Piper PA-20 Pacer / PA-22 Tripacer


The PA-22 was the culmination of a line starting with the PA-15. The Vagabond was produced as a 'no frills' competitor against the surplus aircraft which dominated the light aircraft market in the mid to late 1940's. The prototype PA-15 was flown on October 29. 1947. Powered by an 65hp Avco Lycoming O-145-B2, the two seater was similar in configuration to the earlier Cub. In late 1948 with the light aircraft market improving, Piper released the PA-17 which included what would be considered 'frills'. Production of the two models amounted to 585 aircraft.

In 1949 Piper went on to release a 4 seat aircraft powered by a 115hp Avco Lycoming O-235-C1. They went on to produce 726 of the aircraft designated the PA-16 Clipper. In 1950 Piper produced a refinement of the Clipper. With a larger tail area, balanced elevators, improved undercarriage, more fuel capacity, a wheel instead of a control stick, and more refined interior. This was the PA-20 Pacer. Initially the aircraft was produced with the 115hp O-235-C1 or 125hp O-290-D. From 1952 the options were a 125hp (Pacer 125), or 135hp Avco Lycoming powerplant with variable pitch propeller (Pacer 135). When production ended in 1955 1,119 aircraft had been built.

The PA-22 Tripacer was first flown in 1950 and introduced onto the market in 1951. This was essentially a Pacer revised for a tricycle undercarriage, and fitted with an O-290-D engine. Later models were fitted with the 150hp O-320 engine. This was later uprated to 160hp, and other refinements were made. Production ended in 1960 with 7,668 aircraft built including the later 'no frills' 150hp model marketed as the Caribbean.

A further development followed the end of production of the Tripacer. In November 1960, Piper announced the PA-22-108 Colt. This was a two seat aircraft substantially similar to the Tripacer and using the same tooling. Powered by the 108hp Avco Lycoming O-235-C1B, the aircraft was slightly shorter, had no flaps, a slightly increased wingspan, and dual controls. Designed as a cheap entry level option, the aircraft was sold in Standard, Custom, and Super Custom options, depending on equipment and instrumentation. It proved popular with aeroclubs as a trainer, and 1,827 aircraft were produced over a three year period.

A number of PA-22 and Tripacer variants have found their way to New Zealand over the years. There are currently (1 August 1999) :

The PA-22-160 was a late import having arrived in New Zealand from Australia (where it operated as VH-PAI) in January 1995. Several Tripacers, including ZK-BSI (no longer active) and ZK-PAT (illustrated below), wer modified with a tail wheel kit to return it to a PA-20 standard.

Last Update:- 10 November, 2000

Technical Data

Data is for the PA-22-160


Close Up

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