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Thread: Which cub clone for new pilot?

  1. #1

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    Which cub clone for new pilot?

    If this is the wrong sub forum, forgive me.
    Anyway, I am on course to getting my pilot's license. It's probably going to be an LSA (sport license).

    I am currently obsessed with cub type planes even though I haven't flown one yet
    So I'm looking at the potential options.

    I've ruled out these:
    Carbon Cub - Too expensive and I'd prefer side by side seating cause I'm a new pilot
    Backcountry - Too heavy and weird engine option
    Taylorcraft - website is faulty and incomplete, so non-serious company expected
    Zenith - same

    These are the most promising:
    Kitfox
    Rans
    Bearhawk
    JustAircraft (highlander)

    When I do start flying, I intend to do some cross country. The weight load seems to be good enough for all. I do intend to carry a bike. Does anyone know if a bike will fit in any of these? I think in certain configurations, my weight would be over the allowed 1,320 lbs by a little. Is this really a big deal or will nobody care? So which would you choose?

    Also if I decide to construct the aircraft myself (or with a little help), which would be the easiest? I have some fabricating experience and have a small machine shop.
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  2. #2
    Bearhawk Builder's Avatar
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    Bearhawk LSA will fit a full size mountain bike with the rear seat out

  3. #3
    Grant's Avatar
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    If you want to fly then buy a completed airplane, no matter how "Bad" it seems. There are flying cubs out there for Less than Half of what you will spend in a basic execution of a build or re-build.

    If you want to build and like to tinker then building an airplane will likely change your mind about how much you enjoy it. I personally love it but I love flying more. So, I did not answer your question (Par for the course) but keep this thought in your head..... "Do I want to Buy and Fly or do I want to buy and build". Remember that any estimates to build are all marketing and sales numbers. Where as sell prices for flying airplanes are normally the starting point for negotiation.

    to answer your question, my opinion on your list would be in this order:

    1. Rans S-7
    2. Just Highlander
    3. Kitfox


    Above all of these I would look for a used sport cub.


    my weight would be over the allowed 1,320 lbs by a little. Is this really a big deal or will nobody care?
    Nobody cares until they do.
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  4. #4
    cubdriver2's Avatar
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    One of my friends just bought a used Legend with a Jabiru engine in mint condition for 56k. He loves it. He has a 0200 J3 on 1500 Aquas and had a 90-8 powered Champ also so he has flown some good types for comparison. Hired gun who ferried from Tx to Connecticut said it was the best flying Cub he had ever flown. Cruises at 110 and climbs like crazy

    Glenn
    "Optimism is going after Moby Dick in a rowboat and taking the tartar sauce with you!"
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  5. #5

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    A RANS S6 would do everything you want, including side-by-side seating, and cost a lot less than an S-7.

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    I hear a little warning bell when I hear a student pilot ask if he can get away with fudging the rules a little. Never fly overweight. Every rule in aviation is written in the blood of pilots who failed to follow it.
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  7. #7
    courierguy's Avatar
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    The OP who mentions "cub clone" and then that side by side seating is preferred, needs to make up his mind! Nothing will make a bigger convert to tandem seating, then after years of flying tandem, going for a ride again in a side by side. We tandem fliers get spoiled by the great viz we have, and take it for granted. A 5 hour ride in a buddy's Maule M-5 made me vow to never go back to side by side, (though they do have a lot of advantages, visibility isn't one of them) I lost count of how many times he was looking at something I couldn't see, and vice versa. The RANS S-7 has the best viz I've seen (pun?) not just over the side but over the nose, you sit up high not down low, it has a sloped and skinny cowl, etc.. After getting spoiled by that for the last 23 years, I got a ride in the newer S-20 side by, and felt like I was sitting down in a cave with blinders on, comparatively speaking. The new all metal S-21 appears to be about the same, I'll stick with my 7. The T Craft was about the worse. The current trend to put a Titan engine in place of a Rotax 912 in some designs, totally overlooks (another pun) the fact that you lose a lot of forward and down viz. Not a big deal flying out of long paved airports, a lot more so off airport.
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  8. #8

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    Thanks for the help.
    I'll look more into the rans. I was leaning toward that.

    I find the weight a little confusing on it though cause it says 1320 (*1800) and it doesn't make clear what the parenthesis means. Is the 1320 restriction the empty weight or the loaded weight? The * says home built. I don't understand why it's heavier if you build yourself.

    https://3bf21215-1086-4c74-9760-9481...e22ae30719.pdf

    Quote Originally Posted by Tennessee View Post
    I hear a little warning bell when I hear a student pilot ask if he can get away with fudging the rules a little. Never fly overweight. Every rule in aviation is written in the blood of pilots who failed to follow it.
    Right I understand and I would never fudge the rules of the plane itself. I was talking about the legal restrictions, not overloading the plane.

