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Thread: Help me decide if a Pacer fits my mission

  1. #1

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    Mar 2019
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    Default Help me decide if a Pacer fits my mission

    First post, but probably the 67th time I have initiated some kind of a discusssion either online or in person aimed at figuring out my next bird.

    i have a family of 3 (including me) and need the option of bringing them along with me in the plane. We are all small and light so I donít need a C180 and I like being a little different so a C172 or Cherokee/archer do not appeal to me. On paper the planes that fit most closely are the 4-place Bearhawk, Maule M5, and maybe BD4. The issue is either price or insurance requirements or both so I need to compromise. I need to safely operate out of 2000í grass at density altitude upto 3500í and cruise as close to 130kts as possible.

    some folks have suggested that I look at the pacers now fitted with larger engines as that alternative. One thing I havenít found yet are real world numbers on cruise speed and fuel burn on those planes with STCíd larger engines...can someone here share that data?

    any overall comments on if a pacer would fit that mission and which versions would be greatly appreciated!

    thx

  2. #2

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    Feb 2010
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    Default Re: Help me decide if a Pacer fits my mission

    The 160 hp PA-20 I use to own was a good bit faster than a C172 when it had the constant speed prop. It was about the same speed as a 172 when I switched to the fixed pitch. It would carry the load with either prop. I doubt I ever saw 130 knots even in a dive though.
    "Good judgement comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgement." - Fred Brooks

  3. #3

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    Default Re: Help me decide if a Pacer fits my mission

    There are few airplanes with fixed pitch props that will cruise at 130kts and still have reasonable take off performance. It is simple physics. The Pacer/TriPacer can cruise approaching 130 MPH if itís pretty clean. More like 115-120mph average. Do a real good job of cleaning up the aerodynamics and cooling drag, you can do better, but you will need a higher pitch prop that will sacrifice take off performance. Extra HP wonít give you much more cruise speed, but will improve climb performance. Now from a practical question, what will be your average stage length? Even if you are doing 300 mile stage lengths, the difference between 130 itís and 130 mph will only be somewhere around 15-20 minutes. Is it worth it to you to spend an extra $40-80k to save that 15 minutes?


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  4. #4
    JPerkins's Avatar
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    Aug 2014
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    Default Re: Help me decide if a Pacer fits my mission

    I have a 1955 PA-22-150 that was converted to conventional gear. When it had an O-320 with the Sensenich M74DM-56 prop and 8.50 tires it would cruise an honest 120 mph at 2450 rpm with a 8 gph fuel burn. 82-44 Borer knocked the top end at 2450 rpm down to 105 mph, same fuel burn. Now it has an O-360 with a Sensenich WCM80-45G wood prop. Cruise at 2450 is the same as the borer at 100-105 mph with a fuel consumption of 9-10 gph. Most notable difference what Dgapilot said, climb performance. Changed from 900 fpm climb to 1,300 fpm.
    Jason Perkins

  5. #5
    Flyjeep's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help me decide if a Pacer fits my mission

    I went tri pacer got a good price. Tail gear insurance was going to be up to an extra $1k per year for me. I have 160hp and am happy with the the performance so far but have only flown in cold at a 530ft alt airfied.

  6. #6
    ClippedWing's Avatar
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    Sep 2011
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    Default Re: Help me decide if a Pacer fits my mission

    While I love my Pacer, it is not the airplane I would take my family on serious cross countries. Fortunately, I also have access to a nice AA5B for times such as those. Simple, honest and pretty quick.

  7. #7

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    Oct 2012
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    Merritt Island, Florida
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    Default Re: Help me decide if a Pacer fits my mission

    Type in the search box, Lets Compare Cruise Speeds on this site. Pretty good thread on it.

    Allycat

  8. #8

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    Mar 2019
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    Default Re: Help me decide if a Pacer fits my mission

    Quote Originally Posted by ClippedWing View Post
    While I love my Pacer, it is not the airplane I would take my family on serious cross countries. Fortunately, I also have access to a nice AA5B for times such as those. Simple, honest and pretty quick.
    I had looked at those briefly but got the impression that they don’t like short grass fields.

  9. #9
    blue44's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help me decide if a Pacer fits my mission

    We spent a lot of time with Trade-a-Plane and Barnstormers 18 months ago, there are a lot of good choices out there, but 130 KIAS will be tough. Have you looked at the Maule M7 or Glasair Sportman ? Occasionally we see a C172 taildragger for sale, offbeat but a good cross country, there is one nearby at KGBR, cheap but needs the O360 conversion... Cheers, Donn

  10. #10
    Pacerfgoe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help me decide if a Pacer fits my mission

    Mine is 125 HP, so not a direct comparison to what your looking for, but I can take off fully loaded out of a 2400' grass strip using only about 2/3 the runway, and clear 40' power lines at the end of the strip. This is at 2400 ASL with a density altitude of around 3000'.
    You will not have a problem with 150-160 HP getting out of a grass strip loaded.
    Now the 130 KTS thing.....that's 150 MPH, I don't think that's going to happen in one of these birds.

    The back seat in a pacer isn't very big, but I've tried it and can sit comfortably back there. It's great for one adult, but if you try to stick two adults in, it will be uncomfortable. Great for 2 kids though.
    The added benefit is that back seat comes out in about a minute, and creates lots of room for camping gear, or a private bedroom for a small child while camping.

    Welcome to the forum!
    Last edited by Pacerfgoe; 03-22-2019 at 10:57 AM.
    Forrest Miller

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