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The first airplane I owned after becoming a private pilot, Tri-Pacer Four Three Delta, was a fabric covered four-place airplane that was manufactured in 1958 and powered by a 160 horsepower Lycoming O-320-B engine. It cruised at about 120 miles per hour and carried 643 pounds in addition to 36 gallons of fuel. Over a period of 20 years, we spent over 1600 fun filled hours in the air and had some great adventures.

More pictures - Tri-Pacer Specs, Brochure.
In 1980, my newly purchased Tri-Pacer was a slow, somewhat ungraceful airplane compared to the shiny, sleek new Pipers, Cessnas, and Mooneys that were then filling the skies, but I couldn’t have been more proud. Tri-Pacers were called "flying milk stools" and were said to "glide like a brick", but her previous owner said, "Don’t worry about what you’ve heard. Keep the airspeed above eighty miles per hour and she flies great." He was right.

Over the years I would discover nuggets that would reveal the rich history of Tri-Pacers.

Just call me the RC Flyer. I love sippin' on an RC while flyin'.
In their glory days, Sam Walton could be seen flying around Arkansas in his Tri-Pacer, contemplating his empire of Wal-Mart stores. At the age of fourteen, Larry Newman, a member of the trio that that was first to cross the Atlantic Ocean in a balloon, was following a train carrying Queen Elizabeth across Canada, in a battered Tri-Pacer, hawking souvenirs at each stop with his father. When Jules Bergman, science commentator for ABC News, wasn’t in our living rooms describing America’s latest space flight, he was learning to fly a Tri-Pacer out of Teterboro, New Jersey. I was in good company - though a few years late ;)

Owning my first airplane - or more correctly - being owned by my first airplane, was a usually pleasant but always interesting learning experience.

Cherokee N9529J
Sadly, Four Three Delta was lost April 7th, 2000 in a taxi wind accident. After twenty years of flying my Tri-Pacer, I moved on to a new flying machine, but I shall forever fondly remember the hundreds of hours that Four Three Delta and I spent in the air together.

Interesting sidelight: Four Three Delta spent it's early years at a flight school near Chicago. The Tri-Pacer at left, one of its contemporaries from the same school, was chartered by a bank robber for a getaway. The pilot was informed of the plot and faked fuel exhaustion, landing in a field where police were waiting.

The man who flies an airplane ... must believe in the unseen.
-- Richard Bach --
Click for Confessions of a Pilot
Book containing these adventures and much more!

Some of the most memorable flights:

Flying into Oshkosh 1997.

An evening flight over Chesapeake Bay from Atlantic City to Washington, D.C.

Numerous beautiful flights across the plains of the Midwest.

Flights to the Gulf of Mexico, New Orleans and Dauphin Island.

Numerous flights around the state of New Mexico with its mountains and deserts.

A trip down the east coast of Mexico, to Tampico, Puebla, Acapulco and up the west coast to Guaymas and back home to Albuquerque.Doughboy

N8943D's home bases: Albuquerque, NM - St Joseph, MO

Read about more flight adventures!

I fly because it releases my mind from the tyranny of petty things . . .
-- Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.

Tri-Pacer Sites:
  • Hello Love Field!    
  • Short Wing Piper Club
  • Northeast SW Club
  • Nebraska SW Club
  • Alaska SW Club
  • Darrell's TriPacer
  • Tony's Alaska Trip
  • Rebuilding '78A
  • Wayne Slaughter
  • Flying Milkstool
  • Tri-Pacer AD's
  • TriPacer Gallery
  • Dennis Rowan
  • Google Search
  • Ken's Project
  • Miss Pearl
  • N4453A
  • Rick Wagner
  • Tri-Pacer Kit

  • Getting to work the fun way!

    You haven't seen a tree until you've seen its shadow from the sky.
    -- Amelia Earhart (a fellow Kansan)