Pitcairn PA-5 Mailwing
Single-engine single-seat biplane mailplane

Archive Photos 1,2

Pitcairn PA-5 Mailwing (N3835, c/n 9, 1927) on display at the Virginia Aviation Museum, Sandston, Virginia (John Shupek copyright © 2000 Skytamer Images)

Pitcairn PA-5 Mailwing (N2895, c/n 1, 1927) on display at the National Air & Space Museum, Washington, DC (Photo by Jim Hough 2/20/2004)

Overview 3

The Pitcairn Mailwing family was a series of Mail Carrier and Sport aircraft produced in the U.S.A. from 1927 to 1931.

Design and Development 3

The Pitcairn Mailwings were developed by Pitcairn to carry Air Mail for the U.S. Postal Service. Of simple and robust construction, they also had relatively benign flying characteristics.

They were constructed using Chrome-moly steel tube and square-section spruce spars with spruce and plywood built-up ribs. The fuselage was faired using wooden formers and covered with fabric. The tail sections were built up from steel tube and fabric-covered. The Pitcairn Mailwing had a ground-adjustable fin and in-flight adjustable tailplane, features not often seen in other aircraft.

The undercarriage was of outrigger type with oleo-spring shock absorbers and disc brakes on the main wheels. All models looked very similar; changes were minor, with several fuselage extensions being the most obvious.

The mail was carried in a fireproof metal-lined compartment forward of the pilots cockpit. The Mailwings were flown extensively by the U.S. Air Mail service from 1927 until the end of dedicated Air-Mail routes.

Pitcairn also built the same aircraft in sport versions for private use. These Sport aircraft had the mail compartment removed, and a side-by-side 2-seat cockpit was fitted.

Variants 3

Operators 3

Specifications (PA-5 Mailwing) 3

General Characteristics



  1. Photos: John Shupek
  2. Photos: Jim Hough
  3. Wikipedia, Pitcairn Mailwing

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