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arborite
02-02-2021, 09:35 AM
Hello Cub folks,

I’m starting the search for a fun tailwheel plane and have been trying a few out. Flew a nice J3 but am not enthralled with flying from the back seat. Thought i would consult the experts on the possibility/advisability of flying a stock J3 from the front.

1. is it reasonable to add rear seat/baggage ballast and fly solo from the front? I don’t have any w&b data, so i couldn’t do the math. i’m pretty light (150 lb) and was hoping by adding ballast to the rear seat area to be able to fly from the front.

2. the plane i flew was placarded “solo from rear seat” so even if i could get within CG limits, is it legal to fly it from the front? it seems to be legal to fly in front with a passenger in the back. does the passenger have to be flesh and blood or can they be made of steel shot bags or camping gear?


I’m new to this forum but have been flying for a long time. Last year I retired and wanted to focus on flying. got my tailwheel endorsement and am absolutely hooked on flying these airplanes. i’m currently shopping for PA 11 variants but J3’s seem more plentiful and affordable.

thank you for your help and advice

SJ
02-02-2021, 09:40 AM
We have several members here who have regularly flown their J3 cubs from the front seat. I personally find the back seat a lot more comfortable, and there are lots of ways to put baggage in the empty front seat!

sj

Crash, Jr.
02-02-2021, 11:06 AM
SJ pretty much nailed it. I far prefer flying mine from the rear seat but if you're so inclined you can solo from the front seat just fine. The plane won't balance or fly as well that way but you can do it. Plus the front seat in a J3 is a miserable thing, about 3" off the floor and narrow. Oh, and the visibility isn't near as good from the front. I tend to stick a 3-4" thick pad under the seat whether I fly from the front or rear.

bob turner
02-02-2021, 11:13 AM
Take the placard out. Do a weight & balance, and note that if empty cg falls within a pretty wide range you cannot load it out of allowable limits. A metal prop might make front seat solo less desirable, but still safe.

Mine is 1946, and my first solo (1962) was in the front.

In any taildragger, a full and sudden brake application at low speed will cause a nose-over. Try not to do that.

txpacer
02-02-2021, 12:01 PM
There's always the PA-11

cubdriver2
02-02-2021, 12:09 PM
View is better in the back seat if you carry your slip almost all the way to the landing

Glenn in

Cub junkie
02-02-2021, 12:12 PM
Didn't know J3's had a front seat.

1934A
02-02-2021, 12:39 PM
Arborite , where are you located? Someone might know of something for sale fairly close if we know your location.

arborite
02-02-2021, 03:32 PM
thanks everyone. very helpful. I live in Ann Arbor, MI and it seems there are a lot of cubs out west on the other side of those snowy mountains. i’m game for flying one home weather permitting, which seems to be sometime in May. maybe.

Kahles56
02-02-2021, 05:15 PM
Get a giant Wiley Coyote doll and add some weight to him , Place in back seat and strap him in .
I saw that one on the back of a Harley one time , Dam near wrecked my truck I was laughing so hard, as for a second I thought it was his/her girl friend. :lol::roll:

Dan Gervae
02-02-2021, 06:36 PM
I hate the fuel tank support tubes by your feet in the front seat. Once you get used to all that space in front of you...flying from the back is quite comfy. My cousin has (I think he still does) a nice J3 in Ishpeming here in the UP for sale...wings rebuilt a couple years ago, fus repainted and a fresh c85 stroker. I can check with him if that’s what your looking for.

Crash, Jr.
02-02-2021, 07:02 PM
Yeah it's really no comparison once you get used to flying from the back seat.

When you fly from the back seat so many of the features of the airframe make sense. The door, back seat, brakes under the front seat...the cub was a back seat plane from the get-go.

dgapilot
02-02-2021, 07:28 PM
And from an instructors perspective, the student has the best view for maintaining pitch attitude. Sitting in the back, you have the nose way out in front and any small pitch change is immediately evident to all but the very new student. It also forces the student to fly by reference to the outside, kind of hard to see the instruments with the instructor in front.


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arborite
02-02-2021, 07:31 PM
I hate the fuel tank support tubes by your feet in the front seat. Once you get used to all that space in front of you...flying from the back is quite comfy. My cousin has (I think he still does) a nice J3 in Ishpeming here in the UP for sale...wings rebuilt a couple years ago, fus repainted and a fresh c85 stroker. I can check with him if that’s what your looking for.

