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Piper PA-12 Super Cruiser
Single-engine three-seat high-wing monoplane


Archive Photos ¹


Piper PA-12 Super Cruiser (N92547, c/n 12-76, 1946) on display c.1990 at the MCAS El Toro Airshow, MCAS El Toro, California (John Shupek photo copyright © 2001 Skytamer Images)

Piper PA-12 Super Cruiser (NC3517M, c/n 12-2384, 1947) on display c.2006 at the Camarillo Air Show, Camarillo, California (John Shupek photo copyright © 2006 Skytamer Images)

Overview ²


  • Piper PA-12 Super Cruiser
  • Role: Personal use aircraft
  • National origin: United States
  • Manufacturer: Piper Aircraft
  • Primary user: private owners
  • Unit cost: US$2,995
  • Developed from: Piper J-5
  • Variants: Piper PA-14

The Piper PA-12 Super Cruiser is an American three-seat, high wing, single engine conventional landing gear-equipped light aircraft that was produced by Piper Aircraft between 1946-48. The PA-12 was an upgraded and redesignated Piper J-5.

Development ²


When Piper dropped the J- designation system in exchange for the PA- system, the J-5C became the PA-12 Super Cruiser. The earlier J-5s had been powered by either a 100 hp (75 kW) Lycoming O-235 or a 75 hp (56 kW) Lycoming O-145. The newer PA-12 model was initially powered by a 108 hp (81 kW) Lycoming O-235-C engine, was fully cowled, and had a metal spar wing with two 19 gallon fuel tanks. A Lycoming O-235-C1 engine rated at 115 hp (86 kW) for take-off was optional.

The PA-12 is approved for wheels, skis, floats and also for crop spraying. The PA-12 cockpit accommodation is provided for the pilot in the front seat and two passengers in the rear seat, side-by-side. Unlike the J-3 Cub the PA-12 is flown solo from the front seat.

Operational Use²


Many Piper PA-12 Super Cruisers have been modified with larger engines. Wing flaps and a metal-skin fuselage can be added as modifications.

In 1947, two Piper PA-12 Super Cruisers named City of Washington and City of Angels flew around the world, and the worst mechanical failure they suffered was a cracked tailwheel. The City of Washington currently resides at the Boeing Aviation Hangar, part of the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA. The City of Angels is on display at the Piper Aviation Museum in Lock Haven, PA.

Many Piper PA-12 Super Cruisers are still flown and the type is commonly seen in North America. In November 2009 there were still 1688 registered in the USA and 229 in Canada.

Variants²


  • PA-12: Original model type certified 24 March 1947, with a gross weight of 1,750 lb (794 kg) in the Normal Category and 1,500 lb (680 kg) in the Utility Category.
  • PA-12S: Second model type certified 11 August 1948, with 1,838 lb (834 kg) gross weight, Normal Category only.

Specifications (PA-12 Super Cruiser) ³


Type:

  • Three-seat light cabin monoplane.

Wings:

  • High-wing braced monoplane
  • Wings attached direct to build-in center-section on top of the fuselage and braced to the lower longerons by steel-tube Vee struts.
  • Wing structure consists of Spruce spars and aluminum-alloy ribs, the whole being covered with fabric Frise-type ailerons operated by cables.
  • No flaps.

Fuselage:

  • Rectangular structure of welded steel tubes, with fabric covering.

Tail Unit:

  • Braced monoplane type.
  • Welded steel-tube framework covered with fabric.
  • Self-aligning streamline wire bracing.
  • Elevator Adjustable in-flight.

Landing Gear:

  • Fixed a divided type.
  • Two-side vees and has-axles hinged to cabane within fuselage.
  • Rubber cord shock-absorption.
  • Hayes wheels 841 (8.00 × 4 tires).
  • Hydraulic expander tube brakes.
  • Three leaf-spring full-swiveling tailwheel.
  • Alternatively, twin-float or ski undercarriage.

Power Plant:

  • One Lycoming O-235-C four-cylinder horizontally-opposed air-cooled engine enclosed in hinged pressure cowling, and developing 104 hp at 2,600 rpm.
  • Sensenich two-blade fixed-pitch wooden airscrew.
  • Fuel capacity 38 US gallons (143 liters)
  • Oil capacity to US gallons (7.5 liters)

Accommodation:

  • Enclosed cabin seating pilot forward and two passengers side-by-side in rear seat.
  • Dual controls, rear set removable.
  • Access door on starboard.
  • Baggage compartment aft of rear seat.

Dimensions:

  • Wing span: 35 ft 5½ in (10.80 m)
  • Wing chord: 5 ft 3 in (1.6 m)
  • Length: 22 ft 10 in (6.96 m)
  • Height: 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m)
  • Wheel track: 6 ft 2½ in (1.89 m)
  • Propeller diameter: 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
  • Baggage compartment: 13 × 12 × 30 in (33 × 30.5 × 76 cm)

Areas:

  • Wing area, gross: 179.3 ft² (16.65 m²)
  • Fin area: 4.7 ft² (0.43 m²)
  • Rudder area: 6.8 ft² (0.63 m²)
  • Tailplane area: 15.10 ft² (1.4 m²)
  • Elevator area (total): 11.7 ft² (1.08 m²)

Weights:

  • Weight empty: 950 lb (431 kg)
  • Useful load: 800 lb (363 kg)
  • Weight loaded: 1,750 lb (793 kg)
  • Baggage allowance: 41 lb (18.6 kg)

Loadings:

  • Wing loading (fully loaded): 9.76 lb/ft² (47.65 kg/m²)
  • Power loading: 16.82 lb/hp (7.63 kg/hp)

Performance:

  • Maximum speed at sea level: 115 mph (185 km/h)
  • Cruising speed: 105 mph (168 km/h)
  • Landing speed: 49 mph (78.4 km/h)
  • Climb: 510 ft/m (155 m/m)
  • Absolute ceiling: 15,500 ft (4,725 m)
  • Absolute ceiling at 1,500 lb: 18,000 ft (5,490 m)
  • Cruising range: 600 miles (965 km).
  • Take-off run: 640 ft (195 m)
  • Take-off run at 1,550 lb (703 kg): 480 ft (146 m)
  • Landing run: 410 ft (125 m)
  • Landing run at 1,550 lb (703 kg): 360 ft (110 m)

References


  1. Photos, John Shupek, Copyright © 2001-2006 Skytamer Images. All Rights Reserved
  2. Wikipedia. Piper PA-12
  3. Bridgman, Leonard. (editor). Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1948, Sampson Low, Marston & Company, Ltd., London, 1948, page 310c-311c


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