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View Full Version : Hello All - Soon To Be New TriPacer Owner and New Pilot



plexcom
08-03-2013, 08:26 AM
Hello all ! My name is Randy and I have been planning for some time now to get started on training for my pilot's license. I started out planning to do LSA, but after falling in love with Pacers and TriPacers, I have a great opportunity to buy a TriPacer (PA22-150) and be able to do my training in it. I am EXCITED to say the least. These are awesome airplanes and I see this TriPacer being in my possession for a long time to come. I was going to start out with a two seater LSA type plane (even go experimental/homebuilt like a Wagabond) and could see where I might would want to step up to something a little larger later but concerned about cost (both initial and ongoing). I think a TriPacer or a Pacer is probably about the most economical way to do it, and it is still not a huge plane that will require extra hangar space. I love the looks of the Pacer even more, but for a first plane to train in and build up my experience, I feel better about it being a TriPacer. I can always go the PA22/20 route later as the A&P helping me and selling me this plane has experience with this.
I would visit this site often while doing research on planes and when I would see pictures of Pacers and TriPacers my heart would tug at me. Then I saw my first Pacer in person at a flyin a few months ago, and I was in love. Yes, love at first sight :) I hope my wife doesn't read this!
Anyway, hello to all and excited to be able to come on here and say I will soon be a short wing owner !
I starting watching some videos on Youtube (pilottodd) of a guy that did most of his training recently in a TriPacer and his videos have me real excited about doing my training in one. He has a lot of good videos of his training, both solos and with his CFI, and also has a website about the the experience at pilottodd.com
And a very nice TriPacer he is flying! The call it "Big Red".

pacer44k
08-03-2013, 04:05 PM
When looking for a SWP, get the best airframe you can afford. All those, "fix it later" projects can add up to big dollars later.
Also, if you think you want to eventually be flying a Pacer, then get one right from the start. There will be a slightly steeper learning curve, but in the grand scheme, it will be negligible. For a new aviator, just having the correct muscle memory is important. So, the transition from the Tri-Pacer to the Pacer will cost you more time and $$$ for dual than it will be to learn it from the start. For example, you are in your newly acquired Pacer, and need brakes...NOW! You don't want to be reaching for the hand brake!
Irespective of what you decide, you are making a great decision to go with a SWP. These are great little planes, and have enough capability to serve you long into the future.
Not sure what your budget is, but I listed a really sweet PA-20 for Susan Jewett a few weeks ago. This plane is a dandy, and once people start looking at it, it will go quick! It is listed on another website, so contact me if you are interested, and I will get you the details.

rwdurham
08-03-2013, 11:54 PM
I absolutely agree with Mark's advice. It all depends on what you want to do with it but his comments are spot on. They are great little airplanes and VERY forgiving. You have to fly them though and they still require some foot work, especially the Pacers. As long as that prop is spinning, fly it! I've owned other airplanes but keep coming back to the PA 22 type. You'll hear a lot of horror stories about shortwings but come here or the other site for a reality check.

PeterL
08-04-2013, 07:21 PM
When looking for a SWP, get the best airframe you can afford. All those, "fix it later" projects can add up to big dollars later.

Not sure what your budget is, but I listed a really sweet PA-20 for Susan Jewett a few weeks ago. This plane is a dandy, and once people start looking at it, it will go quick! It is listed on another website, so contact me if you are interested, and I will get you the details.

I have a few hours in this same plane, very nice. Annual was just completed, new carpet, E.I.gauges, GPS/Comm. It is Canadian registered,which is easy to convert to an "N" number. Canadian rules for maintenance are very strict, (ie: no field overhaul of engines, have to be completed by an AMO). This plane is owned by the same family for the past 27 years plus. Bev was a 777 Captain for Air Canada and babied his plane.

