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Thread: What makes a Carbon Cub so much lighter than a Supercub?

  1. #1

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    What makes a Carbon Cub so much lighter than a Supercub?

    I was watching some of the 10 year anniversary videos about the Carbon Cub. Obviously it is awesome to have such a great plane continually improved as the Carbon Cub is along with a great kit and good support.

    My question is, what makes a Carbon Cub like the EX-3 version that is out now so much lighter than an equivalent Supercub? The EX-3 has a 2000lb max gross weight and a Supercub can easily have a 2000lb max gross weight. How does Cubcrafters get 150+ pounds out of the plane compared to a Supercub at the same gross weight assuming, the same bush wheels, avionics, O-320 base for the engine(obviously CC gets more power), etc. The EX-3 has a constant speed Hartzell propeller that is heavier than the typical fixed pitch Supercub and the EX-3 is fuel injected. I know the EX-3 has a magnesium accessory case and an aluminum sump but that is not 150+ pounds of weight savings. Cubcrafters claims 50% fewer parts than a Supercub.
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  2. #2
    Eddie Foy's Avatar
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    Plus they are out of reach unless you want to live in them.
    "Put out my hand and touched the face of God!"
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    www.SkupTech.com mike mcs repair's Avatar
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    Gross weight is not a structural limit only. Also based of power/performance. Someone can explain that better.


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  4. #4
    RaisedByWolves's Avatar
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    Amazing what happens when you take 100lbs of structure out.


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  5. #5
    Crash, Jr.'s Avatar
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    There's no free lunch when it comes to weight. The historical answer is that PA-18's and CC-18's are the same weight from the factory. Look at most PA-18 logbooks and you'll see they were coming out of the factory in the low 1000lb range but over the years owners have put more/heavier/fancy avionics, added extended gear, bigger engines, big tires, stronger fuselages (more weight) and overall added material to the structure to make what was a fragile light aircraft into a much stronger and more capable plane but a heavier one as well.

    Carbon Cubs, I will grant them, have made some major improvements that save weight. The main one is the upper longerons going up to the wing root and giving a bunch more space and saving the weight of an otherwise useless upper tail structure that did nothing but hold up fabric on the original Piper designs. That being said, the main reason why Carbon Cubs are light is that they are weak. You take one into the same spots that Alaskan guides take their cubs and those nice light pretty Carbon Cubs start falling apart. It takes material, and therefore weight to make a plane strong; strong enough to hold up to repeated landings on rough surfaces day after day year after year.

    Also look at the real world weights of Carbon Cubs. They aren't all that light once you get the big engine, extended range tanks, all the fancy screens, and big tires on. They are pretty close to a PA-18 weight with all that stuff. The marketing materials may announce how nice their 900lb empty weight is but that's the weight of their demo plane sitting on 4 ply 600x6 tires with a basic panel and 2x 12 gallon tanks. You have to compare apples to apples here.

  6. #6
    Farmboy's Avatar
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    Each has their mission, their place in the market, their followers and their naysayers. No one plane fits all pilots.
    Thousands donít understand why someone would fly around at 500 feet and 85 mph.
    Thankfully we Americans still have a choice.


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  7. #7
    supercrow's Avatar
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    Will be interesting to see how they hold up over a 50 yr. period. Lot of s. cubs and cruisers still going after 70 yrs. I don't expect the carbon cub to hold up that long if they are used like a working super cub.

  8. #8
    Bill Rusk's Avatar
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    I think most EX3 Carbon Cubs are coming in over 1000 pounds now. My Javron Supercub replica came in at 1052 with a gross at 2300. Full up, extended baggage, bush wheels, all the mods etc.

    Bill
    Very Blessed.
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  9. #9
    mvivion's Avatar
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    Cubcrafters advertised the CC-18-180 as weighing right at 1100. I’ve flown three of them, all weighed over 1300 pounds on scales. None had even gyro instruments, very basic VFR airplanes, and all on 8.50 tires.

    Dont believe everything you read.

    Mtv
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  10. #10
    RaisedByWolves's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mvivion View Post
    Cubcrafters advertised the CC-18-180 as weighing right at 1100. Iíve flown three of them, all weighed over 1300 pounds on scales. None had even gyro instruments, very basic VFR airplanes, and all on 8.50 tires.

    Dont believe everything you read.

    Mtv
    Sounds like they used the same scales as piper did from the factory.


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  11. #11
    JimParker256's Avatar
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    I think it is "Cubic Dollars" that make the CC lighter... Just check the price tag!
    Jim Parker
    2007 Rans S-6ES

  12. #12
    aktango58's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimParker256 View Post
    I think it is "Cubic Dollars" that make the CC lighter... Just check the price tag!
    I was just going to say the weight comes out of your wallet.

