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Thread: Buying a Pacer to learn to fly Tailwheel

  1. #1

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    Default Buying a Pacer to learn to fly Tailwheel

    Hi Folks,

    First off, I'm new here and I'm impressed by how much information is on this forum!

    I don't own a Short Wing Piper yet but I have decided that they are one of the few aircraft that really fit my needs. One of the requirements I have is that I want to be able to access the Backcountry here in British Columbia so I am looking at the Pa-22/20 150. My concern is that I don't have a lot of tailwheel time, so my question is the PA-22/20 too challenging as a taildragger to learn on?


    Thanks
    Marshall

  2. #2

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    Default Re: Buying a Pacer to learn to fly Tailwheel

    The converted Tri Pacers usually have wider gear than a straight Pacer, which makes them a little easier, I think.
    But even the stock Pacers are doable, if you have an experienced tailwheel CFI.
    Just make sure that yours has brakes on both sides, many don’t.
    Just my opinion and worth every bit of what you paid for it... ;-)

  3. #3
    mmoyle's Avatar
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    Default Re: Buying a Pacer to learn to fly Tailwheel

    I learned in my Pacer from a gravel runway. Didnít hit the pavement in Palmer Alaska until I had around 50 landings on gravel. On pavement keeping her straight was a bit of a challenge.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk Pro

  4. #4
    andya's Avatar
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    Default Re: Buying a Pacer to learn to fly Tailwheel

    Welcome aboard.
    You have selected a very capable aircraft for your mission.
    To get comfortable with the Pacers, I would recommend getting instruction from some one that has flown them or has a variety of experience in tail wheel aircraft.
    The Pacer can be challenging to maintain directional control because you normally need to "dance on the rudder pedals" during take off and landing. After 4 to 5 sessions doing landings and take offs, you'll start to get the feel for what is required. It is not an impossible task but does take some time. A good instructor or an experienced Pacer pilot (w/o CFI) can be very helpful. Since you have had some tail wheel time I am hopeful you learned the basics for controlling the plane regardless if you had mastered the ones you have flow.

    In addition to having someone riding with you that can explain the physics of how and why they react the way they do ( CG behind main gear, short coupled characteristics, P-factor effects during pitch changes, maintaining fuselage alignment with the runway during the flare ) he should be competent enough to save you from any abnormal situation you get yourself into. In the early stage of the check out the most important goal is directional control, following that goal will be fine tuning the landing flare to get smoother touchdowns. My approach with everyone I have help get checked out in a tail wheel aircraft has basically been guided through the process I have described. My brief has always been we will keep the fuselage aligned with travel down the runway, no one will use the brakes until below a fast taxi speed, an automatic go around if the second touchdown is a bounce.

    They are great planes to have and fly. I know several Pitts pilots that checked out in a Pacer before flying there Pitts and they claim it made them better equipped to fly the Pitts.

    If the airplane seems "squirrely" have someone check the main gear alignment, ie tow in tow out.

    Once you get comfortable knowing how much control effort and displacement is required to make the airplane do what it is suppose to do, you will be a better pilot for anything you want to fly.
    "Progress is our most important problem"

  5. #5

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    Default Re: Buying a Pacer to learn to fly Tailwheel

    A PA-22/20 was my first taildragger to own. I had about 8 hrs in one (for insurance) and 8hrs in a couple other taildraggers before buying it. I bought it in Montana and flew it back to AK with a CFI in the right seat. Put almost 300hrs on it before airframe corrosion made the insurance company the proud owner. Had a lot of fun off airport and on with it. Yes, it took some getting used to and kept you on your toes. But it was nothing that time in the pattern with a critical eye on landings couldnt take care of. Still trying to figure out what to replace it with. Would love to get another but it may not fit new life realities.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  6. #6

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    Default Re: Buying a Pacer to learn to fly Tailwheel

    Light plane components sold the Wide gear conversion to Univair and the narrow gear of the early Pacers can be changed to the wide with just money.
    (and the STC).
    Years ago they had the 1 1/4" for the expander tube brakes and I had them make a new gear for the 1 1/2" with the torque rings for the Cleveland wheels and brakes.
    I think that this is what they sell now.
    The wide gear are more stable as far as I know as when I rebuild N7011K I had only the right narrow gear and needed one anyway so I had two made. left and right.
    The only issue is that the Pacer is very controllable and easy to over control to start with.
    A nice grass runway is a good place to learn how.but necessary.
    A good instructor is hard to find,

  7. #7

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    Default Re: Buying a Pacer to learn to fly Tailwheel

    Thanks for the quick replies, I feel better already. There are a few very experienced taildragger pilots hanging around that might be able to help me out. Now I just need to track down a seller in western Canada...

  8. #8
    alaskadrifter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Buying a Pacer to learn to fly Tailwheel

    If you can’t find a nice Pacer a good Taylorcraft is a great plane to learn in.

  9. #9
    Administrator Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    Default Re: Buying a Pacer to learn to fly Tailwheel

    I learned to fly in a Clipper. My instructor had a Cessna 140 with no Short Wing experience. I let him borrow my Clipper to get comfortable in it and then he instructed me. It took me about 14 hours to solo which I got frustrated wiith but then it just clicked. I worked at the airport so once I soloed I would eat my sandwich at lunch and go do touch and goes and do the same after work everyday. I got to be one with that airplane. You will learn a lot about tailwheel flying in a Pacer. I have flown a lot of affordable tailwheel airplanes and find the Pacer is a bit more of a challenge but totally doable and the best bang for the buck especially for your mission.

  10. #10
    Pacer42Z's Avatar
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    Default Re: Buying a Pacer to learn to fly Tailwheel

    I transitioned from a Champ into my Pacer (19 years ago) and at first it was a little bit of a challenge. The bungee cord gear vs. the oleo struts, the Pacer being much more short coupled, less visibility over the nose, Yoke in the left hand vs. stick in the right, etc. However, I enjoyed every minute of learning to fly the Pacer. I was used to flying the Champ in pretty stiff winds, but went back to almost no wind conditions when first flying the Pacer and then slowly increased my personal limits.

    Where are you located? Maybe some of us can point you to a good tailwheel instructor.


    Juergen

    Pacer N3342Z

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