Originally published September 1993
Congratulations are in order for Pete K. Moore whose 1950 Piper PA-20 Pacer had its first flight since restoration on August 25th! Pete's airplane is an original PA-20, not a conversion of a Tri-Pacer as many short-wing taildragger Pipers are. The project started out three years ago as a simple re-cover job, but somewhere along the way 50 feet of 4130 had to be replaced, and there were a bunch of service bulletins that had to be complied with, and we might as well replace the lift struts, etc. etc. Next thing you know, old Wag-Aero's a millionaire, and Pete's folks said, "That's $10k out of there"...oops, been watching TBS too much. Anyhoo, the first flight went fine except for a right-wing heaviness condition that was easily fixed by adjustments on the lift struts. Since then, Pete has put about 10 flights and 15 hours on the Pacer, and reports it now flies ball-centered, hands-off. Performance has been very good, with cruise speeds of 130 mph indicated at 4000' MSL, and 7.0 gph with 75% power, leaned for best power. The other day he was getting 750 fpm climb out of Tehachapi on a hotter than standard day. Remember this is with a Lycoming O-290-D2 engine of about 135hp, and that nothing fancy was done to the engine except for a rag overhaul. The light empty weight of the plane (1119 lb.) accounts for the good performance in climb. As far as handling qualities go, Pete says it flies great and is very easy to land, even though it is a taildragger. The landing gear is fairly wide, about 6" wider than the stock wide PA-20 gear, which helps directional control on the ground. The PA-20 is very well equipped as well with Narco comm and nav radios, a King transponder with mode C and a King DME set!! Rumor has it that he will soon install the new AN/PATAD-28140 Cherokee target acquisition and destruction set, since he says his Pacer eats Cherokees for lunch. Mr. President, you have 30 seconds for rebuttal. Ho hum....la de da....time's up! Keep your eyes open for a green and gold PA-20, coming soon to an Edwards Open House near you.
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Revised -- 22 February 1997