Piper PA-16 Clipper

PA-16 Clipper
Piper PA-16 Clipper at the Short Wing Piper Convention in Kingston, Ontario on 6 July 2006
Role PA-16 Clipper
Manufacturer Piper Aircraft
First flight 1947
Introduction 1949
Produced only in 1949
Number built 736
Unit cost
USD$2995 (in 1949)
Variants Piper PA-20 Pacer
Piper PA-16 Clipper in flight

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. 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. Only 736 Clippers were built in the one year of production before Piper changed to the Piper PA-20 Pacer.[3]


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.[1][2]

Specifications (PA-16)

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

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

General characteristics


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

Related Development
Similar Aircraft


  1. 1 2 3 4 Plane and Pilot: 1978 Aircraft Directory, page 59. Werner & Werner Corp Publishing, 1978. ISBN 0-918312-00-0
  2. 1 2 3 Fonden Danmarks Flymuseum (n.d.). "Piper PA-16 Clipper". Archived from the original on 2007-10-09. Retrieved 2007-12-10.
  3. Peperell 1987, p. 65

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