Peter

plexcom
08-05-2013, 06:00 AM
Thanks to everyone for the information and advice, much appreciated.
The plane I am considering is very well known by a friend who is a long time pilot and A&P. The plane has been in his family since the 70's and he has many hours in the plane himself. The work the plane needs is minor, such as some recovering. For the price, I don't mind that as the plane will have a fresh exterior and paint job like I want. Basically the recovering is only going to cost me in materials. Also, it will allow us to inspect things very well. I may even do some interior work and have a really nice plane and still have well below it's value in it. I likely will keep it as a TriPacer as the conversion does look like it could get rather involved and expensive if done right. That is not reason enough to not get this plane, that is minor. I like the situation of being able to make it like I want (cosmetically) and know that everything is good...while being easy on the budget. The A&P I am working with on this is a super guy, a wealth of experience and knowledge and he enjoys giving me as much of that knowledge as he has time for. I am very fortunate to be in the situation and have this opportunity before me.

One thing I am curious about, but will be for another discussion in another post, is some of the STCs for the extended wing tips that help improve the approach glide a little. I have read pros and cons on it, but if something I will do, before recovering the wings would be the time to do it.

But, back on the Pacer vs TriPacer and doing training. I have been told by several that the TriPacer makes an OK trainer, the only thing that may be a bit hard to handle at first is the faster approach speeds. But I have been told the Pacer is not the best trainer and can really bite a new or low time pilot in ground handling (ie: ground loop). Has anyone trained in a Pacer? How was it? And how are the Pacers REALLY with their ground handling? Aren't there models with wider main gear that help?

pacer44k
08-05-2013, 01:01 PM
Thanks to everyone for the information and advice, much appreciated.
..............snipped.........

One thing I am curious about, but will be for another discussion in another post, is some of the STCs for the extended wing tips that help improve the approach glide a little. I have read pros and cons on it, but if something I will do, before recovering the wings would be the time to do it.

But, back on the Pacer vs TriPacer and doing training. I have been told by several that the TriPacer makes an OK trainer, the only thing that may be a bit hard to handle at first is the faster approach speeds. But I have been told the Pacer is not the best trainer and can really bite a new or low time pilot in ground handling (ie: ground loop). Has anyone trained in a Pacer? How was it? And how are the Pacers REALLY with their ground handling? Aren't there models with wider main gear that help?

Why would the Tri-Pacer only be classified as an "OK" trainer? IMHO, it is a much better trainer than a 172, Cherokee, or any of those types of planes. The chatter about higher approach speeds comes from those who may be put off by a rate of descent that is greater than most of the spam cans. If you do the approach speed math (using a factor of Vs) you will find the the recommended speeds in the pattern is negligibly higher than a 172. My Pacer stalls at about 48 MPH, with full fuel, and just me in it (the only real time that I am at an all up gross weight is when we are going camping, and my bride and the dog have prohibited stall practice). So, based on that Vs, I use 80 on downwind to base, 75 on base, and 70 once established on final. As I come over the numbers I have slowed to about 65 mph, which is very close to the 1.3 Vs that I am looking for. Those numbers are pretty darn close to what the 172's and the like are flown at. However, when it comes to outright performance, the Tri-Pacer will be a much better plane to learn to fly in.
With regard to the handling characteristics of the Pacer, it too makes a good trainer. There can be no doubt that it is quite less tolerant of lack of attention, and "ham-handedness" (but, it is this way with any taildragger). When I checked out in my Pacer, it had been 7-8 years since I had flown taildraggers. The first few landings were quite an event, but once I got all my senses working in sync, it became a very manageable process. My 1950 Pacer still has it's original gear set up, which is quite a bit narrower than some that you see (see photo). So, it can be a little quick on the ground roll compared to other Pacers. But, the gear geometry is set up correctly, so it is really up to me to handle it correctly. The Pacers with the wider gear are likely more docile than mine but, I have not flown one so I can't really state for sure. I have heard of Pacers with the wide gear conversion that are absolute handful's on the ground. My hunch is that there is an issue with the geometry of the landing gear if this is the case.
The conversion process to a -22/20 is pretty involved from what I understand. Especially when mounting the gear attach fittings, and it must be done with great care, or you are set up for a lifetime of problems. It sounds like the PA-22 will be well suited to your mission, and you have plenty of work ahead of you with a recover project. However, if you had any inclination to convert to a -22/20, this is the time to do it!
In closing, I will stipulate that the Pacer would add a degree of difficulty to the learning process. However, the USA trained more than a few young kids to fly in Stearmans during WW II, and the Stearman is quite a handful compared to a Pacer. So, a Pacer can't be all that bad, right?
Good luck, Randy!