  9. #9
    JimParker256's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by StuBob View Post
    A RANS S6 would do everything you want, including side-by-side seating, and cost a lot less than an S-7.
    I was thinking the same a StuBob: The Rans S-6 sounds like it might fit your needs. They are arguably one of the best-kept "secrets" in the STOL world, and are certainly a bargain these days. You're probably not going to win at Valdez with an S-6 (or any other "standard" out-of-the-box kit airplane. There are some SERIOUS mods to most of the class-leaders. But in the real world, you could likely get in and out of about 90% of the places that you would realistically want to go in a low-powered Cub. And you'd be doing it in a lot more comfort, and (heresy warning: avert your eyes, Cub lovers!) in a much better-looking airplane! There are a LOT of S-6s out there – both tailwheel and trike – and the Rans factory still provides excellent parts (and knowledge) supports them. Look for an S-6 with the "Sport Wing" that has the fully-formed ribs and is the only S-6 with the 1320 lb max gross weight limit approved by the designer. The Rans Clan forum is an excellent resource to learn about S-6, S-7, S-20, and the latest S-21 models. Search within YouTube for "Gravity Knight Flying" for Todd Ison's

    I like the Rans S-6 enough that I purchased one myself. The Rotax 912ULS (100hp) is an excellent match, offering sub-300 ft takeoff and landing performance, well over 1,000 fpm climb, and 85-100 knot cruise speeds, depending on power setting and prop pitch. The cabin is wide (45") and comfy, and visibility is outstanding, with plexiglass doors that extend below the seat level and hinge upward for easy entry. You can even fly – at reduced airspeed – with the doors open or removed. (Just remove all loose objects from the cabin first, or you'll be doing a scavenger hunt for them later!) The standard baggage area is about 10 sq ft, located directly behind the seats, and has a 50-lb limit. Carrying a mountain bike there would be challenging, at best. And the "aux" baggage area, with its 30-lb limit, probably would not work. The dimension and shape of that triangular door opening would preclude fitting a bike.

    I'm hoping to solve the mountain bike transport problem using the same approach as the dog crates for Pilots-N-Paws flights... I'm going to remove the passenger seat next to the pilot's seat (and the copilot's control stick), and fabricate a flat tie-down "cargo" platform where I can secure a couple of dog crates. With different tie-down fittings (modified bike rack of some kind?) that should secure a bike as well.

    If you really want to "build" a plane (versus purchasing a flying example), it's unfortunate that the S-6 kits are no longer being sold by Rans. On the other hand, the current "equivalent" Rans model is the S-20, which is an even better airplane. It basically has the S-7's wing and landing gear mated to the S-6's chromoly tubular cabin, but with an even more rugged, welded chromoly steel tailboom (whereas the S-6 uses a riveted aluminum tail boom mated to the same chromoly tubular cabin cage).
    Jim Parker
    2007 Rans S-6ES

  10. #10
    JimParker256's Avatar
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    Rans publishes two sets of max gross weights for several of their aircraft. The 1320# gross weight is the maximum LSA standard, so an Light Sport Pilot can legally fly the plane. That's an FAA regulatory thing...

    But the airframes are designed to meet the Utility category standards, even if you set the GW at the higher figure, but that means you will NEVER be able to fly that airplane as a Light Sport pilot. (LSA rules state that the airplane must have "continuously" had the max GW of 1320 or less.) Looking more carefully, you'll see that Rans also suggests the Rotax engines for the lighter LSA airframes (more useful load with lighter engine), but you can use larger engines (up to the O-340 for S-20 and S-21) if you don't need to meet the Light Sport rules.
    Jim Parker
    2007 Rans S-6ES

  11. #11
    cubdriver2's Avatar
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    I have one of each. Tandem 18 and side by side J4. I like them both but tandem feels like your wearing it better

    Glenn
    "Optimism is going after Moby Dick in a rowboat and taking the tartar sauce with you!"
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  12. #12
    Mike Whitehead Low Lead's Avatar
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    I'd prefer side by side seating cause I'm a new pilot
    Curious what your preference is for side by side seating as a new pilot? That said if you want a side by side Cub clone it's a short list. Wanting to fit a mountain bike says Rans or Bearhawk to me. Tandem/no mountain bike I'd choose a Sport Cub or a closed cowl American Legend.

    I just wouldn't do this:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    (aviationhumor.net)

  13. #13
    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FlyingBear View Post
    If this is the wrong sub forum, forgive me.
    Anyway, I am on course to getting my pilot's license. It's probably going to be an LSA (sport license)...
    You have presented many of the usual questions a new pilot has. A new pilot has no idea where his future flying will take him and you have indicated that you are one of those who is looking for new adventures. Having said that, it appears that you have placed the limitation on yourself and not the airplane choices. Do you have any medical issues which would prevent you from passing a third class FAA medical? If not, then you should go the little extra and earn your Private Pilot Certificate. After you do this you can then get your Basic medical. THEN you will not be restricted to the 1320 pound limitation and your concern about going a "little bit" over gross weight.

