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Thread: What should I look for when Buying a PA20

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    What should I look for when Buying a PA20

    Thinking of buying an old PA20. What should I look for and where re corrosion, cracking ? Critical areas that may be hazardous to my health

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpogatchnik@gmail.com View Post
    Thinking of buying an old PA20. What should I look for and where re corrosion, cracking ? Critical areas that may be hazardous to my health
    Well, masks are readily acceptable now, so you should be ok when out in public. https://www.shortwingpipers.org/
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    I was always told that pacers were just like mopeds and chubby girls..... Fun to ride until your friends catch you doing it....
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1934A View Post
    I was always told that pacers were just like mopeds and chubby girls..... Fun to ride until your friends catch you doing it....
    HA HA. I would buy a supercub but you cant get in or out of them easily and they have a top speed of 90 kts and up it to 95 down a mine shaft

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    BC12D-4-85's Avatar
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    First try getting in and out of a one door factory Pacer/Tri-Pacer, especially as a passenger with the left seat occupied. By yourself it's not as much of a challenge I guess. I did it this week as a passenger on floats but just barely made it. A seaplane upper hinged door would help.

    Gary
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    I gather from these reply's no one has any relevant info as to the answer to my original question.
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    SJ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rpogatchnik@gmail.com View Post
    I gather from these reply's no one has any relevant info as to the answer to my original question.
    You might want to check on http://www.shortwingpipers.org also!

    sj
    "Often Mistaken, but Never in Doubt"
    ------------------------------------------
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    TurboBeaver's Avatar
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    Had a friend with about 1000 hrs of J3 / PA 11 time. A friend of his had a nice little PA 20/ 125. He asked him to take it 50 miles away where he was going to have it annualed. So he took off grass where he had flown the Pacer a few times. Flew to the airport and found there was a direct 15 kt crosswind.......... You probably know the "rest of the story"....... I asked him what happened he says" I don't know really, touched down on one wheel into the wind.
    Next thing I thought I was the ball inside a pinball machine..........
    Paved runway plus 15kt X-wind = you better be " on your toes" in the little Pacer!


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    Ha Ha, sounds to me like the poor guy had 1000 hours of J3/PA11 time and never learned to land in a crosswind..Better he stays out of Pacers
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    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    I learned to fly in a PA16. The Short Wing Pipers are great airplanes. Owned several. You might try this link.

    https://www.shortwingpipers.org/forum/showthread.php?11083-So-You-Think-You-Want-To-Own-a-Short-Wing-Piper-The-Pre-Purchase-Inspection
    Steve Pierce

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    Will Rogers
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    Steve's Aircraft (Brian)'s Avatar
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    There is a local original -20 coming up for sale soon... just went through a complete recover...

    Brian


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    I was 50 years old when I started to fly. I found and paid for a 1956 pa22/20 before I took did any training. I took that airplane all over ALASKA!! I think it is the best trainer anyone could ever have! By saying that I mean it is not forgiving of fools!!! When the mains are on the ground you have to fly it to the tie down!!!! Same as any tailwheel but it will bitch slap you Sooooooo much faster than a Cub or Cessna. Go to the shortwing form and they have all the info you need.
    DENNY
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    Doug Budd's Avatar
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    I have a 150hp pacer with the right prop you can get in and out of short places (not as short as a cub) and still fly 120mph . Like the other guys said go to the ShortWingPipers.Org. They will have answers for all your questions


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    Yeah. I always thought they were butt ugly - then Don Lee introduced me to its capabilities (160/Borer). Amazing machine. Short coupled means different footwork - takes a pattern session to get used to it.

    Look for full travel of rudder pedals with full brake application on the full forward pedal. If it hits the firewall first, don't fly it.
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    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    Butt Ugly? All in the eye of the beholder.
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    Steve Pierce

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    Will Rogers

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    wireweinie's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=Steve Pierce;777388]Butt Ugly? All in the eye of the beholder.

    Some butts are prettier than others.

    Web
    Life's tough . . . wear a cup.

  17. #17
    windy's Avatar
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    Pacers are pretty
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    akavidflyer's Avatar
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    I am pretty sure that those who say a pacer is nasty on the ground have either never flown them and only heard old wives tales, or flew one that the gear was out of whack on. The pacer is a lot more docile on the ground than an avid or kitfox and I think is a blast to fly and works well even on 31s. Good brakes are a must and a little tap here and there is all it takes. Personally I like the bad rap that they have gotten, it keeps the price down for those of us who like to have fun in them.

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    aktango58's Avatar
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    Short answer: Have Steve Pierce go look it over. He has probably more experience with them than the most of the pilots on here put together.

    That said, Steve- I recall seeing a picture of that bird looking like it was bobbing for apples... so they have their limits.

    I had one years ago. The reputation is earned, ground handling can be tough, having any bad habits will not be good.
    I don't know where you've been me lad, but I see you won first Prize!

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    Quote Originally Posted by aktango58 View Post
    Short answer: Have Steve Pierce go look it over. He has probably more experience with them than the most of the pilots on here put together.

    That said, Steve- I recall seeing a picture of that bird looking like it was bobbing for apples... so they have their limits.

    I had one years ago. The reputation is earned, ground handling can be tough, having any bad habits will not be good.

    With all due respect... I have seen a whole lot more cubs bobbing for apples than pacers so that is a pretty unfair comparison. All aircraft have limits.

    The value of the pacer is strictly up to your mission.

