- Aircraft History, Specification and Information -
Piper PA-16 Clipper
N6800K Piper PA-16 Clipper
N6800K Piper PA-16 Clipper
Photo taken at Arlington Northwest EAA Fly-In 2007 - Arlington, WA USA (KAWO)
Photo © Marcel Siegenthaler

The Piper PA-16 Clipper is an extended fuselage model of the PA-15 Vagabond. Both models were designed in 1947 for the same reason - Piper Aircraft found itself in dire financial straits and needed to create new, competitive models using existing parts and tooling. The result was the Vagabond, essentially a side-by-side version of the tandem J-3 Cub credited with saving the company.


The PA-16 Clipper is a stretched and refined version of the Vagabond intended to seat four people (or "two-and-a-half to three" as often told by Clipper pilots). It is equipped with an extra wing tank, added doors to accommodate the new seating, and a Lycoming O-235, the same engine that would later power the Cessna 152 and the PA-22-108 Colt, itself essentially a Vagabond with a nosewheel. The PA-16 Clipper retained the control sticks that had up to that point been common in aircraft derived from the "Cub" family.


In 1949, the Clipper sold for $2995. The average four place airplane on the market at that time cost over $5000. Only 736 Clippers were built in the one year of production before Piper changed to the Piper PA-20 Pacer.


Pan Am Airlines, who traditionally called its famous luxury airliners "Clippers", took offense at Piper using the name for their light aircraft. As a result of this pressure Piper further refined the model, adding wing flaps, further fuel tanks and replaced the control sticks with yokes. A more powerful Lycoming O-290 125 hp engine was installed and this model became the Piper PA-20 Pacer.

Specifications (Piper PA-16)

General characteristics
Crew: one
Capacity: three passengers
Length: 20 ft 1 in (6.12 m)
Wingspan: 29 ft 3 in (8.92 m)
Height: 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Empty weight: 850 lb (385 kg)
Loaded weight: 1,650 lb (750 kg)
Useful load: 800 lb (362 kg)
Max takeoff weight: 1,650 lb (748 kg)
Powerplant: 1× Lycoming O-235 with cruise pitch propeller, 115 hp (86 kW)

Never exceed speed: 122 knots (140 mph, 225 km/h)
Maximum speed: 109 knots (125 mph, 203 km/h)
Cruise speed: 102 knots (117 mph, 188 km/h)
Stall speed: 43 knots (50 mph, 80 km/h)
Range: 417 nmi (480 mi, 778 km)
Service ceiling: 11,000 feet (3385 m)
Rate of climb: 580 ft/min (177 m/min)
Power/mass: 14.34 lb/hp (0.115 kW/kg)

Originally none were fitted. Many now have VHF Nav-com radios, GPS and transponders installed.

Last updated August 31, 2010
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Piper PA-16 Clipper".
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