    What would you do if the ideal plane which you found for yourself had a gross weight of 1400 pounds? Get your Private now, eliminate that 1320 pound limitation.
    N1PA
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  14. #14
    hotrod180's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skywagon8a View Post
    .... Do you have any medical issues which would prevent you from passing a third class FAA medical? If not, then you should go the little extra and earn your Private Pilot Certificate. After you do this you can then get your Basic medical. THEN you will not be restricted to the 1320 pound limitation and your concern about going a "little bit" over gross weight.....
    IMHO sport pilot is a great way to start off in aviation,
    even if you don't have any issues which would complicate getting a medical.
    NO radio navigation BS required, easy training add-ons to expand your flying into controlled airspaces etc--
    which some people will never need or want.
    If you need or want more after getting your SP, getting a private wouldn't be that much more work.

    The aircraft restriction is the biggest deal...
    but a true "cub clone", cub, t-craft, etc wouldn't be a problem.
    There was a rumor a year or so ago about the SP/LSA weight limits getting bumped up,
    did that ever go anywhere yet?
    Cessna Skywagon-- accept no substitute!
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  15. #15

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    Wife and I have 20" folding electric bikes
    Both will fit in Skylane plus camping gear. Only one in ST cub. Love them!
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  16. #16
    Hardtailjohn's Avatar
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    If they bump up the weight restrictions on LSA, the Tcraft with STC SA1-210 gross weight increase and 85hp engine, will be tough to beat for payload! A skylight gives a little more visibility in turns, and not many will keep up with it in cruise. I'm pretty partial to them if you can't tell. As far as a factory, what do you think you need that for? It's not a complicated aircraft at all. I like tandem seating and a stick a bit better too, but they're not something I'm stuck on.
    John
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  17. #17

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    I agree get a true Private Pilots license!! If you are going to be doing cross country flights the extra training will be useful. Most any experimental will cost you 2-3 times more than a flying certified plane with the same capabilities. Just get a pacer/tripacer, Cessna 170/Citabria and fly it for a few years so you will know what you really want.
    DENNY
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  18. #18
    courierguy's Avatar
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    RANS S-7S, A 1 seater when carrying the Montague E bike, but still plenty of room in the main baggage area and under the bike on the cargo deck, and 8 hrs worth of fuel. I'll never own another airplane if I can't take my bike, the bike enhances the flying experience so much it's worth hauling around.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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  19. #19

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    Thanks again guys.
    The bike is a very important factor for me. It's a gas bike, but the motor is a very light 2-stroke. It would be very fun to land anywhere and have another mode of transportation with me. Will any of the light sport be able to hold a bike with two empty seats still available? I read on another forum that the RANS has the smallest baggage area of all of these. So what about highlander, kitfox and bearhawk? It seems like I am right up at the limit. I don't believe I have any issues with getting a full private license aside from time and cost. If I don't decide to build myself, then the costs really add up and I'm a younger guy (not retired).

    The cub would be good if I could find one with very little engine time. I want a new engine. That's something I don't want to gamble on and that's part of my reason for not just getting a super cub. It also doesn't have side X side seating - which also means less baggage area.

    It looks like highlander and bearhawk have the most baggage area. I would expect with the wheel turned, I should be able to fit the bike, but not sure.

    I am a little surprised there is not a full carbon fiber cub. The CarbonCub's frame I don't believe is actually carbon fiber, but maybe wrong. I think one of these companies should consider making one cause it would allow them to build a much better plane while maintaining the light sport.

  20. #20
    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FlyingBear View Post
    ..I don't believe I have any issues with getting a full private license aside from time and cost. If I don't decide to build myself, then the costs really add up and I'm a younger guy (not retired).
    Once you get your pilot certificate, you are not going to stop flying. The costs continue until "it is over". You either pay up front or you pay later. Just do it, you will not regret it. Along the way you will observe what is "out there" in the aviation World. You will get more ideas. Something will show up and you will say "Gee, I never thought of that!". Remember that most of the people who are posting here have been in aviation for a long time. Lots of what we discuss here we have learned through the "school of hard knocks". Sort of a been there done that thing. When you are climbing a ladder you go up one rung at a time, testing your footing along the way. You will find your dream at the top. Take care, one step at a time.
    N1PA
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  21. #21
    G44's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FlyingBear View Post
    Thanks again guys.
    The bike is a very important factor for me. It's a gas bike, but the motor is a very light 2-stroke. It would be very fun to land anywhere and have another mode of transportation with me. Will any of the light sport be able to hold a bike with two empty seats still available? I read on another forum that the RANS has the smallest baggage area of all of these. So what about highlander, kitfox and bearhawk? It seems like I am right up at the limit. I don't believe I have any issues with getting a full private license aside from time and cost. If I don't decide to build myself, then the costs really add up and I'm a younger guy (not retired).

