Plane of the Week #6: Piper Enforcer

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Plane of the Week #6: Piper Enforcer

Postby wifesaysno » Mon Aug 06, 2012 10:03 pm

Plane of the Week #6: Piper PA-48 Enforcer

This is a plane that seems to have slipped down the cracks of history and never was given the opportunity to show what it was capable of. The Piper PA-48 started life originally as the Cavalier Turbo Mustang III. Thus the story really starts with the Cavalier Mustang.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cavalier_Mustang
Some registered on the FAA N number registry in case you want to find one yourself:
http://registry.faa.gov/aircraftinquiry ... 0&PageNo=1

The Cavalier Mustang was born out of Trans Florida Aviation Inc under the ownership and leadership of David Lindsay. David apparently was a fan of the P-51 Mustang from WW2 since in 1957 he formed Trans Florida Aviation Inc with the intention of turning surplus P-51s into private-high performance 'buisness' planes. In order to do this he bought up some surplus Merlins with a wee bit more HP, modified the cockpit/fuselage, heightened the vertical stab, and made optional wing tip tanks. The USAF soon realized though that a (then) modernized P-51 (should say F-51) would be a perfect COIN (Counter Insurgency) aircraft for South/Central
American allies of the US...remember, this is in the height of the Cold War and those darn Commies were the bad guys!
Eventually they developed the Cavalier Turbo Mustang III by throwing a Rolls Royce Dart 510 Turboprop in the airframe to create a dedicated COIN or CAS (Close Air-Support) aircraft for a USAF competition. Unfortunately, they were far to small of an operation to support the Turbo Mustang, thus the project was sold to Piper. In Piper's hands it recieved the Piper model number PA-48 and name of Enforcer. In 1971, the Cavalier operation closed its doors with David going to help out the Enforcer program. At this time the Enforcer was participating in COIN/CAS competitions with the USAF. In which it performed very well, go figure the stellar performance of the Mustang showed through especially with a turbo prop engine! However, the military never took on the project, thus the Enforcer never recieved any military designation (hence the PA-48 model # from Piper being used). Also, a military pilot never flew the Enforcer even in competition. So it was a pure civilian program in every including MOST of the funding. However, the stellar performance was all for not, the military never bit so the Enforcer went into the shadows. Piper was not too happy with that though and continued lobbying for a second chance. They got it in 1984 with another USAF competition. Yet again, the Enforcer beared its teeth and performed well. Yet again, no orders came. There were 4 of these made: 3 are left. I know of only 1 that is complete and on display and
that is at the National Museum of the USAF in Dayton, Ohio. I have seen this sweet thing in person and I have to say, it was heart warming for this vintage enthusiast to see a vintage design given another go at life. The noticable differences to me were the large wing tip tanks, taller vertical stab, raised bubble canopy, re-shaped wing, very long nose with of course a massive exhaust duct and the 4 big prop blades. Some of the changes are obvious in origin: Longer nose to house the Lycoming Turbo Prop later installed, taller fin to compensate for increased torque from the bigger blades, raised cockpit to increase pilot's field of view. The wing itself though looks almost original except for the tip tanks. However, it needed much strengthening to handle the host of rockets, gun pods, and dumb ordnance that was to be carried.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piper_PA-48_Enforcer
http://www.aviastar.org/air/usa/piper_pa-48.php
The USAF Museum's Enforcer:
http://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/factsh ... asp?id=614

A.F. Scrub has provided the sim community with an Enforcer that is available here on SimV for

FS9 and FSX:
http://simviation.com/1/search?submit=1 ... er&x=0&y=0
As well as a CFS2 version. I have not even downloaded this but I encourage you to give it a whirl, at the very least it might peak your intrest by checking out a 3D model of it.

One last note on this bird before I go, my current generation particularly in the US has seen many of its member go into combat. I have too many friends that either already served, are serving (one for I think his 3rd time), and some are still waiting to go to Afghanistan. The war there is COIN through and through. This plane, the Enforcer, is one of many COIN designs offered to the USAF, USMC, and US Army as well as our allies for use in the COIN role. The dedicated COIN aircraft like the Enforcer proved to be far more affective than even the legendary A-10 in their roles. However, that is pretty much all they are good for; COIN and CAS (FAC goes with these regularly). Without going on to big of a tangent, suffice to say their designs involve compromises to achieve their performance. These compromises unfortunately have seen the demise of all of these dedicate craft since the Vietnam war. The latest victim is the A-29 Super Tucano which, eventhough it won a USAF Light Attack competition with a contract award, recieved NO production order. Now, personally I feel my friends, my neighbors, my classmates,
Last edited by wifesaysno on Mon Aug 06, 2012 10:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Plane of the Week #6: Piper Enforcer

Postby andy190 » Mon Aug 06, 2012 10:59 pm

Very interesting. ;)

How about a Hawker Hurricane the real plane that saved Britain for next week.
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Re: Plane of the Week #6: Piper Enforcer

Postby wifesaysno » Tue Aug 07, 2012 3:48 am

Very interesting. ;)

How about a Hawker Hurricane the real plane that saved Britain for next week.


