Bargain Buys on AircraftForSale: 1949 Piper PA-16 Clipper | Aviation

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Today’s Bargain Buy might be one of the most inexpensive and little-known ways to enjoy off-airport and backcountry capability, and it comes in a unique, vintage package. Designed in 1947 and produced for only one year—1949—the Piper PA-16 Clipper offers a charming hodgepodge of qualities that make a fun flying experience. Only 736 examples were produced, and 265 appear on the FAA registry today.

Essentially a larger version of the Piper Vagabond, the Clipper is a small fabric-covered taildragger that was originally equipped with the 115-horsepower Lycoming O-235. This example has been upgraded to a 150-horsepower Lycoming O-320. Although the Clipper’s lack of flaps might be somewhat limiting on extremely short strips, the additional power combined with a low empty weight of just over 1000 pounds ensures little runway will be required for takeoff. Cushy, oversized 8.50 tires are an ideal choice for rougher surfaces.

Inside, the Clipper differs from most other aircraft. One of the few types that combines control sticks with side-by-side seating, it provides classic stick-and-rudder flying without subjecting your companion to a view of your back. It does, however, also provide a back seat for an additional passenger or a pile of gear. The clean, uncluttered panel sports a smart assortment of upgrades, such as a digital com radio, an intercom, digital engine instruments, and a panel-mounted Garmin GPS. An integrated iPad mount ensures you won’t have to fumble with suction cups or less-reliable tablet holders.

This Clipper also provides peace of mind, with a low 2,200-hour airframe time and only 400 hours on the engine since the last major overhaul in the 1990s. The seller reports perfect compression and has all logs available upon request. Additionally, a set of sealed wing struts has eliminated the requirement to perform ongoing, repetitive airworthiness directive inspections. Finally, the seller is including a set of vortex generators to make…

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