    The cub would be good if I could find one with very little engine time. I want a new engine. That's something I don't want to gamble on and that's part of my reason for not just getting a super cub. It also doesn't have side X side seating - which also means less baggage area.

    It looks like highlander and bearhawk have the most baggage area. I would expect with the wheel turned, I should be able to fit the bike, but not sure.

    I am a little surprised there is not a full carbon fiber cub. The CarbonCub's frame I don't believe is actually carbon fiber, but maybe wrong. I think one of these companies should consider making one cause it would allow them to build a much better plane while maintaining the light sport.

    An all carbon airplane would be crazy expensive.
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  22. #22

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    I believe the older lyc. engines cranks and cams were made from better metal. New engine is no guarantee for no problems. Wasn't it a carbon fiber vert. Stab that failed on the A320 on long island? Not sold.on carbon fiber structure. Easily damaged by impact.

  23. #23

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    Did you look at Javron Cubs?


    Sent from my iPhone using SuperCub.Org

  24. #24
    skukum12's Avatar
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    At Oshkosh a few years ago I sat in an all metal Murphy Radical I believe. Side by side seating, absolutely massive baggage. Easy for me to get in and out of at my height (6'8" but slowly shrinking). It had bike racks under the wings at the upper strut attach points. I think the website is murphyair.com. It's a kit plane and I don't know how well or how many might be flying.
    "Always looking up"
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  25. #25

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    All really good advice.
    My advice - buy a good J3 for around $30 grand, fly its socks off, sell it for $35 K.

    I did that, except for the selling part, in 1962. They were $1200 then.

    If you want side by side, a J4 is not a bad choice. We bought one a year ago for $22K in pristine condition. Engine had 75 since overhaul, prop was new, paint & interior way above average. You cannot buy a new engine for that. Buckets of fun to fly. Bicycle won't fit. Choose overnights where they have courtesy cars.

  26. #26

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    Flying Bear,
    Welcome & thanks for submitting the subject for discussion.
    I have been reading the threads on SuperCub.org long enough to know that when skywagon8A replies to a question his answer is worth listening to. I would second his opinion: Go for the whole enchilada if you can, get every license and rating and every type of training that you possibly can, and do not ever stop learning or progressing. The “one foot in front of the other” approach is the best one. Be patient and good stuff will come your way. Do not obsess over the cost of training. You will spend “x” number of discretionary dollars from the beginning until the end anyway, and eventually enjoy taking your bike to places you couldn't otherwise go. So decide early on to spend the money. Decide early on to enjoy it, do it right and do it legally. You are asking advice from the right people.
    I was curious also if you lean towards Light Sport due to NEED or due to WANT. If an 820 pound airplane carrying 500 pounds (Legal 1320 MGW) of you, your stuff and fuel satisfies the need, then go that way. But don’t toy with the laws of physics, aviation law or play with the designer’s arithmetic, or even start the discussion with those ideas. If you decide that you need more useful load, then plenty of designs, even certified airplanes like the Cessna 172, 182, 206, etc, will satisfy. You would be amazed at what a stock simple 1959 Cessna 182 will do, where it will go, and what you can load it up with, and how much fun it can be. (It is also an airplane that mechanics know well anywhere in the country and can be easily sold when the time comes to sell it.) The picture of the Cessna 172 with the bike rack on top might be what you need, (of course, with the bikes mounted internally). It is true that the tandem seating gives a pilot more of a feeling of “wearing the airplane”, but it is also true that your passenger is likely to enjoy side-by-side seating more than tandem seating. You’ll figure it out.
    Along the same lines, if Light Sport was optional rather than necessary to you, there are partnership and club opportunities that would beat the cost of going it alone on airplane ownership. And these might be stepping stones towards that Cub-type airplane. No one (almost) buys or builds a Cub, loads it up and flies right out into the bush without first spending a few years putting one foot in front of the other building flying experience. These are also ways to get your feet wet, going to places where you can visit, camp and bike, while still using airports and paved runways to start with.
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  27. #27

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    I agree with that. I do maybe ten taildragger landings each and every day, and am not a qualified bush pilot. I have landed off-airport a couple dozen times successfully, but consider it a good way to tear up a perfectly good Cub.

    Get a Cub - practice a lot, while building the airplane of your dreams. A Champ or Taylorcraft will do, but the Cub teaches you more about off-airport skills.

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