Juergen Nies

1960 PA22/20-150 Serial No. 22-7282 Piper Pacer N3342Z

Juergen Nies jpmnies@comcast.net

N3342Z started its life on January 18, 1960 in Lock Haven Pennsylvania as a PA22-150 (Tri-Pacer). J. W. McNury (Assistant Chief Engineer Piper Aircraft Corporation) signed the log bock.

Until November 1975 the airplane labored as a trainer as well as being privately owned and accumulated 2,340 hours. In 2018 the son of a former owner contacted me and provided this picture of the (Tri-) Pacer sitting in their front lawn showing his older sister holding his younger sister and a (boy) friend.

In August 1975 the following changes were made:

  • Conversion to a PA22/20-150 (Piper Pacer Taildragger) with 800x6 tires and Scott Model 3200 Tail wheel
  • Installed Cleveland brakes.
  • The whole airplane was recovered and painted in Sacramento green and Daytona white.
  • Installed landing and Taxi light into left wing.
  • Installed airborne dry vacuum pump.
  • Installed new Narco radios.
  • After all these changes the empty weight was 1,092 lbs.

One and a half year later, in April 1977 (after only 6 additional hours on the tach) the last entry was made for almost eight years. Eight years later, on February 1, 1985 N3342Z was signed off again after an extensive restoration process (which filled six pages in the log bock). Some of the additional changes are:

  • The whole airplane was stripped of its cover, inspected, recovered and painted in its current colors (Sun Valley ivory, Tennessee red and Bahama blue).
  • Installed drooped wing tips.
  • Added wing strut fairings.
  • Installed wing strobes.
  • Added two out-board long range fuel tanks (11 Gallon capacity each to a total capacity of 58 Gallon).
  • Installed all new Windows.
  • New Headliner.
  • New Carpet.
  • Overhauled Propeller.
  • Engine was opened and inspected (the engine had a major overhaul in 1965 at 1308 hours).

There is no indication of why N3342Z was sitting around for almost 8 years. Until now (December 2000) the total time of the airplane is 2,888 hours. Since the taildragger conversion in November 1975 only 548 hours were flown onto the airplane.

I purchased N3342Z in July 1999 and have added 130 hours of those 548 hours in the last one and a half years. I transitioned from an Aeronca Champ (N3126E) to the Pacer. It took me a while to get used to the bungee cord type landing gear vs. the nice Oleo-strut gear of the Champ. I also found the Pacer to be much more sensitive during take off and landing roll than the Champ. The first 10 hours I had a problem with "fish-tailing" down the runway, until I checked the set up of the tail-wheel springs and found them to be too loose. I shorten the length of the chains attaching the springs to the rudder and the problem completely went away.

Near York, PA - Winter, 2000

The reason for me to change from the beautiful Champ to the (also beautiful) Pacer was that I needed four seats to haul my family. I am in the fortunate situation that my wife, as well as our two daughters (three and five years old), loves to go flying with me. We have spent many weekends to fly to different places for lunch or sight seeing. All of us went to the Virginia State fly inn at Petersburg, VA in June 2000 and camped under the wing of the Pacer over night.

The longest cross-country I have done in the Pacer was last year's trip to Sun and Fun. This was also the trip were I set my personal endurance record piloting an aircraft none stop. I flew from Winchester, VA to St. Simon Island, GA (with a slight head wind) in five hours and 19 minutes using 49 Gallon of fuel. Since then I had a new carburetor installed to reduce the fuel burn down to 8 to 8.5 Gallon per hour vs. the almost 10 Gallon per hour it used to burn.

Sun-N-Fun Antique/Classic Campground - April, 2000

The Piper Pacer fills my flying requirements just perfect. It is large enough for my family, it's a taildragger (this was important for my selection of an aircraft) and the cost of ownership fits the budget. It will cruise at 105 to 108 knots indicated airspeed and gets me where I need to go. Yes, there are faster and bigger airplanes out there to give me four seats, but they come with a price.

Enroute to Hummel, VA - Spring, 2000

Fast forward to January 2016. By now I have flown the Pacer for over 1,500 hours and had the engine rebuild and upgraded to 160 HP in 2007 and also updated the instrument panel to IFR to get my instrument rating in the Pacer. My kids grew up in the Pacer and are now in College.

