Piper PA-15 / PA-16 / PA-17 Vagabond
1947
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Piper PA-17 Vagabond

The first flush of sales success which followed the end of World War II was followed by a period of near disaster when the US government unloaded its accumulation of war surplus-aircraft on to an active market. This sudden influx of some 31,000 aircraft at highly attractive prices almost paralysed the activities of companies like Beech, Cessna and Piper that were building general-aviation aircraft for the popular market. The introduction of Piper's PA-14 Family Cruiser was one of the steps taken to offset this situation, the other being the design and development of a low-cost utility aircraft as a crash programme. Of the same general configuration as the Piper Cub, it reintroduced a shorter-span wing and a low-powered Avco Lycoming O-145-B2 engine, and there were no 'frills' as standard. Which meant, of course, that the basic practical flying machine could be obtained at low cost, and the more de luxe accessories could be added later, as and when they could be afforded. Designated Piper PA-15, the prototype was flown for the first time on 29 October 1947 and this new machine was soon winning orders. By the autumn of 1948, when the market was showing signs of recovery, Piper introduced the PA-17 Vagabond which was powered by a 48kW Continental A65-8 engine and again equipped with the 'frills' as standard. When production ended, Piper had built a combined total of 585 of these two versions, but the company had earlier added to this success by introducing a four-seat version of the PA-15; designated PA-16 Clipper, and powered by an 86kW Avco Lycoming O-235-C1 engine, this utility four-seater was built to a total of 726 from 1949.


Specification 
 MODELPA-15
 ENGINE1 x Avco Lycoming O-145-B2 flat-four piston engine, 48kW
 WEIGHTS
    Take-off weight499 kg1100 lb
    Empty weight281 kg620 lb
 DIMENSIONS
    Wingspan8.92 m29 ft 3 in
    Length5.69 m19 ft 8 in
    Height1.83 m6 ft 0 in
    Wing area13.7 m2147.47 sq ft
 PERFORMANCE
    Max. speed164 km/h102 mph
    Ceiling3810 m12500 ft
    Range410 km255 miles

Comments1-20 21-40
john lund, johnglund=yahoo.com, 10.02.2014

Can I install a radio /non cert in my pa-17

Larry King, Lrkputz=comcast.net, 27.02.2013

Looking for a set of wheel pants and hardware for a 1948 PA 15 Vagabond Call Me: 260-676-2409

Larry King

Charlie Brower, charliebrower=att.net, 07.03.2012

Bought my PA-17 ( N4686H) six months ago. It replaced an Aeronca Chief 11AC; which was destroyed in landing mishap. This Vagabond is a blast to fly. 85MPH at 2150 rpm from the Continental 65. Starts on first pull. Wouldn't trade it for another Chief or Champ. Hope to keep it until done flying. If you have a chance to fly one: better do it.

Angelo M. Rizzo, sgtriz=yahoo.com, 06.06.2011

Looking for info on putting a wing tank in my pa-17. Great airplane.

Riichard Bauer, rbau90=msn.com, 18.04.2011

A great, safe and joy to fly aircraft, N4376H. It had been modified to have dual controls and a Continental 65.

P. Rasmussen, rasgrif=earthlink.net, 01.04.2011

I have owned a PA-15 since 1987. Wonderful little airplane if you imagine it as the Volkswagen of airplanes. It's only comfortable for average sized pilots, underpowered and the heater hardly works. Just what is necessary to fly and nothing else. What can, at best, be called twitchy ground handling turns into sensitive control in the air due to short coupling, spring balancing in the elevator and huge ailerons. I've flown a Champ and a Cub and wouldn't think of trading.

David E. Tyre, deriverbluuf=comcast.net, 06.03.2011

I had just gotten my commercial pilot's license in May, 1968 and flew a fare to Rural Retreat airport, near Wytheville, VA in a Cessna 150-A model from Jesup, GA.
After we landed and were waiting for our ride to Wytheville, I walked into the hanger and saw two mint Vagabonds sitting on the deck! Hard to believe! They looked brand new.

