View Full Version : Recovering a PA-18

05-19-2006, 09:34 PM
I have a 1966 PA-18 - 150 that now needs to be stripped, metal inspected and repaired as necessary, and then recovered and painted. I am located on Long Island, NY and find very few nearby parties that will do such a job in my search so far. Anyone out there that has a suggestion for a firm or private party that does this kind of work that is located in the northeast?
Looking foward to your answers

05-19-2006, 10:01 PM
Cubs Unlimited is in PA. I think he is listed on the links page, try looking there for the link to his web site.


Rick Papp
05-19-2006, 10:56 PM
Kurt ,
You would have to look far and wide to find a more meticulous craftsman than John at Cubs Unlimited. Quality work buy a real Gentleman. It would be worth the trip to Finleyville Pa. (southeast of Pittsburg). Rick :D :D :D :D :D

Vermont Supercub
05-20-2006, 10:27 AM
There's a guy named Jim Beams in Richmond VT that does a lot of fabric and restoration work. He has a good reputation around here.


06-29-2006, 06:07 AM
I thank those who replied to my request for refinishers for the PA-18.
The party; Jim Beams is going to do the work. I will let all know how the job goes, Thanks again , Kurt

10-31-2006, 09:31 PM
The recovering of our PA-18-150 is complete.The job was done by Jim Beams (JBAERO) in Richmond Vermont. In addition to complete recovering, some metal work was needed such as 2 rib replacements, cable replacements, jack crew repair as well as replacing all the cowling, fairing and interior cockpit pannels. All new glass was installed along with headliner and floorboard refinishing.
The fabric work is excellent and the paint job couldnt be better.
Most important to report, Jim is a gentleman and true to his word. Everything was finished by the time it was promised. The fabric and refinishing was a fixed price and that was it.. The added metal work was done on an hourly basis and everyone I consulted felt that the times logged for each task or group of activities was accurate. Nothing was done without consulting us first. All metal work repairs and new parts/covers were very well done. The plane looks like brand new!!

I highly recommend that anyone in the northeast needing this type of work call and consult with Jim about doing the work.
The plane flies beautifully and 3-5 mph faster. Shows what crud and patches and old fairings do to performance

Kurt Roeloffs

Vermont Supercub
11-01-2006, 05:32 AM
Glad you had a good experience with Jim, he's a good guy.

11-02-2006, 12:15 AM
After the first of the new year, when I am settled into my new position, I
plan on doing some Dope and Fabric work. I may already have a 1951 PA20 owner lining up to be my first customer.

Before my Pacer, I owned a Tri-Pacer that I restored. Working on the plane almost 40 hours a week, I completed the job in 8 months. It is a lot of work. My Pacer took three years because I just didn't have the time to work on it.

So the first thing you realise is the labor bill will be very high. It is
common to find a quote of $15,000.00 to cover a Pacer/Tri-Pacer. If you ask the mechanic he will say, that is only to remove the fabric and install the new fabric. The removal and installation is just slightly more than half the job. The other half, and most important part, is the inspection and repair of the airframe. With the fabric removed, you will find several things that must be removed and replaced or repaired.

I would plan on $7000.00 for dope and fabric (Stits/Polyfiber)
The cost of these parts can be found by looking at a Univair Cataloge:
All new control cables
several wing ribs will need replaced
all new electrical wiring
new rear window frames
some replacement of the 3/8 inch channeling on the belly
maybe some longeron replacement
new insulation
new headliner
new plexiglass
new bungees
new wing tip bows
and lots of new hardware including a million number 4 sheet metal screws.

While you have the plane in pieces, plan on taking the lift strut/wing attachment fittings off for inspection. Sooner or later, I think they will be the subject of an AD note.

I'd save you money by letting you order all the parts and material needed
for the job. I'll email you a list and you buy everything and drop ship it
to my shop. And, you can save money by doing all the painting yourself. I'm an average painter. I'm getting better. My Pacer looks pretty good but there are a couple of runs in the paint. The last thing I painted was a 1973 Datsun 240Z I restored and it looked very nice. I have learned a couple tricks to remove runs and orange peel from the finish.

If you wanted Dan's Aircraft in Anchorge or Northern Piper to recover your Super Cub, you only need to send them your data plate, aircraft records, tail wheel spring, jury struts and a check for $160,000.00. Six to eight months later, your Cub will look, and smell, like new.

So, I'd plan $15,000.00 labor for the fabric work, at least $10,000.00 to
buy material/replacement parts to complete the job, and add another couple of grand for the un-expected.

Before you tear the plane apart and do the job yourself, I'd like to
comment. I have seen several owners tear their planes apart, and never get the job done. Sooner or later, parts start missing and the value of the
plane drops. I prefer to buy a flying project or at least a fully assembled
project so I know all the parts are there. If the plane is in pieces, you
don't know what is missing.

Good luck with your plane. I should be in Louisville by January 2007
depending on driving conditions on the Alcan highway. If you want to see an example of my work, visit the Brazil Indiana Airport which is on I-70
between Terre Haute and Indianapolis. Call the manager, Jack Thomas, at 812-443-0018 and tell him I said you could see my Pacer. It is locked up in the big hanger.

Or you can visit the www.shortwing.org and look in the photo section

See ya

Pat Adams
Anchorage, AK