Yes please. I sent you a private message with my info.
thank you

arborite
02-02-2021, 07:38 PM
Is the front seat of the PA 11 the same as the J3 comfort wise? i suspect getting rid of the fuel tank up front should make it better, but is the seating position the same?

Based on the responses above, i’m going to fly the J3 again soon in the back and see if i can figure out the sight picture. my first flight instructor was a rather wide fellow. maybe i’ll ask for a more svelte instructor this time.

supercrow
02-03-2021, 04:48 AM
Front seat in a PA11 is different and more comfortable.

skywagon8a
02-03-2021, 07:02 AM
Take the placard out. Do a weight & balance, and note that if empty cg falls within a pretty wide range you cannot load it out of allowable limits. A metal prop might make front seat solo less desirable, but still safe.

Mine is 1946, and my first solo (1962) was in the front.

In any taildragger, a full and sudden brake application at low speed will cause a nose-over. Try not to do that.
Bob, be careful with a blank statement of "Take the placard out".

While it is allowed, there are certain procedures to be followed.
This is from the Type Certificate A-691:
"NOTE 2: Placard front cockpits of Models J3C-50, J3C-65, J3C-50S with McKinley floats and J3C-65S withMcKinley floats: "Solo flying from rear seat only." Placard may be removed if individual aircraft actualweight and balance shows that the approved C. G. limits will not be exceeded under any loading condition.Manufacturer recommends that all J-3 airplanes be flown solo from the rear seat."

Personally, I too prefer flying the J-3 from the back seat. There is a lot more room in the back and the visibility is just as good.

1934A
02-03-2021, 07:38 AM
Front seat in a PA11 is different and more comfortable.

Even better, put a super cub seat in a PA-11. The front spar carry-through becomes a non-issue for your head!

Skywalker
02-03-2021, 07:41 AM
I thought I was ok with the back seat because that's where I started. Now I'm reminded of why I like the backseat of a glider, those nice flat, level canopy sills stretching out forward giving pitch reference. It's why so many hi time pilots transitioning to ultralights have such an attitude problem.:roll:

WhiskeyMike
02-03-2021, 08:07 AM
You can put a PA-18 seat in a J-3 which is even better than the PA/11 seat or you might consider looking for a PA – 18/95. Unless you want LSA. We put PA 18 seats in a couple of J-3s and it works out well; as for the Front spars I wear a helmet anyways. Some people contend that the J-3 front wing spar attach configuration is stronger than the PA 18. The PA 18 seat install requires a fair amount of work so check it out first. Have fun.

Crash, Jr.
02-03-2021, 12:10 PM
The PA-18 front seat mod requires welding in all new seat attach brackets as the J-3 front seat has simple feet that just bolt to the floor and the -18 had tabs that stick up out of the floor to attach the seat to. Personally I find that just putting a second seat bottom cushion in the front seat gets you up in a nice place to see over the nose. Ditto for the rear seat. Still not sure why in the 40's when people were shorter on average Piper insisted on making the seats so low in the cub. Lots of headroom for tall people I guess.

Dave Calkins
02-03-2021, 01:05 PM
Front seat overthenose vis is great for seeing THAT ROCK. But my J3 is a sweeter flyer solo from the rear seat.

Also. the front seat back is too upright, and as said by others, set low in the cabin. A very strange ergonomic situation for todays average Merican

bob turner
02-03-2021, 01:18 PM
80th year, six feet, 195 lbs, and still fit for an hour at a time with students in back. Cannot even get in with excess cushions; they need to be stock thickness.

And yes - helmet mandatory if you do the cushion or 18 seat.

Crash, Jr.
02-03-2021, 01:37 PM
Maybe I'm just a wee lad but I've never had any occasion to get my head tangled up in the spars even with a cushion in the front seat. In the rear seat with a thicker pad I still have lots of room for GPS and radio hanging from the X brace above my head. Guess being 5'8" has it's advantages.

reliableflyer
02-03-2021, 04:43 PM
There is an STC, I think from Dodge that converts a J-3 to Pa-11 configuration and the CG is such that it can be soloed from the front seat. It removes the nose tank, adds one or more wing tanks and removes the bars that are in the way of your feet. I think there are some tube additions under the top of the instrument panel. In my estimation it makes it a wonderful airplane.

cubdriver2
02-03-2021, 07:42 PM
Even better, put a super cub seat in a PA-11. The front spar carry-through becomes a non-issue for your head!

