Welcome! Becoming a registered user of ShortWingPipers.Org is free and easy! Click the "Register" link found in the upper right hand corner of this screen. It's easy and you can then join the fun posting and learning about Short Wing Pipers!

Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 21

Thread: Justifying a Pacer...

  1. #1

    Default Justifying a Pacer...

    I now have all the ducks lined up to start looking to buy my airplane. I'm hoping I can ask a bunch of questions here...

    The question that worries me the most is whether a Pacer (or any taildragger for that matter) is going to be the proper choice for me. I've read all the horror stories about the ground-handling characteristics, and my main concern stems from both my abilities and my location. My abilities because I'm still new, and getting even that Cessna 172 straight down the centerline is still problematic. What will happen when I have an airplane that needs to go that way, because of it's CG, to keep it from pirouetting along the runway? The location concerns me because of the climate- Savannah is hot an humid- I've written elsewhere that it's common to see density altitudes of 3500 feet here, when MSL of Savannah Airport is 50 feet. One of the reasons I have some issues getting it down the centerline is because of the thermals that occur here from June-October. My teacher has commented that getting bounced around on final is normal for this area. Do date, I have never landed the airplane without crabbing. Not once. Because the trainers are nosedraggers, I have not been taught the wing low method of landing: everything has been crabbing.

    More to the point, even learning to fly a taildragger is going to be a challenge- Savannah is a small, little city- 150,000 people. The flight school I'm learning at is the only one here. The only person even qualified to sign a taildragger endorsement is one of the owners, and he only has the 12 hours necessary to get qualified to grant the endorsement in a Citabria, and nothing more. He has stated that he wouldn't be comfortable working with me after I get my ticket because he doesn't feel he has enough hours to really teach.

    So what to do? I've read and researched and researched and read, and the Pipers really appeal to me. I know I could get a Tri-Pacer, but the desire to own a taildragger has been one of the main reasons to learn to fly. One question that comes to mind: Are Pacers really that much more demanding than other taildraggers? I mean, it's obvious that aviators have been flying out of Savannah for many years, which means that there have been taildraggers landing here since 1918. I got to believe that the majority of them didn't ground loop every time they landed... If the Pacer is just like every other taildragger (more or less) in landing characteristics, I'll take my chances.

    Lastly, how does one go about finding people qualified to do the pre-buy? Is there a list posted anywhere of trusted names?

    Thanks,

    ..Joe

  2. #2

    Default Re: Justifying a Pacer...

    You CAN learn to fly a Pacer. Know your limitations, and keep practicing. When you think you have found an airplane, ask here who is closest to the airplane for a good look/see. I am sure there are some grass strips around with some good tailwheel pilots.
    Now the hard part, deciding exactly what you want.
    Dave

  3. #3
    Curly
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Langwarrin - Victoria, Australia
    Posts
    1,127

    Default Re: Justifying a Pacer...

    Joe - I hear where your coming from!

    I learnt to fly at a tiny one strip airport (gravel about 10 yards wide) that the local council put in without actually checking the prevailing wind patterns - there was always a cross wind that could be up to 20knots. As a consequence the first time I landed at an away airport that was into wind I almost didn't know what to do!
    In my opinion (I am not an instructor- I just know what I like to do) the crabbing method is the best way to handle a crosswind. The difficult part to master is the timing of kicking it straight and at the same time, lowering the upwind wing, and touching down on the upwind wheel. It takes practice but once you master it (and you will) you will be able to handle crosswinds that would frighten the pants off pilots who have never been taught it.

    Now as far as a Pacer goes - I have flown Supercubs, Pawnees and C180's - but not for the last 20 odd years. So when Patsy the Pacer is ready to fly I intend to take leave for a week or so, find a flying school somewhere in the country that has a Pacer or C180 for hire with an experienced instructor and fly every day until I feel comfortable that my bum is feeling the swing, my eyes are seeing the cues and most importantly, my feet are reacting quickly enough. I have no intention of wrecking something I have put so much work into!

    Joe - my advice - live your dream! Buy your Pacer! Your a long time staring at the lid!
    And until you feel comfortable flying it, go to the airport at weekends, talk to it, wash and polish it, do all the inevitable little fixup jobs, learn the ins and outs of the aeroplane, talk to other "hanger bums" - it will be some of the best times of your life.

    Curly

  4. #4

    Default Re: Justifying a Pacer...

    Thanks, gents. I do appreciate the comments.

    Quote Originally Posted by d.grimm
    Now the hard part, deciding exactly what you want.
    I think I know, and will run it by everyone for critiquing:

    PA-20 or PA-22/20.
    Either the 135 or 150 engine. (The 160 doesn't seem to really offer a whole lot more than the 150.)
    Gotta have the 1/2" valves.
    Around 700-1000 SMOH so I don't have to get into a new engine too quickly.
    Toe brakes.
    VOR in the avionics
    Good time left on the fabric.