jwbruce
08-05-2013, 03:40 PM
Tricycle gear airplanes just make for pilots that don't understand how to use their feet when it comes to flying. You may (if you are not careful) develop bad habits flying tricycle planes that will take a bit to get over when you get your tailwheel. If you start off with tailwheel, you'll never make those habits. I was really klunky with my feet for 2 or 3 years after I became a pilot. I'm doing some flying with a friend who has less than 150 hours total, and his feet are just dead. He doesn't get it, and in reality, I've had to be ready to jump in and help at any time. Which is really scary to me, becuase he's licensed and can decide at any time to load up a plane with non pilots and take out, and it doesn't really even register with him that this is a problem...
However, if you've found a mechanic you can trust and work with and the key is to buying his plane that you can also trust. That's not easy to find in aviation and you will be way ahead when maintanance surprises come up.

rwdurham
08-05-2013, 11:51 PM
I learned to fly in a Tri-Pacer in preparation to fly a tailwheel Globe Swift at the suggestion of the best pilot in the world, in my humble opinion, my Dad. The Tri-Pacer will make you use your feet much more than a C-172 or a Cherokee. You actually have to fly it and the approach speeds in a TP are VERY similar to the better known trainers. I personally believe the TP makes a great trainer and have never regretted it. Granted, the sink rate takes some adjustment but once you get that figured out, it's a pleasure to fly. That being said, if you want to learn in a tailwheel, the Pacer will dang sure teach you to use your feet as will the Swift. They are both so short coupled you have to keep flying them as long as you are on the runway. But . . . you know what they say about opinions, and that's just mine. My only caution is don't let people who don't fly these planes give you their "advice" about these planes. Good luck with your training!

Kurts
08-07-2013, 12:11 AM
If you learn to fly in a Short Wing the sink rate will be natural to you and you won't think anything of it because you won't have anything to compare it to. So a Cessna driver might think a Tri-Pacer is a sinker while a Pacer pilot will think a 172 is a floater. It's all what you're used to and neither one is bad, it's just different.

As far as feet are concerned, flying a tail dragged or a tricycle geared airplane is exactly the same once they are in the air, so to say a tricycle gear trained pilot doesn't know how to use his feet only applies to ground operations. Now, the he-man tail wheel guys might want you think otherwise, but don't believe it. Where the footwork difference can be factored in is in the different flying qualities of a Cub or Short Wing vs a 150 or 172. The Pipers need rudder to turn and the Cessnas use aileron. Again, neither is bad, they are just different, and the pilots of each will tell you theirs is the best.

Which is why you shouldn't listen to these Tri-Pacer or Pacer drivers because the Colt is far and away the best Short Wing, they just can't bring themselves to admit it.

(Pot = stirred)

:)

Kurt

rwdurham
08-07-2013, 02:15 AM
Just had to bring your half a tri-pacer into the mix didn't you Kurt? :) (Up 200 - fire for effect)

pacer44k
08-07-2013, 12:54 PM
As far as feet are concerned, flying a tail dragged or a tricycle geared airplane is exactly the same once they are in the air, so to say a tricycle gear trained pilot doesn't know how to use his feet only applies to ground operations.
Which is why you shouldn't listen to these Tri-Pacer or Pacer drivers because the Colt is far and away the best Short Wing, they just can't bring themselves to admit it.

(Pot = stirred)

:)

Kurt

Yes....But if one can't get the plane to/from the "air", further discussion is a moot point, now isn't it?
10 down....5 to the right!