You mean that shot down more German aircraft than ALL other parts of the defense put together?? 8-)
You know, you bring a good point. The Hurricane held the line and gave the German's Hell!
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Re: Plane of the Week #6: Piper Enforcer

Postby Flying Trucker » Tue Aug 07, 2012 8:05 am

Wonderful article Adam and great commentary...well done... ;)
Cheers...Happy Landings...Doug
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Re: Plane of the Week #6: Piper Enforcer

Postby wifesaysno » Tue Aug 07, 2012 12:56 pm

Wonderful article Adam and great commentary...well done... ;)



Thank you Doug for being supportive!

I kind of wish I would get feed back though from more people. I link every Plane of the Week to my student group's facebook page. So far it seems very very VERY few ever read it....which is ironic because you can mention planes all day that are not obscure types and they would have no idea what you are talking about. So far every plane I have done has been one that I KNOW the vast majority of them do not know about (yes even the Spitfire).

*To my classmates* If you read the above and it irritates you, then go buy some plane books and read up!
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Re: Plane of the Week #6: Piper Enforcer

Postby C » Wed Aug 15, 2012 2:21 pm

These compromises unfortunately have seen the demise of all of these dedicate craft since the Vietnam war. The latest victim is the A-29 Super Tucano which, eventhough it won a USAF Light Attack competition with a contract award, recieved NO production order.


The Super Tucano is another victim of being a non US built aircraft. Just as Airbus were well and truly poohed on by Boeing and politics in the KC-X competition, Hawker-Beechcraft have done the same for the COIN competition (of course their product, the Texan II, although US built is of course based on a Swiss design, the Pilatus PC-9).

Sadly it means that the end user doesn't necessarily get the best product. In the 1980s the UK ran the competition to replace the Hunting Jet Provost in the basic fast jet training role for the RAF and Royal Navy. In a reversal of fortune, the PC-9, the better aircraft, lost to the licence built Tucano - a decision based purely on politics and keeping Shorts afloat in the exceptionally politically sensitive Northern Ireland. It happens everywhere - look at the middle east; money and hospitality talk when it comes to aircraft procurement.
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Re: Plane of the Week #6: Piper Enforcer

Postby wifesaysno » Wed Aug 15, 2012 3:20 pm

These compromises unfortunately have seen the demise of all of these dedicate craft since the Vietnam war. The latest victim is the A-29 Super Tucano which, eventhough it won a USAF Light Attack competition with a contract award, recieved NO production order.


The Super Tucano is another victim of being a non US built aircraft. Just as Airbus were well and truly poohed on by Boeing and politics in the KC-X competition, Hawker-Beechcraft have done the same for the COIN competition (of course their product, the Texan II, although US built is of course based on a Swiss design, the Pilatus PC-9).

Sadly it means that the end user doesn't necessarily get the best product. In the 1980s the UK ran the competition to replace the Hunting Jet Provost in the basic fast jet training role for the RAF and Royal Navy. In a reversal of fortune, the PC-9, the better aircraft, lost to the licence built Tucano - a decision based purely on politics and keeping Shorts afloat in the exceptionally politically sensitive Northern Ireland. It happens everywhere - look at the middle east; money and hospitality talk when it comes to aircraft procurement.


First, I warn you...lots of tangents coming up, I blame ADD and a big mouth.

The A-29s would have been built in the US, same as the EADS KC-X would also have been built in the US. The light attack competition does not really compare with the KC-X competition very well. The KC-X program was a major contract, the light attack featured primarily orders for FOREIGN countries "loyal" to the US (although no one really seems to be)...that and Boeing had massive clout in the US gov't. Something Hawker Beechcraft really does not. They have built trainers and not much else. The Texan II though seemed to have never gained a whole lot of support in the light attack competition. The A-29 was highly praised by all including the USAF...so TO ME it seems it was the fact that it was specialized. The USAF is notorious for not buying simple and cheap airplanes. The F-5/F-20 was not bought for frontline USAF use as originally intended, although it became an excellent aggressor (in relatively small numbers) and the T-38 version became a wonderful trainer. The F-16 ORIGINALLY was a very simple and cheap air to air fighter, but the USAF would have non of that. Pierre Sprey, one of the designers of the F-16 was thoroughly pissed about what the USAF has done to his beloved F-16 as they have massively increased its weight, crammed in complex avionics and weapon systems, and turned it into a multi-role platform.

I should add that Congress and the USAF took a HUGE amount of heat for the KC-X decision. Week after week on, Aviation Week was running stories about all the damage the Boeing award caused. Higher ups lost their jobs over it, so I think its safe to say the USAF would not pick the Texan II because it is "American" (which it is NOT). The Texan II light attack plane is not going ahead, the whole program has pretty much died. Well, I should say after the A-29 was announced the winner and after the USAF said no to production, I have seen nill about it. The A-29 team by the way is lobbying hard for the production order.


It is true that a gov't will award contracts to save a company due to politics, but there are plenty of aircraft and aircraft manufacturers that were sunk do to the same politicians even though they were bigger political assets like Curtiss and Martin. Both of those manufacturers were large (with a lot of VOTERS as employees) and did good in WW2.

But that is MY point of view
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