Thats what I had in my 11 but I flew it with the seat all the way rearward and had to make the seat back angle more rearward. I spent half my time in the rear seat

Glenn

cubdriver2
02-03-2021, 07:44 PM
A J3 is legal from either seat as long as your in CG range.
Other rear seat advantage is shorter, slower takeoff and landings

Glenn

Skywalker
02-03-2021, 08:43 PM
I once did the initial test flight on a biplane with the CG dead center of the envelope. Miserable pig. I put it on the aft limit by moving the battery to the tail, all was sweetness and light. It could land itself. (like a Champ with someone in the backseat) We've been programmed to fear the aft limit, but if you're in limits, you're in. In sailplanes you'll go faster and further. In bushplanes, see above.

PerryB
02-03-2021, 09:00 PM
I once did the initial test flight on a biplane with the CG dead center of the envelope. Miserable pig. I put it on the aft limit by moving the battery to the tail, all was sweetness and light. It could land itself. (like a Champ with someone in the backseat) We've been programmed to fear the aft limit, but if you're in limits, you're in. In sailplanes you'll go faster and further. In bushplanes, see above.
As much as I loved and respected my Dad and his flying abilities, he was certain the devil lived in the back half of the CG envelope. I personally prefer how most A/C fly in the more aft region.

skywagon8a
02-04-2021, 06:43 AM
We've been programmed to fear the aft limit, but if you're in limits, you're in.
That programming came from the fear of a spin flattening due to the centrifugal forces moving the tail towards the outside of the spinning axis. This was more common during the early days of aviation when they were still trying to understand the aerodynamics of aviating. If your plane spins nose low while loaded at the aft cg limit......no worries. Usually... All single engine airplanes are spin tested prior to certification. This is one of the tests used in determining the certified aft CG limit.

IF a plane which normally spins nose low decides to raise it's nose during the spin STOP THE SPIN IMMEDIATELY. !

IF you allow the nose to come up level while in a spin, you may not be able to recover. The spin will become FLAT. The airspeed can drop to zero and the controls will become useless, because there is no air flowing over them. Normally this is not an issue. But it can happen. Know your airplane.

Been there, done that. And that plane which normally spins with the nose straight down, was loaded in the middle of the CG envelope.

dgapilot
02-04-2021, 09:39 AM
Not ALL single engine airplanes meet the spin requirements for certification. The Cirrus doesnít meet it, but rather has an equivalent level of safety with the stupid parachute.

Something to consider with regard to spins, it isnít only being within the CG envelope that is important, but where the mass is located. Using a ballast weight on the tail post will have a greater negative impact on spin recovery than using a larger weight farther forward to achieve the same CG location. Any weight at the extreme location will have a greater centrifugal force reducing the ability to stop rotation.

Everything is a compromise. Having the CG farther aft is more efficient, makes getting the tail down easier for landing. But it reduces your spin margins, and reduces stabilizing on the ground (tailwheel airplanes). Pick your poison!


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skywagon8a
02-04-2021, 09:56 AM
Not ALL single engine airplanes meet the spin requirements for certification. The Cirrus doesn’t meet it, but rather has an equivalent level of safety with the stupid parachute.
The Cirrus was spin tested it failed, which is why the parachute was installed.

hotrod180
02-04-2021, 11:58 AM
.....Everything is a compromise. Having the CG farther aft is more efficient, makes getting the tail down easier for landing. But it reduces your spin margins, and reduces stabilizing on the ground (tailwheel airplanes). Pick your poison!

Aft CG also reduces your cargo loading capacity.

Crash, Jr.
02-04-2021, 12:19 PM
CG also changes quite a bit in flight with a J3. You take off with a full nose tank and by the time you're ready to land you've burned 60lbs of gas from the nose and shifted the CG rear. That's 5% of the aircraft weight in fuel. It's a noticeable and constant change in trim in cruise flight as you burn off gas.

arborite
03-03-2021, 07:54 AM
Thank you all for the helpful input. Yesterday we brought home my new to me J3 and I had a chance to try the front seat for the first time. you are right - it’s tight up there. I think I’ll like the back better.

54496

cubdriver2
03-03-2021, 09:16 AM
Aft CG also reduces your cargo loading capacity.

