The Piper PA‑22 Colt was the end of an era as far as the short wing aircraft being constructed of steel tube and fabric covering for Piper. To describe the Colt, one has to remember the Colt’s heritage, or short wing genealogy. First came the PA‑15/17 Vagabond in 1947/48, the Clipper in 1949, the Pacer in 1950, the Tri‑Pacer in 1951 and last but not least the PA‑22 108 Colt in 1961. Many enthusiasts believe the Tri‑Pacer to be the biggest contributor to the Colts basic layout with the tricycle gear. But the Colt owes most of it’s lineage to the short wing that started it all , the PA‑15/17 Vagabond.
The structure of the Colt fuselage closely mirrors the Vagabond as both airframes do not retain the Clipper, Pacer and Tri‑Pacer rear door/seat and overhead structures. Piper understood the market for that period, Cessna had the 150 and Piper had the Pa‑18 Super Cub, but that was a tail dragger, and they needed a machine that was economical to manufacture and also to operate. Piper needed a stop gap airplane to fill the trainer role which they would not have until the PA‑28 Cherokee 140 was introduced. What they came up with was the wonderful little Pa‑22 108 Colt . Piper must of done their homework as well over 2000 Colts were manufactured in the three year production run at Lock Haven, PA. Many were destined for the role which they were designed and manufactured… flight school training.
They served this role very well and for many year. But soon the seventies and eighties rolled around and many of the flight schools no longer had the personnel to maintain the Colt’s steel tube and fabric structures. The Colt became an often neglected rag bag that began to dot smaller airports across the country. Bring on the new century and the old Piper Colt might have a new lease on life. Many Colts will always be ‘around the patch’ type airplanes giving owners an economical avenue to get into the air. A few of the Colts will fall farther into conditions of disrepair, but the fortunate few will wear their Cinderella party dress, as can be seen with our N5191Z. Even a lowly old Colt can be taken out to the party!! Piper’s formula was right on the money in 1961 and also for this time in aviation, The Colt was and still is a lot of bang for the buck.