This 1960 Piper PA-22-150 Tri-Pacer Is a Restored Rag-and-Tube ‘AircraftForSale’ Top Pick

This early tricycle-gear convert helped convince Cessna to follow with the 172.

Piper’s Tri-Pacer is enjoying a cultural comeback. [Courtesy: Jeff Swartwood]

Each day, the team at Aircraft For Sale picks an airplane that catches our attention because it is unique, represents a good deal, or has other interesting qualities. You can read Aircraft For Sale: Today’s Top Pick at daily.

A few years ago, I was on the ramp at Sussex, New Jersey (KFWN), filling the tanks of the club’s Cessna 172 when a Piper Tri-Pacer appeared from behind the hills that blocked a pilot’s view of Runway 21 during the base leg. Painted a creamy white hue with red trim, it stood out against the clear blue sky of a mid-March morning. The air was crisp, and while spring was still a week or so away officially, it was knocking on the door.

The airplane parked and four young people got out (young by my standards), greeted me with a wave, and headed to the diner by the airport entrance. Clearly, they were enjoying an ideal GA experience. What really struck me was how gorgeous their airplane was. I had seen plenty of Tri-Pacers, but they often looked well-worn and even unloved. A rag-and-tube airplane with tricycle landing gear seemed like an unpopular combination, and old-timers at the airport rarely said anything nice about them. Some critics said the gear made it look like a milking stool. The four travelers at Sussex, however, appeared to be delighted with their nicely restored flying machine.

Since then it has become clearer that Tri-Pacers are enjoying a sort of renaissance, especially among younger pilots who like their postwar styling and view the tricycle gear as an advantage. Lately I have seen more restored examples like the airplane for sale here.   

This 1960 Tri-Pacer has 2,500 hours on the airframe and 350 hours on its 150 hp Lycoming O-320 engine since overhaul. The panel includes dual uAvionix AV30 flight instruments, Garmin 496 with panel dock, Garmin 327 GPS, headset jacks at all four seats, and two USB-C ports.

The aircraft underwent a restoration in 2006 that included new paint and interior, and mechanical upgrades, such as a Plane Power alternator, internal and external LED lighting, and STC’d modifications to its oil cooler and fuel system.

Pilots looking for a vintage four-place single that combines the looks of a Piper Cub with the more forgiving tricycle-gear ground handling of a Cessna 172 should consider this Piper PA-22-150 Tri-Pacer, which is available for $80,000 on AircraftForSale.

You can arrange financing of the aircraft through FLYING Finance. For more information, email

Jonathan Welsh is a private pilot who worked as a reporter, editor and columnist with the Wall Street Journal for 21 years, mostly covering the auto industry. His passion for aviation began in childhood with balsa-wood gliders his aunt would buy for him at the corner store. Follow Jonathan on Twitter @JonathanWelsh4

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