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Thread: Hello! J3 Owner Considering a Pacer

  1. #1

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    Default Hello! J3 Owner Considering a Pacer

    Hi everyone. I am a J3 owner, and I am considering moving to a Pacer. I've spent the last 6 months cruising around in my Cub, and I've had the best flying days ever. However, there are some things that the Cub left me desiring. I would like a little more useful load, and I would like the ability to go somewhere a little faster. The Pacer looks like it fits those requirements and let's me own a classic airplane. Does the Cub and the Pacer share any coming characteristics? 1

    I currently only hold a sport pilot license, but I'm good with upgrading if this is the direction I decide to go.

    I really wouldn't have considered getting rid of my Cub, but it was destroyed last week in a hangar fire. Now I'm just trying to decide if there is another I might like to go.

    Sent from my SM-N975U using Tapatalk

  2. #2

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    Default Re: Hello! J3 Owner Considering a Pacer

    Quote Originally Posted by fhu667 View Post
    Does the Cub and the Pacer share any coming characteristics?
    They are fabric, have wings and fly. Flight-wise a J3 is a kite, a Pacer is a brick. The J3 can almost be landed while sleeping. The Pacer will get you wide awake if youre not active on the pedals once the prop starts turning. Both are wonderful aircraft but they are more different than alike in most flight regimes. They are both honest airplanes and will tell you what they are about to do. You just need to listen closer and react faster with the Pacer.


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  3. #3
    tnowak's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hello! J3 Owner Considering a Pacer

    You may want to consider a PA17 Vagabond. 10-15 MPH faster cruise but probably not an increase in useful load.
    TonyN

  4. #4
    Administrator Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hello! J3 Owner Considering a Pacer

    I'd go fly a Pacer first. They share the same parts, construction methods etc but fly differently. The Pacer will fit the mission but not be as much fun to putt around in as the Cub but way better to carry stuff and go somewhere.

  5. #5
    Pacer42Z's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hello! J3 Owner Considering a Pacer

    The Pacer and the Cub are very different airplanes, but I think if you can fly the Cub from the back seat in modest wind conditions, you can get used to the Pacer pretty quick. I transitioned from a Champ into the Pacer. I started out setting my personal minimums for wind (especially cross wind) very low and then increased them as I was getting more comfortable in the Pace.
    If your are looking for good payload and pretty good speed out of 150 or 160 HP, then the Pacer is hard to beat. I am preparing for a trip out West (leaving next week) and took the back seat out this weekend to get my mountain bike in it. The big rear door is a real benefit to get the Pacer loaded.

    Juergen
    Pacer N3342Z

    Not sure why the pictures are sideways, but you get the idea.
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  6. #6
    kchansen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hello! J3 Owner Considering a Pacer

    I would echo what others have shared here.

    I instructed in a Cub for many years, and now own the Pacer. The Pacer is a more "useful" airplane (depending on how you define that!) and will go places, haul people, etc. It is a bit more "exciting" during takeoff/landing, but don't let that scare you. I find my Pacer to be quick on the feet, but honest, and I have no trouble. In the air, it's a joy to fly.

    Can't go wrong with a short wing in terms of blending utility and economics in my opinion.
    CFII -- Owner - 1950 Piper Pacer
    Cedar Rapids, Iowa - 2019 Dues Paid!

  7. #7
    Stephen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hello! J3 Owner Considering a Pacer

    I've owned two planes in 50 plus years of flying, a J3 and a PA 22/20. The Cub was fun and easy to fly but, slow for XC flying. The Pacer is more sporty and I think in many ways more fun to fly. It is more like driving an MG vs a sloppy American car. I like the quicker response of a Pacer. Also, the useful load of a Pacer is impressive.
    "You can only tie the record for flying low."

  8. #8
    Glen Geller's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hello! J3 Owner Considering a Pacer

    You can load a lot of gear in the back of a PA20 or PA22 with the back seats removed. My Tri-Pacer has the aux tank under the back seat, with the seat out I can put my mountain bike in there and camping gear etc.
    She handles like a fighter plane, but carries like a cargo plane.

  9. #9
    alaskadrifter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hello! J3 Owner Considering a Pacer

    The correct answer is both of course! If you see yourself flying more than one pax regularly or hauling slightly bulkier cargo from time to time I’d say the Pacer is hard to beat for the price.

  10. #10

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    Default Re: Hello! J3 Owner Considering a Pacer

    I have both and have given this a lot of thought. They have things in common and they have differences. Most say the pacer is hard (comes down like a rock and is short coupled) and the cub is easy (it can just barely kill you). There is some truth there, but in my opinion it is more complicated than that.

    My wife has a cub and will never sell it. Itís iconic. Itís meant to be flown door open and IFR (I Follow Roads). But its got some big wings, itís light, and under-powered. Crosswinds will take you where they want you to go. You canít go far, fast or carry much. Summertime convective weather fully loaded can be uncomfortable, in my opinion, while you bang into thermals nose up barely climbing.

    When we were shopping, the pacer was the only airplane my wife felt comfortable in. She said it feels like a cub. That might be what caught your attention too. But, It flies faster, carries more, climbs better, and has a real avionics stack. I can talk to ATC and dial up an ILS. But if I want to fly slow, I can drop the flaps and pretend to be a cub too.

    Not sure if it is the short wings, or the extra weight but the pacer is stiffer and doesnít get blown around as badly as the cub. So for cross winds, I view the cub as the harder plane to fly. The only knock I have on the pacer is I wish it had bigger ailerons. I tend to be at the stops more often than I ever was in the cub.

    Convective hot summer days arenít as uncomfortable. I can still climb comfortably in the pacer and am more confident I will be able to get off.

    As for ground handling, pacers have more agile rudders. They will react quickly to your inputs, you just need to be a little quicker and more precise than in the cub. Pacers are somewhere between a Pitts and a cub, but I guess that is true of most tail draggers.

    Lastly, I found it interesting some say pacers arenít that bad to fly and others say they are the devil. It could be just different opinions, but I think it could be partially that there are lots of different ďpacersĒ out there nowadays. I flew a stock P.A.-20 with a cfi and it was a handful for me coming out of our cub. The cfis approach was to land pacers fast with power into ground effect to arrest the descent rate and dance on the rudders until she stopped trying to skid off the runway one way or the other. My pacer is a P.A.-22/20. She lands slower, has wider gear, vgs, and tips. In my opinion, My 22/20 flies a lot easier than the P.A.-20 I flew.

    At the end of the day, as others have suggested, you need to get in one and see if you like it or not.

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