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?