Pitcairn Mailwing

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Pitcairn pa-5 mailwing National Air and Space Museum photo D Ramey Logan.jpg
A Pitcairn Mailwing PA-5, displayed in the Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC
Role Mail Carrier and Sport
National origin USA
Manufacturer Pitcairn Aircraft Company
Designer Agnew E. Larson
First flight 1927
Introduction 1927
Primary user U.S. Postal Service
Number built 106
Developed from Pitcairn PA-4 Fleetwing II

The Pitcairn Mailwing family was a series of mail carrier and sport aircraft produced in the U.S. from 1927 to 1931.

Design and development[edit]

The Pitcairn Mailwings were developed by Pitcairn to carry air mail for the U.S. Postal Service. Of simple and robust construction, they also had relatively benign flying characteristics.

They were constructed using chrome-moly steel tube and square-section spruce spars with spruce and plywood built-up ribs. The fuselage was faired using wooden formers and covered with fabric. The tail sections were built up from steel tube and fabric-covered. The Pitcairn Mailwing had a ground-adjustable fin and in-flight adjustable tailplane, features not often seen in other aircraft.

The undercarriage was of outrigger type with Oleo-Spring shock absorbers and disc brakes on the mainwheels. All models looked very similar; changes were minor, with several fuselage extensions being the most obvious.

The mail was carried in a fireproof metal-lined compartment forward of the pilot's cockpit. The Mailwings were flown extensively by the U.S. Air Mail service from 1927 until the end of dedicated Air-Mail routes.

Pitcairn also built the same aircraft in sport versions for private use. These aircraft had the mail compartment removed, and a side-by-side two-seat cockpit was fitted.


  • PA-5 - original production version of 1927 with Wright J-5-9 engine; ATC 18 (32 built)
    • PA-5 Mailwing - mail carrier version
    • PA-5 Sport Mailwing - sport version with seats for two passengers
  • PA-6 - 1928 production version with Wright J-5-9 engine; ATC 2-22 (early), 92 (late) (53 built)
Pitcairn PA-6 Super Mailwing displayed at the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome Museum near New York in June 2005
    • PA-6 Super Mailwing - mail carrier version
      • PA-6B Super Mailwing - (1 converted from PA-6)
    • PA-6 Sport Mailwing - sport version with seats for two passengers
  • PA-7 - 1929 production version with Wright J-6 engine; ATC 196
PA-7A Sport Mailwing model on display
    • PA-7A Sport Mailwing
    • PA-7M Super Mailwing - mail carrier version (12 built)
PA-7S Super Sport Mailwing
    • PA-7S Super Sport Mailwing (15 built)
PA-8 model on display
  • PA-8 - 1930 production version with Wright J-6 engine; ATC 364
    • PA-8M Super Mailwing - mail carrier version (6 built)


 United States

Specifications (PA-5 Mailwing)[edit]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 1
  • Capacity: payload of 500 lb (230 kg)
  • Length: 21 ft 10½ in (6.9 m)
  • Wingspan: 33 ft 0 in (10.06 m)
  • Height: 9 ft 0 in (2.74 m)
  • Wing area: 252 ft2 (23.41 m2)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Wright J-5-9, 220 hp (164.05 kW)


  • Maximum speed: 131 mph (210 km/h)
  • Cruise speed: 112 mph (179 km/h)
  • Stall speed: 45 mph (72 km/h)
  • Service ceiling: 18,000 ft (5,486 m)
  • Rate of climb: 1,100 ft/min (5.6 m/s)


  1. ^ "Pitcairn". Retrieved 23 January 2011.


External links[edit]

Media related to Pitcairn Mailwing at Wikimedia Commons