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Thread: Compare/Contrast Maule M-6 vs Pacer?

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    Default Compare/Contrast Maule M-6 vs Pacer?

    For a little fun how about a compare and contrast of the Piper Pacer vs the Maule M6

    Targeted at a first time pilot to train in and then ultimately fly a small family around airport to airport for a few years and then hopefully many years of back country adventures.

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    Member ret25yo's Avatar
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    what engines? any mods or standard equipment.

    If you cant stand behind the troops in Iraq.. Feel free to stand in front of them.

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    Member AKDoug's Avatar
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    I'd like to know too. I'd written both off as difficult to fly for beginners and a little small for families.
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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ret25yo View Post
    what engines? any mods or standard equipment.
    The abilities of the airframe w/ or without mods would be good topics as would which engines are good in each etc (maintenance costs?). Point is to be an open discussion on the attributes and shortcomings of each to get an idea of what they do well since they both fit the 4 seat conventional gear category.

    Topic starters: gear strength, fuel burn, climb rates, stall speeds and characteristics, interior room, available mods, etc....

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    Member AK-HUNT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AKDoug View Post
    I'd like to know too. I'd written both off as difficult to fly for beginners and a little small for families.
    Doug,
    I really would not write any off for this reason. I have found this to be snake oil. I supposedly learned in a "bad" taildragger. Just makes others easier to fly later on. A pacer is not nearly as bad as you hear. Get 10 hours in one and you won't notice a thing.
    As far as the original subject, some engines on the maule are not supported anymore.
    (Continental io360).
    Personally I like the pacer. Easy to fix and engines readily avail.

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    Default Two totally different airplanes...

    Quote Originally Posted by LuJon View Post
    For a little fun how about a compare and contrast of the Piper Pacer vs the Maule M6

    Targeted at a first time pilot to train in and then ultimately fly a small family around airport to airport for a few years and then hopefully many years of back country adventures.
    While a Pacer might be very similar to a Maule in size and appearance, that's where it ends, especially with an M6. I grew up in the back seat of a Pacer that my dad had, and have owned Maules for years. I started out with an MX7, now have an M5.
    To start with, an M6 will usually have an O540 or IO540, putting out 235 hp, which is at least 85 more than a stock Pacer. This translates into a huge performance increase. The downside is that M6 is going to cost at least three times what a Pacer will.
    An M6 is a very capable airplane, better than either of the Maules I've had, and I've flown an entire moose off a 500 foot gravel bar in one trip.
    On the other hand, I could have flown that same moose out in a Pacer if I'd have made two, or better yet, three trips. For a family of four on a budget I don't think you can beat a Pacer. If you can afford the Maule though, it will perform circles around the Pacer.
    As far as learning to fly either of them, I'm not one that subscribes to the idea that you should learn to fly in a tailwheel airplane from day one. There is nothing wrong with getting your private rating in a 152 or similar airplane, then moving on to a tailwheel.
    Maules and Pacers are a bit more of a handful than something like a Cub or Citabria. They are shorter and seem to want to swap ends on the ground a little more. That said, they are not hard to master. I have taught pilots in both who had no tailwheel experience and everyone did well.
    One other thing I like about the Maules and Pacers is that with their short wings, turbulence is much more comfortable to fly in. I also have a Cub and with it's lower wing loading, turbulence that you wouldn't notice in a Maule/Pacer can knock your fillings out.

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    "As far as learning to fly either of them, I'm not one that subscribes to the idea that you should learn to fly in a tailwheel airplane from day one. There is nothing wrong with getting your private rating in a 152 or similar airplane, then moving on to a tailwheel. Maules and Pacers are a bit more of a handful than something like a Cub or Citabria. They are shorter and seem to want to swap ends on the ground a little more."


    I'd like to get some thought on this statement. I learned to fly in a Pacer from day one- never flew anything else until almost 100 hrs. Went on to a T-crate and thought that was actually more of a "handfull". I would say that the biggest obstacle for a beginer tailwheele pilot is a x-wind. With the low wing-loading, slower stall speed, and longer fuselage of the crate I felt this to pose more of a problem for gusty days. I would guess this would be just as noticable to someone is a cub or a Citabrai, but I'm not sure. That being said I think a Pacer makes a great airplane for a family. I took family trips all over the continent with my father in his 125 hp. PA-20. With a few mods I think a "poor mans maule" can perform right up there with its more expensive conterpar?

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    The Pacer is a very capable aircraft, especially for the price of admission. There have been several iterations of this design, the most notable is the Producer, and while I have never flown one, seems to be an awesome aircraft. I have flown several reletively stock pacer in the 135, 150 and 180fp versions. It is more short coupled but very manageable, once you understand it and that holds true for any airplane.
    The comparision between the two aircraft are not the same other than being a single engine, taiwheel a/c. The oleo gear on the Maule behaves differently, the higher hp and the dimensions of the fuselage all factor in. They do share the same airfoil and approximate wing dimension though. Especially on the M-4. The M-6 & 7 are a very different bird. So I would be inclined to suggest a comparison between the M-4 & Pacer. (The fruit doesn't fall from the tree!) The primary difference is that the "4" started with a 145 hp, moved to a 180 for a couple of a/c and then onto the 210 and finally the 220 which was a tractor. Again, the oleo gear makes it a little easier to manage.
    I have had the privilage of watching a couple of guys that have a lot of experience in the Pacer and can make it do anything they choose. BD Maule was a hotrodder at heart, take a big engine and stuff it into a small (ish) airframe. Piper could have done the same thing and I'm sure that during his time with Piper BD championed for it, but Piper was a little more concerned about liability. BD snubbed his nose at lawyers.
    There are only two facts in aviation: Every a/c is a compromise, no one a/c will do everything great. And the only thing that will make you understand your a/c best is directly proportional to the amount of fuel you run through it.

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    Member algonquin's Avatar
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    I've had two Pacers, a 135/140 and a 160. The 135/140 is a 54' with the old style instr. pannel (flat across the top and the 160 had a late model W/ raised section. That changed the vis on the ground. They both had droop tips but the 160 had vg's. You could slow down as much as you dared w/o stalling. I think I liked the 135 better, the whole package seem balanced, but the 160 took off shorter but the loads where the same. The VG's gave you a deck angle that hit the tailwheel first if you full aft'ed the yoke landing, it was tough to full stall in ground effect. The extra hp cost 2 gph. The gear on the Pacer is fine as it is, it will remove itself and absorb engergy in a forced ldg. as it should and will hold up for normal ops just fine. The Pacer needs to be flown more carefully on T/o than landing. On ldg. you are going slow and slowing, the tail is very heavy so brake's can be applied fairly heavy w/o the nose over tendancy making the landing controled and short. On T/O (I had cruise props on both) the wt. of the A/C takes time to accelerate = distance. I'm told a borer prop make a world of diference. The charteristic that is misunderstood is the elevator is more effective than the rudder by a lot on t/o. The short fuselodge give you a short arm length to apply force for directional contol, so pilots being pilots don't want to wait to lift the tail and can end up with the tail in the air and not enough airflow on the rudder to hold it straight in a strong Xwind. This leaves you to feather the brake for directional control, a sporting event at the very least. No xwind no problem and that IMO is a reason some pilots say the pacer is tricky on the ground. The bottom line is know the limits and charteristics of what your flying. I've no experience in the Maule so this is the pacer half of you question. Tom

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    Lots of good info so far, and I appreciate that there are certainly major differences between the Pacer and Maule and that it isn't an apples to apples comparison. That said they both have the ability to haul ~4 people and use unimproved strips or gravel bars. I have no doubt that the maule has a higher cost of ownership but I am not sure just how much more it will cost to maintain vs how much more useful it will be. So next up, TBO, insurance, repair/maintenance costs. I am also curious about true interior room, as a big guy I havn't sat in a plane yet save for Seahawks Beaver that I had room to spare. I do fit in a 172, and can actually move around enough to do minor things like operate the pedals... A J3 or T-crate on the other hand I think I have about as much chance in a cockpit that size as I do driving a miata.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AK-HUNT View Post
    As far as the original subject, some engines on the maule are not supported anymore.
    (Continental io360).
    TCM still lists many different models of the IO-360 on the current mfg list. What isn't supported?

    What's the useful load on each? How's the performance at gross? Those are the questions a guy needs to ask when looking at a 4-place airplane. Just because planes have seats doesn't mean you can fill them.

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    Member tboehm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Pid View Post
    TCM still lists many different models of the IO-360 on the current mfg list. What isn't supported?

    What's the useful load on each? How's the performance at gross? Those are the questions a guy needs to ask when looking at a 4-place airplane. Just because planes have seats doesn't mean you can fill them.
    That is for sure. When doing the weight and balance on the the 2006 172 that I was learning on, I found out the with full fuel that you can't put 4 people in it which is funny because there is 4 seats

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    Member algonquin's Avatar
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    I looked at a M-5 w/ io360 ,210 hp. I called the factory and spoke a rep fromMaule. He told me that it is cost prohibitive to convert it to a 540. He also said that there were a lot of problems with the 360 engine. cylinders and valves. He told me directly to stay away from the IO 360 that they couldn't give him one. Thats the extent of my Maule knowledge , just repeating and never owned anything with the 360, if operated properly it could be a turely great engine. I don't think TCM supports it anymore, you can find out pn there web site or write to them, they are very good about getting back to you. BTW the M-5 210c was worth under 30,000 last fall by book. This one just sold for under 40,000 it was a nice one also.

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    I had an IO-360 for a few years. One thing I do remember, it's a very expensive engine to replace. Not that all airplane engines aren't expensive, but the TCM IO-360 is more expensive than most. There are 13 models of the TCM IO-360 on their current production list.

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    A friend told me this topic was being discussed on the forum and I thought I could contribute a thing or two since I currently own BOTH an M6 and a Pacer (albeit, a pretty highly modified one).

    For a first time pilot (which was stated in the original post), I'd say the Pacer is the much better alternative. It's just a more straightforward airplane to fly. Fixed pitch prop, very gentle stall characteristics, cheap to buy and to operate, and more capable off strip than most people think right out of the box. However, as your skills grow and you want more performance, there is a lot you can do to a Pacer to make it more bush capable including bigger engines (160 and even 180hp), longer prop, wing extensions, VGs, big tires, larger tail surfaces - just to name a few. They are great airplanes and I really think just about the best bang for the buck in aviation today.

    The M6 is a great airplane but more complex and expensive in all regards. First off it's a constant speed and, assuming it has the IO (or O)- 540 a real rocket ship. When you pour the coals to it, you better be pointed in the direction you want to go and keeping it there takes some right rudder! I would not say it performs circles around my 180hp Pacer on T/O but with similar loads, it does leave the ground a little quicker and climbs out substantially faster. Slow flight is impressive but it's a fairly heavy airplane and the stall speed is just about exactly the same as my Pacer which means that I can usually get the Pacer stopped faster. It's all about inertia on landing and a heavier airplane at the same speed just has more. Both of them though can be brought to a stop in 300 feet or less in the real world.

    The nice thing about the Maule is the speed and the ease of loading. It's easily 30mph faster than my Pacer in normal cruise. It is roomier all around and is more comfortable cross-country traveling. Neither is exactly a couch ride though.

    Glad to hear you are looking at both but my advice would be to keep it simple and cheap while you are learning and the Pacer will do that the best. And...for the record...neither airplane is 'hard" to land or keep going in a straight line. Get a good straight airplane and a good instructor and you will do just fine.

    Paul

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    Well, I put this whole issue to bed back in August when I figured out that I was going to be hanging out in the sand box for another bunch of months instead of heading back home.

    First off thanks everyone for your contributions!

    Paul, I have been lurking on supercub.org for several years now and have seen some of the Producer discussions and heard the "batpacer" mentioned multiple times. It seems to be a stretched pacer running PA14 wings and tail feathers, is that correct? I have also read a little about so called "super pacers" but have never seen any description of what that actually is. So far it just seems to mean a pacer with wing extensions but I honestly have no idea what one is to any degree of certainty.

    My buddy still says I should stop thinking plane and just pay for trips like normal people. I am doing that so far but after shelling out 3K for a trip to the brooks this fall for just me, it is clear that there has to be a better way. I know I could save tons over ownership for just ME to pay for fly outs but I would like to take my family along and with a wife and 3 boys who love the outdoors that would be 15K for a family trip to the brooks!!

    I should be starting my pilot training in late May this year and I have put some $$ away to invest in a plane. I am also planning on selling my boat and perhaps a few other items to raise money. The Pacer looks like the way to go so what should I look for?

    Hard to say what you will do with a plane without having any experience using one, but I plan on spending plenty of time just banging around landing at real strips and learning for the near future. The ultimate goal though is to be able to go and fish in semi-secluded areas, find a place to chase moose, and at least get within walking distance of the mountains in the future.

    I have seen pacers from as low as 20K up to over 40. I don't have delusions of landing a pacer on wind blown ridge tops surrounded by glacial moraine and full curl sheep but I would like to buy the "must have" mods for the plane to do what I hope to do one day up front where they have already depreciated rather than trying to add them latter at 3x the price. So Paul in particular based on what you know now, what mods would you look for in a Pacer you intended to grow with as a beginner?

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    LuJon,
    Glad to hear you are thinking of a Pacer. If you plan to stay in AK for any length of time, you'll never regret owning a plane. Don't know if it pencils out or not but the freedom of what you can see and do on your own time is priceless.

    Essential: Get a '56.5 or later Pacer (slightly more cabin room and individual adjustable seats), 150hp minimum (160 or 180 are great but have to burn 100LL), Borer prop, squared/extended wings, VG's, reinforced landing gear, dual brakes (if just learning), Cleveland wheels and double puck brakes, 8:50x6 tires minimum, scott tailwheel

    Nice to have: Pilot door, skylight, lightweight mods (starter, alternator, battery), Bushwheels, more HP.

    You are correct in your thinking that it is way more economical to buy a plane with the mods already instead of adding at full price.

    It's a great time to be a buyer and I've seen some Pacers that would pretty much fit the bill in the high 20's to low 30's.

    Good luck and if you are in the Anchorage area and want to meet up for more info, let me know.

    Paul

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    Fuel is something i would be looking at. Leaning how to fly is a ongoing thing. The more hours the better you should get. Auto fuel is about $1 cheaper than Av gas. A 150hp lyc.@ 8gph. Had a 65hp cont. that burned less than 4gph. If i were to do it again i would not change a thing. Started with a 65hp champ and flew it for 300hrs learned to think insted of relying on hp. Sold the champ and got a cub.As for flying the family more trips= more hours.

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