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Piper PA-16 Clipper

From PlaneSpottingWorld, for aviation fans everywhere

A Piper PA-16 Clipper seen at Sun 'n Fun 2006

The Piper PA-16 Clipper is an extended fuselage model of the PA-15 Vagabond.[1] Both models were designed in 1947 for the same reason - Piper Aircraft found itself in dire financial straits and needed to create new, competitive models using existing parts and tooling. The result was the Vagabond, essentially a side-by-side version of the tandem J-3 Cub credited with saving the company.[2]


The PA-16 Clipper is a stretched and refined version of the Vagabond intended to seat four people[1] (or "two-and-a-half to three" as often told by Clipper pilots). It is equipped with an extra wing tank, added doors to accommodate the new seating, and a Lycoming O-235, the same engine that would later power the Cessna 152 and the PA-22-108 Colt, itself essentially a Vagabond with a nosewheel. The PA-16 Clipper retained the control sticks that had up to that point been common in aircraft derived from the "Cub" family.


In 1949, the Clipper sold for $2995. The average four place airplane on the market at that time cost over $5000. Fewer than 800 Clippers were built in the one year of production before Piper changed to the Piper PA-20 Pacer.


Pan Am Airlines, who traditionally called its famous luxury airliners "Clippers", took offense at Piper using the name for their light aircraft. As a result of this pressure Piper further refined the model, adding wing flaps, further fuel tanks and replaced the control sticks with yokes. A more powerful Lycoming O-290 125 hp engine was installed and this model became the Piper PA-20 Pacer.[2][1]

Aircraft type club

The PA-16 is supported by an active aircraft type club, the Short Wing Piper Club.[3]

Specifications (PA-16)

Data from Plane and Pilot: 1978 Aircraft Directory[1] & Fonden Danmarks Flymuseum[2]

General characteristics

  • Crew: one
  • Capacity: three passengers
  • Length: 20 ft 1 in (6.12 m)
  • Wingspan: 29 ft 3 in (8.92 m)
  • Height: 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
  • Empty weight: 850 lb (385 kg)
  • Loaded weight: 1,650 lb (750 kg)
  • Useful load: 800 lb (362 kg)
  • Max takeoff weight: 1,650 lb (748 kg)
  • Powerplant:Lycoming O-235 with cruise pitch propeller, 115 hp (86 kW)


Originally none were fitted. Many now have VHF Nav-com radios, GPS and transponders installed.

Related Content

Related Development

Similar Aircraft


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Plane and Pilot: 1978 Aircraft Directory, page 59. Werner & Werner Corp Publishing, 1978. ISBN 0-918312-00-0
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Fonden Danmarks Flymuseum (undated). Piper PA-16 Clipper. Retrieved on 2007-12-10.
  3. Short Wing Piper Club (undated). Short Wing Piper Club. Retrieved on 2007-12-13.
  • Piper's Golden Age by Alan Abel, Drina Welch Abel, and Paul Matt
  • The Pilot's Guide to Affordable Classics by Bill Clarke

External links

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