lycoming O-290-D2 engine. Certified 14 May 1954.[14]
1959 PA-22 150 landing
PA-22-150
Two or four-seat, tricycle landing gear, light cabin aircraft, powered by a 150 hp (112 kW) Lycoming O-320-A2A or A2B engine. Certified 3 September 1952 as a four place in the normal category and 24 May 1957 as a two place in the utility category.[14]
PA-22S-150
Three-seat, tricycle landing gear, light cabin aircraft, with optional float installation, powered by a 150 hp (112 kW) Lycoming O-320-A2A or A2B engine. Certified 3 September 1954.[14]
PA-22-160
Two or four-seat, tricycle landing gear, light cabin aircraft, powered by a 160 hp (119 kW) Lycoming O-320-B2A or B2B engine. Certified 3 September 1952 as a four place in the normal category and as a two place in the utility category.[14]
PA-22S-160
Three-seat, tricycle landing gear, light cabin aircraft, with optional float installation, powered by a 160 hp (119 kW) Lycoming O-320-B2A or B2B engine. Certified 25 October 1957.[14]

Specifications (1958 PA-22-160 Tri-Pacer)[edit]

Data from Piper PA-22-160 pilot's operating handbook, issued January 1960

General characteristics

  • Crew: one
  • Capacity: three passengers
  • Length: 20 ft 6 in (6.25 m)
  • Wingspan: 29 ft 3 in (8.92 m)
  • Height: 8 ft 4 in (2.54 m)
  • Wing area: 147.5 sq ft (13.70 m2)
  • Empty weight: 1,110 lb (503 kg)
  • Gross weight: 2,000 lb (907 kg)
  • Fuel capacity: 36 U.S. gallons (140 L; 30 imp gal)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Lycoming O-320-B four cylinder, four-stroke, air-cooled, horizontally opposed, piston aircraft engine, 160 hp (120 kW)
  • Propellers: 2-bladed metal, fixed pitch

Performance

  • Maximum speed: 141 mph (227 km/h; 123 kn)
  • Cruise speed: 134 mph (116 kn; 216 km/h) 75% power, 7000ft
  • Stall speed: 49 mph (43 kn; 79 km/h)
  • Range: 500 mi (434 nmi; 805 km) with reserves, 610 with optional tank
  • Endurance: 3:30 at 65% power with one hour reserve
  • Service ceiling: 16,500 ft (5,029 m)
  • Rate of climb: 800 ft/min (4.1 m/s)
  • Wing loading: 13.5 lb/sq ft (66 kg/m2)

See also[edit]

Related development
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bridgman 1951, p. 281c.
  2. ^ "Airliners.com". Retrieved 2007-07-20. 
  3. ^ The Aerospace Year Book. Manufacturers Aircraft Association, Inc. 1962. p. 57. 
  4. ^ Mejdrich, Terry (1961). Flight: London. Iliffe Transport Publications. pp. page 49. 
  5. ^ a b c Plane and Pilot: 1978 Aircraft Directory, pages 60-61. Werner & Werner Corp, Santa Monica CA, 1977. ISBN 0-918312-00-0
  6. ^ Flight. McFadden Business Publications Inc. 1972. p. 25. 
  7. ^ Univair Aircraft Corporation, General catalogue, Piper STCs
  8. ^ Piper Parts Manual 752 450 Figure 50 & 51
  9. ^ "airliners.net". Retrieved 2007-07-20. 
  10. ^ "History of the Cuban Military Aviation". AVSTOP.COM. Retrieved 19 January 2013. 
  11. ^ Dabrowski, Krzysztof. "Air War over Cuba 1956-1959". ACIG.org. Retrieved 19 January 2013. 
  12. ^ "Congo, Part 1; 1960-1963". ACIG. 2003. Retrieved 2013-08-09. 
  13. ^ a b c d e f Federal Aviation Administration (August 2006). "AIRCRAFT SPECIFICATION NO. 1A4 Revision 24". Retrieved 2010-02-18. 
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h Federal Aviation Administration (August 2006). "AIRCRAFT SPECIFICATION NO. 1A6 Revision 34". Retrieved 2010-02-18. 
  • Bridgman, Leonard (1951). Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1951–52. London: Sampson Low, Marston & Company, Ltd.