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Nov 02, 2015, 11:33 AM
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Piper PA-22 Tri-Pacer

In the early 1950's, Piper upgraded their PA-20 Pacer, adding tricycle landing gear and greater power options. Tri-Pacers proved quite popular and could boast performance capabilities (cruise speed, load etc.) comparable to Cessna's sleeker 172's, at considerably less cost.

I rather like this simple scale drawing:
Has a lot to recommend it, despite one or two problems.

First, note left side door is shown aft, and that right side door is ghosted -in forward (beyond, on right). Now look at top view (at wing TE's), which shows right side stringers positioned slightly farther out than the left. This is correct. The Tri-Pacer is noticeably asymmetric in side to side fuselage shapes. This is largely due to door positions and relative stringer termination, at/near aft door edges. The steel tube frame juts out noticeably at rear of left side door, but adds less to max half breadth, of that side. Weird, but true. My '56 Tri-Pacer was thus and had me scratching my head until I tore into the doors for re-build.
I've not compared such features on later Piper Colt but have seen from photos(Google Images), that this model has only one door, located front right side. Corrections/clarifications PLEASE. Windshield shown is flat wrapped style, but formed compound curvature type (factory) is OK, too.

On the debit side, this drawing shows an incorrect airfoil. See :
BTW- this is exact same as Piper's J-3 and other Cubs, and for all intents and purposes, ribs will inter-change.
Also, fuselage sections A and B seem a bit stylized, while the same views, discernible in front view, are more correct.
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Nov 02, 2015, 12:57 PM
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Drawing © by AIR PROGRESS November 1964
Nov 02, 2015, 12:58 PM
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Drawing © by PIPER Aircraft
Nov 02, 2015, 01:40 PM
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Tri Pacer Twin
Drawing © by PIPER Aircraft

Nov 03, 2015, 09:28 AM
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from wikipedia:
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.

All that ... and a combat history!:


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 and 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. 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.

During the Congo Crisis, Katangese separatists received five PA-22-150s from the South African Air Force for the Force Aérienne Katangaise. Deployed against ONUC forces between 1961 and 1963, their status at the end of the conflict remained somewhat uncertain.

General characteristics

Crew: one
Capacity: three passengers
Length: 20 ft 6 in (6.25 m)
Wingspan: 29 ft 3 in (8.92 m)
Height: 8 ft 4 in (2.54 m)
Wing area: 147.5 sq ft (13.70 m2)
Empty weight: 1,110 lb (503 kg)
Gross weight: 2,000 lb (907 kg)
Fuel capacity: 36 U.S. gallons (140 L; 30 imp gal)
Powerplant: 1 × Lycoming O-320-B four cylinder, four-stroke, air-cooled, horizontally opposed, piston aircraft engine, 160 hp (120 kW)
Propellers: 2-bladed metal, fixed pitch


Maximum speed: 141 mph (227 km/h; 123 kn)
Cruise speed: 134 mph (116 kn; 216 km/h) 75% power, 7000ft
Stall speed: 49 mph (43 kn; 79 km/h)
Range: 500 mi (434 nmi; 805 km) with reserves, 610 with optional tank
Endurance: 3:30 at 65% power with one hour reserve
Service ceiling: 16,500 ft (5,029 m)
Rate of climb: 800 ft/min (4.1 m/s)
Wing loading: 13.5 lb/sq ft (66 kg/m2)

Nov 03, 2015, 02:26 PM
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Thread OP
When I had mine, I used to tell people I finally bought a "warbird'. Tongue in cheek of course!.

IIRC, Turkey had a precision flight team that operated a flight of Tri-pacers. The Camou Angles??!!

Seriously. All of the drawings presented so far seem to have been generated from the factory 3-view provided by espenlaub. Thank you sir!
However, the cowl drawing (also post #3) seems not quite right for Tri-pacer. Could it be a PA-17 Vagabond cowl???
Nov 04, 2015, 04:54 AM
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Could it be a PA-17 Vagabond cowl???
sorry:mit den Augen rollen:
Nov 04, 2015, 04:55 AM
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Airfoil USA 35B
Nov 04, 2015, 02:49 PM
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More good stuff! Thanks espenlaub.

No apology required.
Apr 12, 2019, 01:18 AM
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By any chance would anybody have any outline drawings of the Tri Pacer's wheel spats (wheel covers)? Thanks.
Apr 12, 2019, 11:08 AM
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Thread OP
But of course original option items probably were available and no doubt, after-market suppliers have been offering something suitable fo,r years. I owned a T-Pacer for a few years and never once thought about them for my project! SO,.... I just went to Google Images and noted several examples. Most seem to be of a particular type, so there a good chance they were/are original options, etc. Howeve,r there also appears to a couple of different designs that are a bit more streamline. (after market?) Anyway the only drawing I know of Tri-Pacer wheel fairings (pants) are shown way back in Post#2. I suppose they are scale-able?
Apr 13, 2019, 03:04 AM
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In June, a small type history of the Piper PA-22 is published in a German magazine. I also made some drawings.

Drawing © by Hans-Jürgen Fischer


Do you have your own photos of the beautifully restored North American T-6? I'm looking for that.
Not from the internet, you have to have your own photos
Apr 13, 2019, 05:14 AM
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@ packardpursuit - Thanks for your reply. I thought that the Tri Pacer had standard wheel spats and did not know that there were after-market spats for them and that is why I asked. Thanks again.

@ Hans-Jürgen. I do not know which AT-6 you are referring to but at our Aviation Museum we have an AT-6 on show and if you need any close up photos I can go to the museum and take them for you. Let me know.
As for the Tri-Pacer thanks for the drawings. I presume the German magazine is the Modell-Aviator but is it shown in the June 2019 edition or the June 2018? Thanks for your feedback too
Apr 13, 2019, 09:31 AM
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Hello Reuben,

something has changed in relation to the magazine. "Modell AVIATOR" is now combined with "Flugmodell" and only appears every two months.
But I send a link when the Piper PA-22 type story appears.

PA-22 Foto © by Archiv H.-J.Fischer

Detail photos to the North American T-6 I have enough available, have already been restored in Germany.
But missing for the report beautiful overall photos with various finishes

Apr 13, 2019, 10:16 AM
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Thanks for the information. Thanks for the colorful schemes of the Piper you posted here.

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