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    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by akavidflyer View Post
    I am pretty sure that those who say a pacer is nasty on the ground have either never flown them and only heard old wives tales, or flew one that the gear was out of whack on. The pacer is a lot more docile on the ground than an avid or kitfox and I think is a blast to fly and works well even on 31s. Good brakes are a must and a little tap here and there is all it takes. Personally I like the bad rap that they have gotten, it keeps the price down for those of us who like to have fun in them.
    My Dad built a Kit Fox Model 3 and replaced it with the Clipper. Ge said the same thing comparing the two.
    Steve Pierce

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    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    My brother bought a 90 hp Super Cub on 29" Airstreaks to learn to fly in. I immediately removed the Airsteaks and installed 8.50s. He got very good with the airplane and I put the Airstreaks back on. He was so mad at me. He said the Airstreaks were way easier, I told him that is why I took them off. He later bought a PA16 while we were rebuilding his Cub. He talks about how much more attention he had to pay when landing the Clipper. He had been flying the Cub a lot and I got the Clipper out. I need to add that he is the youngest of 3 and an extreme smart ass. We went flying and as he was about to touch down i kicked some right rudder. He said "WTF did you do that for?". I said "because this is a Clipper, not a Cub and if you touch down pointing that direction that is the direction the airplane is gonna go". His response was "oh yea". It is all in what you get use to. I learned a lot operating a Clipper and later a Pacer off airport. Makes me really appreciate how much easier it is in the Super Cub. Unfortunately Super Cubs are expensive but fortunately Pacers are a great bang for the buck in my opinion.
    Steve Pierce

    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.
    Will Rogers
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    It is just different. Not difficult. We have seen Pitts drivers that couldn't land a J3. A really good Clipper driver needs just a teeny bit of dual to be safe in a J3 or a Stearman. The timing is just different - principle is the same.

    My scant experience with the Kitfox is that it is docile, yet quick. Just not as classy looking as a Cub.
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    I owned a PA16 along with several others including a Pitts S1C, Starduster 2, C120 etc. etc. and flown several others flying a Acroduster 2 and a Spezio Tu-holer now. The Spezio is the most docil and the only airplane I ever ground-looped. At least it was a big easy one w/o any damage. Just got lazy/inattentive. The hardest for me was the O1D(L19 Bird Dog) but it was ther first. As Bob already said they are all a little different. I've mostly been based on grass but force myself to do hard surface.....

    To your actual question. Any old tube factory airplane demands a careful look EVERYWHERE. Hopefully it has complete logs, look at where it's lived it's life and go from there. Always good to have an expert in type look it over. Pay him well, it will be $ well spent.

    Never even been in a PA20 but would like to try one on ....

    Bob has a point about the Pitts too. Winds that would keep my Cub in the hangar are a snap in a Pitts, for me anyway...up to a point.

    Jack
    Last edited by n40ff; 07-05-2020 at 12:04 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by rpogatchnik@gmail.com View Post
    Thinking of buying an old PA20. What should I look for and where re corrosion, cracking ? Critical areas that may be hazardous to my health
    I bought a 1950 Pacer with narrow gear....should have listened to Eddie Trimmer when he recommended beefing up the landing gear... he may have found all the cracks during that upgrade.....209 landings later...the right gear leg failed.


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    Quote Originally Posted by windy View Post
    Pacers are pretty.

    I had a 51 Pacer with an O-320 and loved it. It is not a Super Cub and not meant to be. Like a Super Cruiser, it is faster and doesn't get out as well. VG's made a noticeable difference on mine for TO and landing. Its s nice plane, and way underrated. As for handling/groundlooping? Say what? Tail wheel proficiency should cover it. I never ever noticed any tricky handling, and mine had the original so-called, narrow gear. It ain't a kiddy-car. It's responsive, quick and gets in and out quite well. Steve Pierce will recommend you pull the back seat and put it into what Piper called, "Cargo Configuration. Loads and loads of baggage room. Pretty, classic Piper. Maybe some day, I'll get another one.

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    With the big tires and borer prop I only go about 95mph, not really faster than a cub. I could go 105 if I wanted to burn a couple gallons an hour more, but it’s not typically worth it.

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    BC12D-4-85's Avatar
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    Most of the Pacers I've looked at have lots of wing washout. With extended wings it's even more noticeable.

    Gary

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    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    I flew Dakota Cub's slotted winged Paver quite a bit. It did 105 on 26" Goodyear's and an 8244 Borer and 160 hp. My 150 Paver did 110-115 on 29 Bushwheels and 58" Sensenich.
    Steve Pierce

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    algonquin's Avatar
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    I’ve had two Pacers,22/20’s, and flown a couple of others. First make sure you have wide gear. The other big thing is the HP. My 135hp was the best handling one and the 180hp the worst. The tail is soft, check for wrinkles in the fabric. Life time struts. Scott 3200 tailwheel. Check the tail for rust bumps along the tubing. That’s my 2C good luck.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpogatchnik@gmail.com View Post
    Thinking of buying an old PA20. What should I look for and where re corrosion, cracking ? Critical areas that may be hazardous to my health

    theres a red and white one that someone here has, very sharp, but i cant find a picture of it???

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    BC12D-4-85's Avatar
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    I'd own one with long wings and a left side door. Nice combination of lots of room and reasonable speed. Over 100 on floats recently in Dave's plane with O-320 plus 8244(?). Turns 2300+ static. Wants brisk attitude change to unstick from calm water.

    Gary

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    WhiskeyMike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BC12D-4-85 View Post
    I'd own one with long wings and a left side door. Nice combination of lots of room and reasonable speed. Over 100 on floats recently in Dave's plane with O-320 plus 8244(?). Turns 2300+ static. Wants brisk attitude change to unstick from calm water.

    Gary
    It's all about your budget. You can buy a decent Pacer for short money. Check the usual condition issues, plus the inspection under the door ledge trim pieces. Everything else is like a Cub or Cruiser.

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