Bill C., billcavan=aol.com, 21.12.2010

I have a set of Piper factory blueprints for the PA-15. I don't know if this is the only set in existence after the fire at the Loch Haven factory, but I have never heard of another set.

mel, skamens9533=charter.net, 17.10.2010

My vaqabond was a joy to fly. i the covered the wings with

Ceconite and added a six gallon wing tank. It did beautiful falling leafs to a landing,dead stick landings, and careful loops. slowing it to stop the prop from windmilling, it would not go faster than 50 mph in a dive and flared but bounced 20 or 30 ft in the air,twice. sold it for $1700 and bought a house

JJ, jjenninngs=yahoo.com, 22.09.2010

I soloed in a PA-17 at the Quartz Hill, California airport. I managed get the solo instruction done, but after I had paid for a ten hour block of time, the Caveat Emptor Flying School folded and the airplane and personnel disappeared. The one that I flew had a wood prop, no wheel fairings, and I don't remember a right side door. The instructor had to get in first, then the student. The one that I flew had no electrical system, so there was no radio for controlled fields nor lights for night flights. It had to be propped for every start.

JJ

Tom Calovini, shooter=iwaynet.net, 10.09.2010

4438H was a Vagabond bought in 1953 after working a summertime
construction job between my junior and senior year of high
school. What a great plane...sold it when I went off to
college. Fond memories of the Vagabond and the times we
shared...wish I still owned her.

Brian Whitmore, brianw=dreamhuntresort.com, 21.08.2010

I have a 1949 piper pa-17 for sale.

javier, javifer59=hotmail.com, 29.07.2010

soy el propietario de uno de estos modelos de piper Vagabond, me gustaria intercambiar fotos y toda informacion de interes acerca de tu avion.Esta hangarado en Canelones-Uruguay.

Kent Stapleton, kentstapleton=yahoo.com, 20.03.2010

I believe the information on the number of P-15/PA-17's built is incorrect. I think there were 517 of them built. I fly the last PA-17 that came off the Piper assembly line. The aircraft was originally purchased by Marshal Jones, Westtown, PA in 1948. He flew it for years and then sold it to his daughter (Helen Jones Stapleton) for $1.00 when he could no longer pass the FAA Flight Physical. Helen gave me the opportunity to fly the Vag whenever I wanted, so that's what I do. The "N" number designation is "5056H". The Vag is kept at Smoketown Airport in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.

Chris, tiger1542r=juno.com, 15.02.2010

Wag Aero sells plans for replicas of the J-3, PA-11/17/14

http://www.wagaero.com/wag.html

Gelmino Righetti, gelmino.righetti=alice.it, 06.01.2010

Where could I could find building plans of the PA 17?

javier Rodriguez, javifer59=hotmail.com, 19.07.2009

Yo soy propietario de un PA 17 vagabon,es el unico que hay en Uruguay, y tengo el honor de haber ganado el primer premio Campeon Clasico de la EAA argentina 2009.- Si alguien desea ver foto,puedo enviar.

Martin R Goldfarb, 2008=DesertIslandAir.com, 03.02.2009

Try the Short Wing Piper Club www.ShortWingPipers.Org for copies of the original PA15/17 plans

Fred, FJMelick=aol.com, 14.11.2008

Had a Pa-17 it was a nice little plane. I am sorry I sold it. The closest thing to the PA-17 is the Wagaero classic plans built. I had one of those that was partially finished and never should have let it go either. Wish I had them both back again.To soon old and to late smart.Have fun.
Fred.

Daniel, Coldaniel=peoplepc.com, 11.06.2008

The PA-16 Clipper should be listed as a completely different aircraft from the PA-15/17 models. All 724 units were produced in 1949. Following a complaint and suit threat by PanAm over the use of the Clipper name, the production was stopped in October of 1949, the design was modified for the O-290 engine, control wheels replaced the stick and slight mods to the landing gear was made and the production continued under the Pacer name in February of 1950. It was therefore the forerunner to the popular tri-pacer.

1-20 21-40

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