Aircraft History, Specification and Information
Piper PA-20 Pacer
 

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

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, in 1953 the PA-20 was redesigned and offered as the PA-22 Tri-Pacer with a nosewheel instead of the tailwheel landing gear. 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). 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. Due to the geometry of the nosewheel installation it is sometimes referred as the "Flying Milk Stool".

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. Over 8000 Tri-Pacers were produced between 1953 and 1960 when production ended, with over 2000 still registered with the FAA in 2006.

The 1959 price for the PA-22 Caribbean was $8,395, the Deluxe version $9,395, The standard 160HP version $8,890 and the Super Custom with radios and full panel was $10,770. The PA-22 Colt in Standard, Custom and Super Custom ranged between $4,995 and $6,995.

An unusual feature of the Tri-Pacer is the incorporation of bungee linked ailerons and rudder. Beside simplifying the coordination of in-flight 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.

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. Some PA-22s have a Hartzell Constant speed controllable propeller or Koppers Aeromatic propeller 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. The Colt was available 1961-1964.

The Colt is essentially a PA-22 Tri-Pacer with the rear seats and windows removed, only one fuel tank in the left wing, no flaps, no rear door and other detail changes that were implemented to reduce cost and complexity. An auxiliary fuel tank was available, of the same 18 US gallon capacity as the main tank, that could be installed in the right wing. Like the earlier Vagabond, the Colt features side-by-side seating for two, however the Vagabond has stick controls and the Colt has control wheels. The PA-22-108 uses a single puck disc brake in place of drum brakes fitted to previous models. A few Colts have also been converted to tailwheel configuration, although this is not as popular as converting Tri-Pacers. 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.

Variants

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Specifications (1958 PA-22-160 Tri-Pacer)

General characteristics
Crew: one pilot
Capacity: three passengers
Length: 20.6 feet (6.28 m)
Wingspan: 29.3 feet (8.93 m)
Height: 8.3 feet (2.53 m)
Wing area: 147.5 ft² (13.7 m²)
Empty weight: 1110 lb (503 kg)
Loaded weight: 2000 lb (907 kg)
Useful load: 890 lb ()
Powerplant: 1× Lycoming O-320-B two-blade fixed pitch, 160 hp (119 kW)135 hp (100 kW)
Wing loading: 13.51 lb/ft²
Fuel capacity: 36 U.S. gal
Fuel consumption: 8 gal/hr (75% power)
Cabin width: 40 in
Cabin height: 36 in
Baggage capacity: 100 lb
Takeoff ground roll: 1120 ft
Landing ground roll: 1120 ft

Performance
Maximum speed: 123 knots (142 mph, 227 km/h)
Cruise speed: 113 knots (75% power) (135 mph, 216 km/h)
Stall speed: 42 knots (48 mph, 78 km/h)
Range: 435 nmi (75% power w/reserve) (540 mi, 862 km)
Service ceiling: 16,500 feet (5,030 m)
Rate of climb: 800 ft/min (244 m/min)
Power/mass: 12.5 lb/hp

Last updated June 15, 2011
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Piper PA-20 Pacer".
By use of this site, you accept the Terms And Conditions Of Use | Privacy Policy | Contact Us
Copyright © 2004-2012 Airplane Mart Publishing. All rights reserved.