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Piper PA-20 Clipper / Pacer

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Originally called ‘Clipper’ but changed to Pacer as PanAm had threatened as lawsuit as the name ‘Clipper’ was registered to them. The Piper Pacer, built 1950-1953 inclusive, evolved from the two-place Vagabond of 1948. As the post-war market developed, Piper recognized the need for a minimum-cost four-placer, and the initial result was the PA-16 Clipper in 1949, which in turn spawned the PA-20 Pacer in 1950.

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The Pacer is typical Piper for that period: metal-framed, fabric covered, and easy to fly. It introduced a number of improvements, including a larger area tailplane with balanced elevators, increased fuel capacity, redesigned landing gear and several interior refinements.

The Pacers are taildraggers, and the first ones were powered with the Lycoming O-235-C1 Lycoming of 81kW / 115-hp, designated PA-20 Pacer 115, and priced at $3,795. Since this was during the pre-avionics age, not much, if anything, was added to that for radios. Few of the 115-hp models were produced, however, before the 93kW / 125-hp (Lycoming O-290-D) Pacer 125 was offered, and most Pacer production is accounted for by this model. The 1952 Pacer 135 introduced a variable-pitch propeller and were fitted with the O-290-D2 rated at 135-hp, but sales dwindled and production was halted in 1953, because the tri-gear version of the Pacer, the PA-22 Tri-Pacer, introduced in 1952, was claiming most of the customers.

When production ended in 1954 a total of 1,119 had been built, and the PA-20 Pacer 135 could demonstrate a maximum speed of 225km/h and had a range of 933km.

Engine: 1 x 93kW Lycoming O-290-D
Max take-off weight: 816 kg / 1799 lb
Wingspan: 8.93 m / 29 ft 4 in
Length: 6.21 m / 20 ft 4 in
Cruise speed: 180 km/h / 112 mph
Range: 933 km / 580 miles
Crew: 1
Passengers: 3

 

 


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