Charles Raines

1953 Piper PA 22/20-150 "Pacer" N1139C

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Arval Valley Airport, ArizonaAgua Dulce Airport, CaliforniaNear Santa Paula, CaliforniaCockpit interiorInstrument panel with GPS and post lightingFactory overhauled 150 hp Lycoming O-320 engine

After selling my beloved Beechcraft in 1994, I entered into a period of deep remorse. I missed that airplane very much and realized that I simply had to have another airplane, but one that was more affordable to fly and maintain. I had always considered the Piper Pacer to be one of the best looking airplanes ever built. I had never flown one, but anything that looked that good would have to fly good.

I began looking for a clean Pacer in earnest but found most of the ones for sale to be dogs. I finally found a beautiful example in Norman, Oklahoma. I flew my new bird home in January 1995 and over the next eleven years spent 630 mostly enjoyable hours in it. In 1999 I replaced the tired 135 hp O-290 engine with a factory overhauled 150 hp O-320. This really perked the little bird up. My only disappointment with the Pacer was that it didn't carry enough fuel. I didn't mind the cruising speed as much as the limited range. With only 36 gallons, I couldn't comfortably make it to Tucson, my favorite stop on eastbound flights.

After retiring from the airlines, I decided that I needed a more capable cross-country airplane. Once I decided to sell the Pacer–which was without a doubt one of the nicest examples in the country–I had no trouble finding a buyer. Shortly after selling it, I was saddened to hear that it had been severely damaged and had been sold for scrap by the insurance company. About a year later however, I received a note from the person who had bought the pieces. He was rebuilding the airplane, so hopefully it will fly again some day.