Saturday, July 27, 2013

What is so cool about a J3 Cub

These little airplanes have been around since the early days of flying. They are made of simple steel bicycle type framing tubes, wrapped in cloth, and painted. The engine is a dirt simple design that dates to the 30s and could most be likened to the engine of an original VW Beatle. This little airplane has the bare minimums of equipment and instrumentation for flight. It is not a particularly sexy design and the cabin cannot be called comfortable or ergonomic. So why was it so popular then and why is it still the sought after lovable plane that it is today.

I think it is because it is so good at being a basic fun to fly airplane.

1. The open door and windows.
The view out the open window is just about as good as it gets. The wind rushing past the opening and the ability to stick your hand outside in the windstream while actually flying in an airplane seems like you are breaking a rule. Didn't our parents, and every sign at the amuzement park harp about keeping our hands inside the vehicle at all times. How can THIS be okay? And once you stick your hand out there you are free to pretend that your hand is a wing and play with the different shapes and angles of attach. It is just plain good fun.

2. It is a real airplane.
It has an engine and wings and a tail. It has all the basic airplane parts that a Boeing 747 has and it operates on the same principles. Thrust, Drag, Lift, and Gravity. The 747 may be a bit more complex and powerful but they are both basically airplanes and they fly. This one happens to only burn 5 gallons an hour and go about 80 miles an hour.

3. The cub is about flying. It is not really serious about getting anywhere. When I go to fly the twin comanche I feel like I need a mission. I need to get somewhere or teach somebody something or get current. The cub is perfect for just going out to the airport and taking a 30 minute spin in the sky.

4. The cub is about learning. It was conceived to be a training airplane and it does that very well. It is certainly not the hardest or most complicated airplane to fly, but by the same token it can teach humility in a hurry if you get complacent with it. Learning to fly a taildragger like the cub will make ANY pilot a better pilot. I feel like a get a little better every time I fly it and I always feel like I have more to learn.

5. The cub is about low and slow flying. The view out the open windows and door has to be experienced to be appreciated. I've noticed all kinds of cool things on the ground near my airport that I have been flying over for years. In the spring you can smell fresh cut hay and grass, jasmine, cows, and a thousand other things that get missed in a closed airplane.

6. The cub is unassuming. It is a plane that just about anyone can afford if you get a few guys together to share it. Even the name the name is unassuming. They could originally be had for $1200 bucks, which was a decent chunk of change in the 30's Guys that own and fly cubs do it because they love flying and not showing off how fast or flashy their aircraft is.

So...  Go out and fly a cub.

No comments:

Post a Comment