PA-20 Pacer
&
PA-22 Tri-Pacer
Family
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)
Developed from Piper PA-15 Vagabond
Variants Javelin V6 STOL
Piper PA-20-115 Pacer
Piper PA-20-115 Pacer
Ski-equipped PA-20 Pacer
Ski-equipped PA-20 Pacer
Piper PA-22-135 Tri-Pacer
Piper PA-22-135 Tri-Pacer
Piper PA-22-150 Tri-Pacer converted to conventional landing gear
Piper PA-22-150 Tri-Pacer converted to conventional landing gear
Piper PA-22 Colt
Piper PA-22 Colt
Piper PA-22-150 Caribbean
Piper PA-22-150 Caribbean

The PA-20 Pacer and PA-22 Tri-Pacer, Caribbean, and Colt are an American family of light strut-braced high-wing monoplane aircraft built by Piper Aircraft from 1949 to 1964.

The Pacer is essentially a four-place version of the two-place PA-17 Vagabond, with conventional landing gear, a steel tube fuselage and an aluminum frame wing covered with fabric, much like Piper's famous Cub and Super Cub. The Tri-Pacer is a development of the Pacer with tricycle landing gear, while the Colt is a two-seat flight training version of the Tri-Pacer. Prized for their ruggedness, spacious cabins, and, for the time, impressive speed, many of these aircraft continue to fly today.

Factory installed 108 hp (81 kW), 125 hp (93 kW), 135 hp (101 kW), 150 hp (110 kW), and 160 hp (120 kW) engine options were available, and 180 hp (130 kW) engine after-market conversions have been offered.

Development

The Pacer and the Tri-Pacer were the first post-World War II Piper designs with flaps and a control yoke instead of a center stick, and they belong to a sub-group of Piper aircraft popularly called "short wing Pipers," reflecting their shorter wingspans compared to the earlier J-3 Cub and PA-18 Super Cub.[1] The PA-20 Pacer is a tailwheel aircraft and thus has somewhat limited forward visibility on the ground and relatively 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.[2] Additionally, the Tri-Pacer offered higher-powered engine options in the form of 150 hp (110 kW) and 160 hp (120 kW) engines, whereas the largest engine available to the original Pacer had an output of 135 hp (101 kW).[3][citation needed] 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.[4] Due to the geometry of the nosewheel installation, the aircraft is sometimes called the "Flying Milk Stool."[5]

In 1959 and 1960 Piper offered a cheaper, less well-equipped version of the Tri-Pacer with a 150 hp (110 kW) Lycoming O-320 designated the PA-22-150 Caribbean.[6] Over 9400 Tri-Pacers were produced[3] between 1950 and 1964 when production ended, with 3280 still registered with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in April 2018.[7]

An unusual feature of the Tri-Pacer is bungees linking the ailerons and rudder to facilitate coordinated flight. The system can be easily overcome by the pilot as needed and allowed the installation of a simple autopilot marketed by Piper under the name Auto-control.[8][citation needed]

A trainer version of the PA-22 Tri-Pacer, the PA-22-108 Colt, was introduced to compete directly with other popular trainers such as the Cessna 150, and was powered by a 108 hp (81 kW) Lycoming O-235. Quickly designed in late 1960, the two-seat Colt was offered at a substantially lower price than the Tri-Pacer, and omitted the four-seat aircraft's flaps and second wing tank along with the rear side windows and door. The Colt otherwise closely resembles the Tri-Pacer, using the same front seats and door, landing gear, engine mounts, windshield, tail surfaces, struts and instrument panel. Over 2,000 Colts were manufactured and it was the last Pacer variant—and thus the last short wing Piper—to be dropped from production.[6][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]

Some PA-22s have been converted to a tailwheel 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 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.[10] Some PA-22s have a Hartzell constant-speed controllable propeller or Koppers Aeromatic propeller.[11] Each of these installations improves performance and economy at the sacrifice of payload. A few Colts have also been converted to tailwheel configuration, although this is not as popular as converting Tri-Pacers.[12][failed verification]

Operational history

Cuba

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 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.[13] 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.[14]

Katanga

During the Congo Crisis, Katangese separatists received five PA-22-150s from the South African Air Force for the Force aérienne katangaise which were deployed against ONUC forces between 1961 and 1963.[15]