December 2003 en route to New York to watch a Broadway Show

The Pacer is now used to shuttle them back and forth, deliver supplies or just to visit. I have been at Sun & Fun and Oshkosh in it, have flown the Hudson River (New York) many times and anywhere else up and down the East coast of the US.

Hudson River flight November 2017

2018 Panel upgrade to GARMIN 430w GPS and ADS-B out Stratus transponder

The big plan is now to spread out after retirement to explore the West coast in the Pacer and of course to fly to Alaska. I will definately report about these trips on this site.

Camping at OSH 2015 I am organizing a monthly fly out for our EAA Chapter, but the participation does not depend on being a Chapter member. Each month we fly to different destinations for lunch or sight seeing. Let me know if you would like to be added to my E-mail list for schedule updates and the fly out reports or monitor the "Upcoming Events" on this Web-Site.


Click here to see some of my flights

Restoration of Pacer N3342Z

I purchased the Pacer in July of 1999 and until now (January 2020) have flown about 2,000 hours since then. Some of my recent trips are on my YouTube channel at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwQlzJQIpihpE0zmvmbUGgg

I have always been very meticulous about maintenance, especially since I fly single pilot IFR without the benefit of an autopilot. I also fly across large bodies of water and fly at night. Having all systems functioning without a flaw is very important to me.

I have done a lot of upgrades over the years to increase the top speed, lower the stall speed, modernize the instrument panel for single pilot IFR flying and in 2007 had the engine overhauled. During the overhaul I had the horsepower increased from the original 150 HP to 160 HP and did some other updates/modifications on the engine (all of course with STCs and 337 sign offs).

However, even though the Pacer has always been in a hangar, over the years the visual appearance has deteriorated. The time has come to do a full restoration of the airplane. The engine received a top overhaul last year after just about 1,200 hours on it (after the 2007 overhaul), but that is a whole other story. The restoration will include replacing the fabric and a new paint job (but I keep the current paint scheme) with repairs and/or replacement of anything that needs to be done. The whole process will take me many years since I am planning to do it in stages and in-between fly the Pacer for some time. This restoration can easily span over 5+ years. I am starting with smaller parts/sections of the airplane to be able to get it back up flying as quickly as possible. The wings and the fuselage will be done after I retire and be able to work on it full time. Since I am not a licensed aircraft mechanic, all of the work is done under the supervision of my mechanic and all of the logbook entries are done accordingly.

Cowling, wheel pants and Engine Baffles December 2019 through February 2020:

When the engine was done in 2007, I moved the oil cooler from the front of the engine to behind the #4 cylinder. This required to remove the original scoop on the nose bowl and insert a plug.

Original oil cooler position. Oil cooler and scoop visible under the spinner and the plug riveted in the nose bowl after the oil cooler was moved.

The right-hand side cowling had holes worn through by the boot cowling screws. I made a new piece and replaced the screws for the boot cowling with countersunk screws to prevent this from happening again in the next 60 years.

The top piece of the cowling had cracks in it. I made a new piece.

Paint all stripped off

Some dents in the nose bowl.

All hammered out, no body filler needed

Large gaps between the nose bowl and the plug are closed using auto body repair tools (Hammer and Dollies)

To prevent any vibration and cracking of the body filler, the plug was welded to the nose bowl. GOOD JOB MAC!!!!! (friend of mine)

Left side and bottom cowling all stripped and ready for paint.

I am using a three stage turbine paint system and water based Stewart system paint. I haven't painted for about 17 years and never used water based paint before. I was a little worried at first, but it really turned out well.

Primer done and painting the Daytona White base coat.

Aligning and masking the red stripe using a laser level. Red parts are all done.

All painting done and back on the airplane.

Latches for cowling with old paint on them and then chrome plated and/or polished (Some of the material is stainless steel).

Engine Baffles January 2020:

Cracks in the baffles behind cylinder #4..

Also, the holes for the ignition wires are really big and let a lot of air go out reducing cooling efficiency. Here is the baffle all repaired and nice ignition cable plates installed.

Yoke Emblems January 2020:

The Emblems on the Yokes looked pretty sad after 60 years. It was time to do something about it.

Wheel pants January 2020:

Since I am painting (the cowling) anyway, I decided to go ahead and do the wheel pants at the same time. They have been taking a beating over the years. Here they are all stripped, cracks are repaired and ready for paint and here they are with new paint and back on the airplane.

Cowling and wheel pants are all done. Now on to the next section of the airplane until it is all done.

Updated 04/26/2020

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