The Piper PA-20 Pacer and PA-22 Tri-Pacer are an excellent value for a solid, dependable, proven design rag-and-tube aircraft that makes a good foundation for a bush plane. They are plentiful on the current market and provide similar performance to a Cessna 170 or 172 in stock form.
A little history: The Piper PA-20 Pacer is a derivative of the 1948 Piper PA-16 Clipper, and first produced for sale in 1949. The PA-22 Tri-Pacer was first produced in 1951 as a tricycle gear variant of the Pacer in an effort to make the aircraft a little more "user-friendly." Referred to as "short-wing" Pipers, the Pacer and Tri-Pacer have a little less wingspan than a PA-18 Super Cub, but possess many of the same qualities that make the venerable Super Cub a backcountry favorite.
As the PA-20 and PA-22 are certified aircraft, they require FAA approval for each major modification, which can come in the form of a Supplemental Type Certificate (pre-approved standardized modification) or a field approval (one-off, and increasingly rare these days.) There are many STC modifications available to make the Pacer family more backcountry or off-airport capable. Here is a list of the most common STCs available today. There may be others that are relevant, but are no longer available for purchase, and thus have been omitted from the list.
First and foremost, there are probably more Tri-Pacers converted to conventional gear airplanes than there ever were original tailwheel Pacers produced by Piper. The following are the STCs available for converting the Tri-Pacer to conventional gear.
|Univair: The most widely used conversion used
||Not enough info
|Fairly new conversion utilizing PA-18 3 inch extended gear legs
Landing gear / brakes / tires
Windows / windshields / skylights
Suggest other valuable backcountry-oriented mods. It is very helpful to have information about the STC number and the website of the STC holder, if possible.
- 10.18.2013 - Added more mods
- 10.18.2013 - Added leading photo
- 10.01.2013 - Initial post and formatting of article