Piper PA-20/22 Pacer

10.18.2013 - Added leading photo
The short winged Piper PA-20 Pacer, and converted versions of its successor the PA-22, are one of the absolute best values for a backcountry aircraft.
10.18.2013 - Added leading photo
The short winged Piper PA-20 Pacer, and converted versions of its successor the PA-22, are one of the absolute best values for a backcountry aircraft.

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The Piper PA-20 Pacer and PA-22 Tri-Pacer are an excellent value for a solid, dependable, proven design rag-and-tube aircraft that makes a good foundation for a bush plane. They are plentiful on the current market and provide similar performance to a Cessna 170 or 172 in stock form.

A little history: The Piper PA-20 Pacer is a derivative of the 1948 Piper PA-16 Clipper, and first produced for sale in 1949. The PA-22 Tri-Pacer was first produced in 1951 as a tricycle gear variant of the Pacer in an effort to make the aircraft a little more "user-friendly." Referred to as "short-wing" Pipers, the Pacer and Tri-Pacer have a little less wingspan than a PA-18 Super Cub, but possess many of the same qualities that make the venerable Super Cub a backcountry favorite, while providing 4 seats and more cabin volume.

As the PA-20 and PA-22 are certified aircraft, they require FAA approval for each major modification, which can come in the form of a Supplemental Type Certificate (pre-approved standardized modification) or a field approval (one-off, and increasingly rare these days.) There are many STC modifications available to make the Pacer family more backcountry or off-airport capable. Here is a list of the most common STCs available today. There may be others that are relevant, but are no longer available for purchase, and thus have been omitted from the list.


Modification STC Number STC Holder
Single grip control yoke SA02383AK Trimmer Aviation
Installation of a rudder trim wheel and cable system SA00851SE Steve's Aircraft
Installation of Super Cub Elevator and Stabilizer control surfaces SA02567CH Svenn’s Aviation
Flap handle extension SA02246LA William M. Berle


Modification STC Number STC Holder
Left hand seaplane door SA02263AK Trimmer Aviation
Right hand seaplane door SA02264AK Trimmer Aviation
Left hand door SA557AL Aircraft Innovations LLC

Electrical system

Modification STC Number STC Holder
Lightweight battery installation SA02734CH Svenn's Aviation


Modification STC Number STC Holder
O-360 Lycoming engine conversion covering PA-20, PA-22 and PA-16 SA02306AK Trimmer Aviation
0-360 engine conversion SA02929CH Svenn's Aviation
-- Modified cowling for Svenn's conversion SA02899CH Svenn's Aviation
-- Modified baffles with rear oil cooler for Svenn's conversion SA02898CH Svenn's Aviation
0-360-A4A lycoming engine conversion SA181RM Univair
Lycoming 0-360-A1P with constant speed propeller SA01678SE Steve's Aircraft

Fuel system

Modification STC Number STC Holder
Eliminate right seat gascolator and use Maule fuel valve SA02241AK Trimmer Aviation
Maule fuel selector valve SA02280AK Trimmer Aviation
Installation of improved machined aluminum gascolator SA0126SE Steve's Aircraft
Fuel selector valve SA02299AK Dakota Cub Aircraft
24 gallon fuel tanks SA02171AK Dakota Cub Aircraft
30.5 gallon fuel tanks SA00092SE F. Atlee Dodge
Field approval examples 337 N-number Download
Dakota Cub fuel gauges N7483K icon

Gear conversion

First and foremost, there are probably more Tri-Pacers converted to conventional gear airplanes than there ever were original tailwheel Pacers produced by Piper. The following are the STCs available for converting the Tri-Pacer to conventional gear.

Modification STC Number STC Holder
Univair: The most widely used conversion used SA45RM Univair
Raven STC Not enough info
Fairly new conversion utilizing PA-18 3 inch extended gear legs STC02345AK Trimmer Aviation


Landing gear / brakes / tires

Modification STC Number STC Holder
Installation of either 8:50 X 6 inch or 26 inch Goodyear tires. SA02672CH Svenn's Aviation
Installation of eligible Alaskan Bushwheel tires (26", 29", 31") SA01015SE Alaskan Bushwheel
Vented master brake cylinder, available for Tri-Pacer only. SA01516SE Steve's Aircraft


Modification STC Number STC Holder
MT propeller on 0-360 engine. SA02846CH Svenn's Aviation
McCauley 1A175GM "Borer" propeller SA02670CH Svenn's Aviation


Modification STC Number STC Holder
Heavy duty sealed lift struts SA22RM Univair
Extended wing tip SA02790CH Svenn's Aviation
Wing tip modification SA00932SE Stewart Systems
Fiberglass wing tip modification SA453AL Ron Sullivan
Wing tip modification SA625AL Charley Center
Vortex generators SA00097SE Micro Aerodynamics

Windows / windshields / skylights

Modification STC Number STC Holder
Installation of either a 21 inch or 32 inch skylight SA3518NM Steve's Aircraft
Field approval examples 337 N-number Download
60" Skylight N7483K icon

Suggest other valuable backcountry-oriented mods. It is very helpful to have information about the STC number and the website of the STC holder, if possible.

  • 10.18.2013 - Added more mods
  • 10.18.2013 - Added leading photo
  • 10.01.2013 - Initial post and formatting of article

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While this knowledge base is a compilation of information from various sources, some official in nature, it is not a recognized or acredited source of aviation training information, and thus should be considered entertainment. Please consult a FAA-certificated flight instructor or mechanic prior to putting any information found here into practice.