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Piper PA-20 Pacer Question

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Curtis Malone
May 6, 2002
I only have 30 hours of tailwheel time, 20 in a J-3 Cub and 10 is a Cessna 120. Would it be difficult to transition into a Piper Pacer? Is there anything strange or abnormal in the Pacer? What kind of landing gear does it have? I looks like spring steel to me. How much life could I expect to get out of the covering, it is 25 years old but has been hangered since and only have 700 hours logged since. Thanks

You should have no trouble with it, get someone with pacer time to go with you, the gear is a tube frame with rubber shock cords and a shock absorber. i had a 1950 and 1951 pacer with 150hp that we used for banner tow in Chicago. The short wing Piper club can help to find owners near you.
I can't say too much about flying them (as I haven't), other than they're fairly popular up here in Alaska. As for the fabric, I'd have an A&P familiar w/ fabric give it a good looking over. Being that this plane has been hangared (for the full 25 years since the fabric was replaced?) there is a very good chance that the fabric is in good shape. UV is what destroys fabric. I had a friend get 25 years out of a fabric job done w/ cotton (all fabric any more is a synthetic like Ceconite or Stits) solely because the plane was hangared. The other thing that you'll want to check for is tubing corrosion in the tail. Moisture collects there in taildraggers. That is one advantage of redoing the fabric - the plane gets a very thorough inspection. You definitely don't want to buy a fabric plane that needs a fabric job as it is expensive to pay someone to do or very time consuming for you to do. Happy flying!
short wing...

The only advise I can think to give about the pacer is that it has much shorter wings than the cub. I've flown ~50hr in both and I think You'll notice, like I did, it'll sink like a rock without power. Again, as stated earlier, the Short Wing Piper Club is an awesome source of info.
Have fun!

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