All about the immortal J-3 Piper Cub and L-4 Grasshopper, built by William Piper at Lock Haven, which evolved into the PA-11 Cub Special, PA-18 Super Cub, and the Legend Cub and other lookalikes of today

Flying Tigers


Flight of Passage

Flight of Passage is one of my favorite books of all time. When I read it, I bought three more copies to mail to flying friends. Written by the grown-up younger brother, it tells the story of two boys who rebuilt a Piper PA-11 over the course of a winter and, the following summer, flew it across the United States, the youngest pilots (aged 17 and 15) known to have accomplished that feat. It's a story of brotherly love and a remarkable, one-legged, outrageous father who could fly anything, anywhere, and who embued his boys with the confidence that they could do the same. And they did! If you haven't read it, do yourself a favor and do so without delay. It's available at in paperback, Kindle, and second-hand hardcover editions.

And now the story is headed for the big screen. Two independent film-makers have crowd-sourced a $22,000 grubstake to make a short film that will help sell the idea to a production company. You can read about the project (and contribute, if you like) at the Indiegogo website

Some do it young, some do it old: "Dan, enjoyed your Tales," emails David Hourdequin. "Soloed on my 71st birthday and got my Sport Pilot rating soon afterward followed by tailwheel and towered airfield endorsements. Now I'm finishing my second kit plane.... I feel quite inspired that you flew till you were nearly 80. I'll be 73 in August when I'm looking forward to some cross country flying in my own plane, 'Five Alpha Delta' until my time is up. We're never too old to enjoy and share the passions of our life. Thanks for living that out and writing about yours."

David is referring to my collection of Taildragger Tales: My Late-Blooming Romance with a Piper Cub and Her Younger Sisters, which I put together a couple years ago from the articles and essays I've written over the years -- my hapless first lessons, a week of aerobatics in Arizona, bush flying in New Jersey (yes! New Jersey), and cruising the New England countryside in Zero Six Hotel. The little e-book has caught on caught on lately with cubdrivers and would-be cubdrivers. It's available at Amazon stores worldwide - at the Apple iBooks Store - at Barnes & Noble - at Inktera - at Kobo - and at Scribd. Blue skies! -- Dan Ford

Classic Cubs, from Taylor and Piper:

What's a Cub? (from the E-2 to the PA-18 Top Cub)
Production figures (from Taylor to Zlin Aviation)
Assembling Cubs at San Benito on the Gulf of Mexico
Restoring Marion Carl's J-2
Piper Cubs of the Luftwaffe
Four One Victor, all new, all over again :)
Piper Cubs in Dutch service
Meet Leah Jones, one of the original Piper crew
Liberty Girl: around the world in an L-4 Grasshopper
A Sentimental Journey to Lock Haven
San Diego to Lock Haven, 2003 (Len Buckel)

The Cub wannabes of a later time:

The Legend Cub: a J-3 for the 21st century
A weight & balance table for the Legend Cub
Cub Crafters introduces its Sport Cub at Oshkosh
The Tiger Cub Ultralight
The Savage, a lookalike with a Rotax engine
The Wall Street Journal salutes the Top Cub (Lynn Lunsford)
The Husky: a Super Cub for the 21st century

Some highly practical stuff:

Mounting an ELT in a J-3
The webmaster's guide to Cub-friendly airports
The story of Cub Yellow
Inspection Reports for Classic Cubs and the Super Cub
Choosing the engine for a J-3 (John Renwick)
Getting your aircraft's records from the FAA
How to find Airworthiness Directives for a Cub
Why a wooden prop?
A wind generator for a Piper Cub
Removing the gas tank on a Piper J-3 (Len Buckel)
Fixing the brakes on a J-3 Cub (Len Buckel)
That Marvel-ous Mystery Oil (Robert Parker)
Some specs for a Cub with a Continental 65 engine
Piper Cub instrument panel (Stu Bright)
Using a handheld radio in a Cub (Lynn Towns)
Hand propping a Cub (Lynn Towns)
Recovering a Piper Cub (John Scott)
Doing a weight & balance calculation for a J-3
Pre-flighting a J-3
Low-tech mounts for your GPS unit
Clearing up the paperwork on a J-3 Cub

Books and suchlike:

A Piper Cub bibliography
Subscribe to Cub Clues newsletter
Taildragger Tales (Daniel Ford)
F.E. Potts's Guide to Bush Flying (F.E. Potts)
The Compleat Taildragger Pilot (Harvey Plourde)
Low and Slow: a Liaison Pilot in WWII (Don Moore)
Janey: A Little Plane in a Big War (Alfred Schultz)
L-Birds and the Brodie Device (Terry Love)
Acceptable methods, techniques & practices (FAA pub 43.13)

Piper Cub Forum Warbird's Forum

Question? Comment? Newsletter? Send me an email. Blue skies! -- Dan Ford

Flying Tigers

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Posted September 2015. Websites ©1997-2015 Daniel Ford; all rights reserved.