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The classic American light plane, its name is synonymous with fun flying.

The Piper J-3 Cub was vastly popular as a civilian trainer and sport plane before the U.S. Army Air Corps selected the aircraft for evaluation as an artillery spotter/director platform. Military versions of the Piper Cub were known as the L-4 Grasshopper.

The J-3 Cub was a two-place tandem cockpit, dual-control aircraft that featured a fabric-covered frame with wooden spar, metal-ribbed wings, a metal-tube fuselage and a metal-tube empennage. Its fixed landing gear used “rubber-band” bungee cord shock absorbers along with hydraulic brakes and no flaps. Flight instruments included an airspeed indicator, altimeter, compass and simple turn-and-bank indicator. It was equipped with a two-way radio, powered by a wind-driven generator.

The Piper Cub, painted in its familiar “Cub Yellow” civilian colors, was a staple at many flight schools in Texas teaching new students the basics of flying.  Many of these schools contracted with the military during World War II to help speed the training process and eliminate those who were not learning at an acceptable rate.

Over 20,000 Cubs were built by Piper in the United States and Canada.  The J-3/L-4 not only introduced uncounted thousands of aspiring military aviators the basics of flying, it also became a versatile workhorse of the battlefields of World War II. Several hundred J-3 Cubs are still airworthy around the world.

This Cub, built in 1940, belongs to Lone Star Flight Museum’s Director of Flight Operations, Larry Gregory.  It is on loan to the Museum.

Quick facts

  • Manufacturer: Piper
  • Country: United States
  • Type: Civilian Sport Aircraft
  • Engine: One Continental A65
  • Maximum speed: 92 mph
  • Armament: None
  • Ceiling: 12,000 ft.
  • Range: 250 miles
  • Crew: 2.00
  • Length: 22 ft. 3 in.
  • Wingspan: 35 ft. 2.5 in.
  • Number built: 20,291


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