A J3/pa11 has a larger baggage then a super Cub if you fly from the back seat. Pull the front stick and cover it, unhook front rudder and brake rods, all
this takes about 15 minutes.fill the front floor and seat right to the roof with your crap. Forward view is no difference then flying with a passenger

Glenn

bob turner
03-03-2021, 12:12 PM
Skywagon brings up a great point. I am not a test pilot, and only teach spin entries and recoveries, not fully wound-up spins - but my impression is that any aircraft, if pushed, can get into an unrecoverable or difficult-to recover from spin.

My buddies say it cannot happen to aerobatic aircraft, and maybe control cable breakage is the culprit when a multi-turn spin results in a crash.

skywagon8a
03-03-2021, 04:22 PM
My buddies say it cannot happen to aerobatic aircraft, and maybe control cable breakage is the culprit when a multi-turn spin results in a crash.
I used to believe it could not happen.........until it did. Nothing broke either. Just try to imagine a seven turn spin with a loss of 700 feet. It felt like a maple leaf slowly spinning down. Fortunately the engine kept running. If it had not..........then recovery may have been impossible.

This was a certified airplane with a normal type certificate.

labrador_cub
03-03-2021, 06:42 PM
skywagon I'm curious your take on spins in a float plane? I've heard different things on this from my instructors, my first instructor when I asked him one day out in the c152 after doing spins told me not to try it you might not be able to recover and to not even try stalls. he was not a seaplane rated pilot by the way. fast forward 13 months after I had my license I start my float training with a seasoned float pilot from quebec, he was a wealth of practical knowledge and wish I got more time with him. anyways first thing he tells me to do after I takeoff for my first flight is go stall the plane , he aint landing until he knows what it stalls at first. of course my brain goes right back to instructor #1 saying don't stall the floatplane! needless to say we were fine and after I asked him about spins, he said they are fine just longer to recover. I haven't tried though.

cubdriver2
03-03-2021, 07:18 PM
Thank you all for the helpful input. Yesterday we brought home my new to me J3 and I had a chance to try the front seat for the first time. you are right - it’s tight up there. I think I’ll like the back better.

54496

After awhile you'll love the back seat. It's not only more comfortable but easier to fly in the back. Wings level? No problem you can look at both at the same time. No need to look at that stupid ball in a turn, you own will tell you if your copacetic. Knees get stiff just lay them on top of rudder pedals or out on the struts. Bungee a pack on the front seat and everything you need from snacks to batteries are right in front where you can see and find them. And the best part of all is enjoying the looks and smiles of all the kids and folks getting their first Cub ride. Priceless

skywagon8a
03-03-2021, 07:31 PM
skywagon I'm curious your take on spins in a float plane?
In order for any single engine plane to be certificated in the normal category one of the requirements is that it be able to recover from a spin. First it must complete one full turn, then it must stop the spin prior to the completion of the second full turn. I did the flight testing to certify the EDO 696-3500 amphibious floats on the Cessna 185 with my 185. For the spin portion of the testing, the plane was loaded to the aft CG limit at max gross weight. The spins were done in both directions. Some with the power at idle. Some with the power at full throttle. Some with the flaps up and some with the full 40 degrees of flaps down. Some with the ailerons into the turn and some with the ailerons against the turn. The nose was pointed well down in the turns. In none of the spins was recovery ever a question. Lots of spins.

These spins were done during the investigating phase of the testing and again during the demonstration to the FAA. After this demonstration the airplane is placarded "Intentional Spins Prohibited". In order to remove the no spinning restriction, a six turn spin must be completed prior to stopping the spin in one turn. There is no advantage for a float plane to be certified to allow intentional spins.

Due to the floats hanging low the plane does spin a bit more nose down than a plane without floats. If you have wing tip fuel tanks and spin with one tank full and the other empty, it will turn faster in one direction than the other. Spin testing is required for extra fuel tank installations also.

My take? A spin is a spin. Floats or no floats. I did spin testing with my E-AB TCOW Cub on floats. Chances are few pilots have done intentional spins with float planes since they are taught that "Intentional Spins Prohibited". When I did these spins the airplane was licensed in the Experimental-Research and Development category.

labrador_cub
03-03-2021, 07:45 PM
thanks! its nice to hear first hand info like that. eases my mind now to play around some more in my PA12, I still wont be doing any intentional spins though. just more stalls in different conditions so I know the plane better.