    Optional items...
    Wheel pants would be nice for the little extra MPH.
    VGs
    I think the Univair wide gear would be nice a extra
    GPS

    I don't have a lot of "must haves" in the plane requirements dept. Mainly something that isn't going to surprise me with a lot of repairs early on. Because I'm a beginner, aside from the common sense things anyone can tell about mechanics, I'm not going to know what isn't working right.

    I actually prefer the older looking paint jobs and looks over the new fancy ones- the Pacer is a product of the '50's, (so am I, for that matter!) so if it looks the part, that's jake with me.

    Am I on track?

    ..Joe

  5. #5
    Stephen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Lopez Island, WA
    Posts
    2,020

    Default Re: Justifying a Pacer...

    Joe, You are on track for a good Pacer, you will also love the usefull load. I think that a 150hp is the best choice, but I would not turn down a 135 if it were priced right. Forget the VOR, get a portable GPS. Take you time learning to fly it, once you get the technique down you can easily land these planes in X-winds.
    "You can only tie the record for flying low."

  6. #6

    Default Re: Justifying a Pacer...

    I have a good friend who learned how to fly on a Stinson 108-3 at the Savannah airport. My wife and I flew with him when he only had 100 hours, and we never felt unsafe, even when we were loaded up pretty heavy.

    Learning a taildragger will just make you a better pilot, as he would say.

  7. #7
    smcnutt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Indianapolis, IN
    Posts
    719

    Default Re: Justifying a Pacer...

    I started learning in a 172 and only after a few hours bought a Pa-22/20-135 and now learning in it. It's different learning in a tail dragger and maybe will add a few hours (very few) to getting my ticket but I know it will make me a better pilot. The key is to find a good tail wheel guy to instruct you. After talking around the field I found THE guy (18k hours w/ 14k of them TW) but he doesn't advertise or go out looking for students -they find him. Just keep asking around and hanging around the airport and I'm sure you can find a good TW instructor.

    My plane has a VOR but no GPS. My instructor even says we won't be using the VOR until much later and I like that. Part of why I bought this plane is to learn to really fly and it is a blast. We do a lot of IFR (I Follow Roads) flying where he simply says follow Maple street and turn north at Grant Street. I will learn to use the VOR (and probably have a hand-held GPS someday) but my first priority is simply to learn to fly. I'm not knocking GPS's because they are great to have, it's just that most of our flights can simply be done with a sectional and a compass. Besides, these never run out of batteries.

    Bottom line. Buy a Pacer and learn in it. You won't regret it. You might second guess it (some days) but you will never regret it.
    Light travels faster than sound.
    That's why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Justifying a Pacer...

    I think I know, and will run it by everyone for critiquing:

    PA-20 or PA-22/20.
    Either the 135 or 150 engine. (The 160 doesn't seem to really offer a whole lot more than the 150.)
    Gotta have the 1/2" valves.
    Around 700-1000 SMOH so I don't have to get into a new engine too quickly.
    Toe brakes.
    VOR in the avionics
    here is my opinion----- Pacer yes excellant choice ----engine ,i believe the 160 does offer a noticeable differance in power over the 150 [I have a a 160 tripacer with a 61 pitch prop and I also have a share in a 150 tripacer with a 58 pitch prop the 160 will waaaay out climb the 150 even with its "cruise prop"and goes quite a bit faster too and you better hope the 150 you buy has 1/2 " valves or you will be trying your hand at an engine out landing not "if" but "when"also I think your TBO is 1200 hours if you have small valve stems but they are legal ----------toe brakes a must in a tailwheel airplane ---------VOR I wouldnt worry about it either way they have been claiming they were discontinueing that service for 20 years one of these days they probably will . GPS is a much better deal I guess I wouldnt turn down a 150 if the right plane would come along and I dont know about a 135 your giving up alot of power and parts are hard to find and are more expensive i hear I thick you would be better off with an O-320 than an O-290 although a friend of mine had 1 and it seemed fine but if you have density altitude problems you want all the poer you can get

  9. #9

    Default Re: Justifying a Pacer...

    Thanks for all the replies. As to my reasons...

    I would consider a 135 simply because they're still out there. The choice of airplanes will be limited by a market where the plane hasn't been made in nearly 50 years, so I gotta take what's offered. As I look at the Pacer ads, there's fully a third of them with the 135 HP engine, so if the rest of the plane is a winner, I think I could live with it. But like any other Alpha male, I believe in MORE POWER!

    VOR- I'm still a student pilot and I'll need it to get past my check ride. Current;y my instructor likes turning off the GPS in the 172 and leaving my to find my way home using the VOR. But fundamentally, it will be a backup. When I wrote that it would be nice to have as an option, that meant as something that comes with the airplane purchase. Either way, there *will* be a GPS in what ever I end up with. There has to be- I only recently discovered that Bimini is only 46 miles off the coast, and I plan on flying there and not getting lost!

    ..Joe

  10. #10

    Default Re: Justifying a Pacer...

    ..Joe
    sounds all good to me yeah my freind did have that 135 PA22-20 it seemed fine we dont have much problemo with density altitudes here and he hauled around his wife and grand daughter in it so it must have worked just fine!

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •