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Piper PA-12 Super Cruisers
I have Owned and/or Flown

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I don't have a lot of PA-12 time but I've flown a few over the years and they were always sort of special to me. Also, I got my IA in 1968 and maintained a couple of them. Truthfully - I'm not a real good mechanic so I probably did more inspecting and signing off than actual fixing. Here they are:

N2302M, 12-1496 , O-235, 1963-64
Zero Two Mike was based in Lebanon, NH and was operated by Coonie Atherton, of Conneticut Valley Airways. I got my CFI in June 1963 and did some instructing in the PA-12 with ROTC guys from Dartmouth College in Hanover, and others.

N98918, 12-1269 , O-290-D2, wheels and floats, 1963-64
I got my SES rating in July 1963. '918 was based at Lazy J Seaplane Base, on the Vermont side of the Conneticut River just above Hanover, NH. My instructor was Bob Burbank, and I flew over to Hookset, NH for my check ride.

I also flew '918 on wheels out of Post Mills Airport in Vermont. One day I was taking off there, and right at lift-off on a practice short field takeoff, the stick came out in my hand. I chopped the power and settled back onto the ground and taxied up to the shop. I walked in with the stick in my hand and told them what happened. The said "Oh," and got a bolt to stick in it.

We left New England in Aug. 1964, but went back up on vacation in Sept. 1965. My brother Karl and I were practicing take-off and landings from the lake next to the Post Mills Airport, seeing who could get it out of the water the quickest. I was climbing out, past the end of the lake and alongside and below the top of a ridge on my left, when I saw the CHT go up and felt the engine get rough.

I thought I could tuck the nose in and fly low, down to the Connecticut River, but it soon became obvious that we were losing power too fast. The Post Mills airport was parallel and to my right, a bit behind me. It was either go straight ahead and into the trees, or attempt a '180 and land on the airport. There were trees on the far end of the runway, just before the lake, and I knew I couldn't get over them and into the lake. We had a 10-knot tailwind and the grass was short and thin. Not very greasy! We touched down and flipped. Not a happy moment for people or the PA-12.

Turns out - one way the O-290-D2 gets its 135-HP is by advancing the timing 2 degrees, but there had been problems with detonation and an A.D. requires that it be set back. Some guys had the PA-12 up on a small lake in Canada shortly before I flew it, and had set the timing back up for more power. On my flight, the baffle in the middle of the muffler broke loose and moved over to the exhaust outlet, partially obstructing it. This aggrevated the D2's tendency to detonate, which it did to the point of failing. End of story.

N4408M, 12-3360 , O-235, 1963-64
This one was rebuilt by Coonie Atherton and mechanic Barnie and we started flying it in January 1964. It was nice! I did instructing in it, and glider towing. Coonie had a Schweizer 2-22 glider (N10380) that I got my Commercial Glider and CFIG in that summer, and I towed it a lot with the PA-12. There were some interesting tows with two in the glider!

??? 1967
Flight instructing in Virginia

N98985, 12-342 , O-235, 1968
Ferry aircraft for annual, in Virginia

N3680M, 12-2631 , 1973-74
One I owned for a while when we lived in Virginia. I sold it to my friend Bob Shenk. Bob took it apart and refinished it. It was mostly red and he was making it mostly white. He had it almost done and decided to add some retarder in the last coat, to get more gloss. It went through the white and pulled the red out and he had a pink PA-12! Okay - back to the scotchbrite, and no retarder this time!

N3890M, 12-2580, O-290-D2, 1987,
Tailwheel checkout for a friend, and in 1991 did test flights after recovering.



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