The aircraft I’m training in is a 1960 Piper Tri-Pacer (PA-22 150). The Tri-Pacer is a four place aircraft designed to compete with Cessna’s 172 during post WWII. This airplane has some unique features that give it a lot of character. It has a single bar under the panel that is pulled to activate the brakes – no differential braking on this baby. It also utilizes an overhead hand crank for elevator trim. Even though the trim is labelled, it never fails, I always begin cranking the wrong way first during normal flight. For some reason I don’t have a problem when setting up for landing or after a touch and go takeoff. There are two doors – the left side of the aircraft has a door in the back, for passenger access. The front access is via the door on the passenger side, requiring the pilot to climb over the front passenger seat, which usually makes for a good laugh.
“Big Red” as we affectionately call her, is a great flying airplane. It climbs out well, cruises nicely, and lands well – once you get used to carrying a little speed. The glide ratio is not the best, due to it’s stubby wings, and it can have a tendency to fall out of the sky if airspeed dips too much.
I have really enjoyed training in this airplane. It gives me the opportunity to learn how to fly a basic aircraft, something that I will always be able to fall back on, even as my training progresses and the aircraft I fly progresses.