This is a previously posted blog to test my new website—but if you didn't read it or want to revisit the exciting video at the end, please read on!
Back in 1958 when I began taking flying lessons I mostly learned in Aeronca 7ACs like this one. But I did take several lessons in a Piper Cub J3 - and that experience was wonderful. It's fun and easy to fly. It has a certain magic that no other small plane has.
Its iconic profile and yellow paint with black lightning bolt is recognizable by every pilot who ever flew an airplane.
Designed and built by Piper Aircraft company in 1937, its original configuration had fabric wings and body, a 40 HP engine, no electrical system, no navigation system, no flaps, and originally, no brakes (?!) - a very basic flying machine. But fun to fly and more importantly it was an excellent flight training airplane. This became critical to US military forces as WWII began. By 1947 when production of Piper Cubs ended, 19,888 had been built. Three quarters of all American pilots trained during WWII took their initial flight training in Piper Cubs. It remains one of the most perfect vehicles for experiencing the true joy of flying.
And now there is a new generation of Cubs - called SuperCubs - which feature a much more powerful engine, big tires and brakes, strengthened frame, and modern electronics.
They are mostly flown in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska because they are ideal for landing and taking off in rough conditions, like beachs, stream beds, and short unpaved fields. I have never flown one, but I would love to.
Protected areas of wilderness are always beautiful whether they are in Alaska, Hawaii or right here in the midwest. I will talk more about protected wilderness areas in a future blog post. Here's a video that illustrates the fun of flying a SuperCub over some spectacular Alaska scenery.