skywagon8a
03-03-2021, 07:59 PM
thanks! its nice to hear first hand info like that. eases my mind now to play around some more in my PA12, I still wont be doing any intentional spins though. just more stalls in different conditions so I know the plane better.
Keep in mind, a spin is a stall maneuver in which one wing is stalled. As a result the forward indicated airspeed will be low. So, after you stop the rotation raise the nose quickly before the speed builds. This will keep the wing loading low. If you hesitate in raising the nose the speed will rapidly increase due to the nose being pointed at the ground. In that case raise the nose more slowly to avoid over stressing the wings.

dgapilot
03-08-2021, 03:08 PM
Never really had a chance to play with spins in the J3, but in a 7AC, I found it was great for demonstrating the impact of CG on the spin to a student. Enter the spin and both occupants lean forward and the nose drops noticeably. Then lean back and the nose comes up and the rotation slows. Lots of fun and a great demonstration.


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skywagon8a
03-08-2021, 04:04 PM
Never really had a chance to play with spins in the J3, but in a 7AC, I found it was great for demonstrating the impact of CG on the spin to a student. Enter the spin and both occupants lean forward and the nose drops noticeably. Then lean back and the nose comes up and the rotation slows. Lots of fun and a great demonstration.
Good demonstration of the effects of CG on the spin.

arborite
04-10-2021, 08:59 PM
well, you were all correct of course. the first five hours of dual from the back i hated it. could not figure out sight picture. then things started to click. by the time i flew off the dual requirement for insurance and got to fly solo, i love the back. no interest in shoe horning myself up front. view from the back is spectacular. iím fully converted. 55194
ps: trying all combinations of door and windows open/closed. everything open is my favorite but it does seem to reduce climb a bit.

cubdriver2
04-10-2021, 10:10 PM
well, you were all correct of course. the first five hours of dual from the back i hated it. could not figure out sight picture. then things started to click. by the time i flew off the dual requirement for insurance and got to fly solo, i love the back. no interest in shoe horning myself up front. view from the back is spectacular. i’m fully converted. 55194
ps: trying all combinations of door and windows open/closed. everything open is my favorite but it does seem to reduce climb a bit.

They don't call it the best trainer ever for no reason, you didn't stand a chance resisting ;- )

Welcome to the club

Glenn

Crash, Jr.
04-10-2021, 10:53 PM
Probably my best landing ever in the J3 was in the back seat on a very dark (surely not illegally dark) evening. Just felt my way down and felt the yaw in the seat of my pants and greased it right on. Sitting behind the center of yaw and pitch really lets you feel what the plane is doing and when you don't have a lot of visual cues to lead you astray you kind of have to "use the force" so to speak and it works out pretty good.

Congrats on the plane, she looks beautiful. Glad we could convince you to give the back seat a try.

DavePA11
04-11-2021, 12:43 AM
It’s great to fly in the back in J3 especially in the summer with door and window open. Fun to surf winds over mountain ridges in CT.

reliableflyer
04-11-2021, 12:05 PM
Most planes can fly slower in an aft CG configuration assisting with shorter landings. A standard J-3 is usually in a forward CG configuration due to the fuel. That’s the reason they are typically flown from the front seat. As fuel is used the CG moves aft. Use extreme caution if you are flying a J-3 from the front seat. If you get on the brakes you may find a very sudden stop. Usually however they go over on there backs at a very slow speed when the elevator is no longer effective.

for off airport landings I find the front seat valuable because I can continue to see obstacles in front of me. This prompts some to wheel land for better visibility. I have a thick cushion on the 18 seat in the front of my J-3 which puts me very close to the spar attachment. I wear a helmet. My J-3 has also been converted to Pa-11 configuration so all fuel is in the wings.

Brandsman
04-13-2021, 10:21 PM
I have tried flying my J-3 from the front seat to accommodate giving a flip to someone too large for the front but, even though I also have a Cruiser and fly that from the front, it feels terribly wrong in the J-3. I love flying it from the back seat.55243


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dgapilot
04-14-2021, 09:44 AM
The nicest thing about flying from the back is that long moment arm from your eye to the front of the airplane. Very easy to see pitch changes. Likewise, it forces you to look out the side during landings. Depth perception is much easier when looking forward at a diagonal to the edge of the runway.

AKbiggagame
04-14-2021, 11:56 AM
I love the J3, I've owned two of them. One had a C90 the one now has an 0200. Get rid of the front tank, add 12 or 18 gallon wing tanks, extend the baggage and rebuild the back seat and install a super cub seat up front. Only way to go for serious two person or backcountry flying in my opinion. Otherwise just enjoy it how it is and cruise around the patch in circles.

5524755248