Twenty one years ago, while on a skiing trip out west and after watching “Super Cub One and two” about 100 times, I took a side flight to Cub Crafters in Yakima, Washington. At that time, Jim Richmond, the CEO of Cub Crafters, was restoring Cubs. I purchased a 1979 Super Cub from Jim, which he flew out to Maine the following spring. That began a 21-year flying experience for me… all in the same Cub. Over those many years, I covered most of Maine and Eastern Canada all the way to Hebron, just short of the Arctic Circle in Labrador. I completed most STCs, including a 160 hp conversion, and lastly put her on Wipline amphibs. That wonderful plane now resides in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.
One March day, last spring, I was online admiring what Jim Richmond has accomplished over those 21 years and with these words from my wife, “Just Do It,” I placed order #324 with Cub Crafters. Their dealer in New England is Eric Standley and I cannot say enough about his dedication and determination in making this a very successful experience for me. I flew out to Oshkosh with Eric in a Carbon Cub and all those wonderful folks from Cub Crafters made it a fabulous and very rewarding trip for me in many ways.
There are many decisions to make in this process and the panel is probably one of the toughest. I opted for the Garmin G3X and autopilot. At Oshkosh, they had a Carbon Cub all set up so one could sit in it and try out the G3X. That convinced me I had made the right decision. Yes, it’s a lot of bucks, but I can now say that I am totally satisfied with that decision. I was not sure that the autopilot was something I would use once home in Maine. I was wrong. I use it all the time.
Eric set me up with a link to the factory cameras and I could watch my Cub as it progressed down the line. That is unique. And the factory visit is a must!
As my pick up date became a reality, and even though I have 2500+ hours of Cub flight time, I recognized that I needed to study such things as weather, airspace regulations, and possible routes home. A big portion of my summer was spent doing just that.
On September 21, I first saw N242WW on Aerocet amphibs at Bob Stark’s Twin Oaks airport outside Portland, Oregon… and I must be honest, I was almost in tears. It is gorgeous and what a performer! I spent my first day with an instructor to fulfill insurance requirements: a very worthwhile day. This is a totally different airplane from my Super Cub. It is very light, very quick, and the Garmin panel is astounding. I can say without question that the instruction day and flying part way back with a CFI, Steve Flattum, were two of the smartest things I did.
Steve flies with American when he is not ferrying planes. He taught mountain flying for many years in Fort Collins, Colorado. I had read anything and everything available as to the recommended routes to follow. Steve said the way to see the mountains is to fly over them. We did. At 15,500 feet over the highest peak in Rocky Mountain National Park, I was totally convinced. The Cub was not even straining at that altitude.
Steve departed near Chicago and after a somewhat rocky start, I headed East, passing the Great Lakes, over the Adirondacks, and home to Maine. The last morning, after departing the Portland Jetport, I ran into fog and a lowering ceiling for just the last 30 miles of my journey. I shut down the autopilot, and flew from lake to lake as I picked my way through territory I am most familiar with. It sure was nice to be home.
What stands out about this “journey?” The fantastic reception we received from Cub Crafters was top of the line – and has been ever since day one. Unquestionably, the Carbon Cub is phenomenal. But the factory visit is what really stands out. We were introduced around and then were free to talk with the employees at any station and take photographs. A factory tour is a must. Steve made a couple of good points: they fabricate their own parts and we were free to tour as we wanted.
What Jim Richmond and his crew have accomplished is fantastic. So, don’t miss the tour. It is truly an eye opener.