Variants

PA-20
Four seats, conventional landing gear, 125 hp (93 kW) Lycoming O-290-D engine. Certified 21 December 1949.[16]
PA-20S
Three seats, conventional landing gear, optional float installation, 125 hp (93 kW) Lycoming O-290-D engine. Certified 18 May 1950.[16]
PA-20 115
Four seats, conventional landing gear, 115 hp (86 kW) Lycoming O-235-C1 engine. Certified 22 March 1950.[16]
PA-20S 115
Three-seat, conventional landing gear, optional float installation, 115 hp (86 kW) Lycoming O-235-C1 engine. Certified 18 May 1950.[16]
PA-20 135
Four seats, conventional landing gear, 135 hp (101 kW) Lycoming O-290-D2 engine. Certified 5 May 1952.[16]
PA-20S 135
Three seats, conventional landing gear, optional float installation, 135 hp (101 kW) Lycoming O-290-D2 engine. Certified 15 May 1952.[16]
PA-22
Four seats, tricycle landing gear, 125 hp (93 kW) Lycoming O-290-D engine. Certified 20 December 1950.[17]
PA-22-108 Colt
Two seats, tricycle landing gear, 108 hp (81 kW) Lycoming O-235-C1 or C1B engine. Certified 21 October 1960.[17]
PA-22-135
Four seats, tricycle landing gear, 135 hp (101 kW) Lycoming O-290-D2 engine. Certified 5 May 1952.[17]
PA-22S-135
Three seats, tricycle landing gear, optional float installation, 135 hp (101 kW) Lycoming O-290-D2 engine. Certified 14 May 1954.[17]
1959 PA-22-150 landing
1959 PA-22-150 landing
PA-22-150
Two or four seats, tricycle landing gear, 150 hp (110 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.[17]
PA-22-150 Caribbean
The Caribbean model was a 150 hp (110 kW) Lycoming O-320-A2A equipped model that remained in production after the 160 hp (120 kW) was introduced, to differentiate it.[6]
PA-22S-150
Three seats, tricycle landing gear, optional float installation, 150 hp (110 kW) Lycoming O-320-A2A or A2B engine. Certified 3 September 1954.[17]
PA-22-160
Two or four seats, tricycle landing gear, 160 hp (120 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.[17]
PA-22S-160
Three seats, tricycle landing gear, optional float installation, 160 hp (120 kW) Lycoming O-320-B2A or B2B engine. Certified 25 October 1957.[17]

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

Piper PA-20 Colt three view drawing
Piper PA-20 Colt three view drawing

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

General characteristics

Performance

See also

Related development

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration, and era

References

Citations

  1. ^ Twombly, 1990
  2. ^ Bridgman 1951, p. 281c.
  3. ^ a b "Airliners.com". Retrieved 2007-07-20.
  4. ^ Aerospace Year Book, 1962, p.57
  5. ^ Mejdrich, 1961, p.49
  6. ^ a b c Plane and Pilot: 1978 Aircraft Directory, pages 60–61. Werner & Werner Corp, Santa Monica CA, 1977. ISBN 0-918312-00-0
  7. ^ Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), ed. (21 April 2018). "FAA Registry - Piper PA-22". Retrieved 21 April 2018.
  8. ^ Flight. McFadden Business Publications Inc. 1972. p. 25.
  9. ^ "Piper Colt – AOPA". aopa.org. Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. Retrieved 26 January 2021.
  10. ^ Univair Aircraft Corporation, General catalogue, Piper STCs
  11. ^ Piper Parts Manual 752 450 Figure 50 & 51
  12. ^ "airliners.net". Retrieved 2007-07-20.
  13. ^ Hagedorn, 1993, p.18
  14. ^ Dabrowski, Krzysztof. "Air War over Cuba 1956–1959". ACIG.org. Retrieved 19 January 2013.
  15. ^ "Congo, Part 1; 1960–1963". ACIG. 2003. Archived from the original on 7 June 2007. Retrieved 2013-08-09.CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  16. ^ a b c d e f Federal Aviation Administration (August 2006). "AIRCRAFT SPECIFICATION NO. 1A4 Revision 24" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-06-08. Retrieved 2010-02-18.
  17. ^ a b c d e f g h Federal Aviation Administration (August 2006). "AIRCRAFT SPECIFICATION NO. 1A6 Revision 34" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-06-08. Retrieved 2010-02-18.

Bibliography