    The CC-18s I have seen are in the 1350+ weight. 1100 is hard with a 180hp cub, unless you are experimental like Bill, or no electric.
    I don't know where you've been me lad, but I see you won first Prize!
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    Quote Originally Posted by RaisedByWolves View Post
    Sounds like they used the same scales as piper did from the factory.


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    Don’t you have a set of those?

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    Soooooo my 1951 PA 18A with a 125hp motor had a gross weight of 2070 lbs. When a carbon cub does that then you can say "equivalent" until then it is just another contender!! BUT NOT THE KING!!!!
    DENNY
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  15. #15

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    Just talking smack cause I got some red in me. I think Carbon Cubs are excellent aircraft and not bad bang for the buck if you really want short and fast all in one package. I have noticed a bit of issue with sealing the cabin in some so -30 degrees or 6 hours of flying in the rain might be an issue but it could be fixed pretty easy. As the others have said first put them all on the scales. Then go pick the one you want to land in the roughest place you can find 5-15 times a day, or even once or twice a year with a WORKING LOAD. That old heavy, safety cable gear, extra tread tire, SS brake lines, HD 3 inch gear, belly pod, big borer prop (for trimming brush), big tanks (fuel to get home), extended baggage, full metal interior, 4 leaf tail spring, bushwheel wide fork, big flaps, big wing cub, tends to look better. I only need a heavy hauler for 5-10 percent of the flying I do. I could do most of it with a pacer, even more with a carbon cub. But when you go to pull help out a heavy moose camp and the 180 does not show up to help you had better have some cubic inches to make it all fit. They all all great planes. Dance with the one you brought to the party and be happy!!!
    DENNY
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  16. #16
    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimParker256 View Post
    I think it is "Cubic Dollars" that make the CC lighter... Just check the price tag!
    Helium Dollars.
    N1PA

  17. #17
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    Nose to tail small differences. FX3s weight in the mid 1100 lbs. The fuselage is lighter because of tube sizes and the top longeron concept, wings are lighter, ailerons and flaps are lighter, carbon fiber cowl is way lighter as is the oil cooler, baffles, torque tube, sticks, brake cylinders, plastic fuel lines etc. It is all a compromise. Some of those compromises didn't work out like using light fabric. I have maintained some SS Carbon Cubs and currently maintain a few EX/FX2s and several FX3s. Have a groundlopped FX3 in the shop now, changed the wing, gear and elevator. The performance and the control harmony in the EX/FX2 and 3 is amazing to me. I really like the perfomance and the ailerons. Not selling my Super Cub, house and hangar so I can buy one but glad there are people with that kind of disposable income.
    Steve Pierce

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  18. #18

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    I have a Carbon Cub EX in the hangar right now that weighs 968 lbs on 29" Airstreaks, verified on scales. We're not hauling anything but it is sure a blast to fly with about 10 gal of gas, especially with the usual North Dakota wind.

    This particular kit was certified as an E-LSA.
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  19. #19

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    CC seems to be selling lots of their airplanes.

    Where are these expensive CC’s seen in the real world? Are there lots of them being used in the Alaska and Canadian bush? Are they mostly on big tires, floats, or what? Are they work planes or personal transportation for the 1%?

    I live mostly in northern Wisconsin and I’ve never seen one in the flesh. Is it kind of like having a friend who brags about owning a Ferrari, but never takes it out of the garage except to wash it?
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  20. #20
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    Paul, you need to get out more. They have taken over, kinda like the RVs at the places I frequent. I see them all over the back country, fly-ins and STOL contests.
    Steve Pierce

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  21. #21
    aktango58's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Pierce View Post
    Paul, you need to get out more. They have taken over, kinda like the RVs at the places I frequent. I see them all over the back country, fly-ins and STOL contests.
    Yes, fly-ins, and playing.

    Most guys working their machines can't afford the price tag, and they compromise of smaller tubes and such don't account for the beating the working birds up here get.
    I don't know where you've been me lad, but I see you won first Prize!
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  22. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by mvivion View Post
    Cubcrafters advertised the CC-18-180 as weighing right at 1100. I’ve flown three of them, all weighed over 1300 pounds on scales. None had even gyro instruments, very basic VFR airplanes, and all on 8.50 tires.

    Dont believe everything you read.

    Mtv
    Mike,
    And Aviat on the Husky too, none weigh what they show in specs. Not even close.
    John
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  23. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Pierce View Post
    Nose to tail small differences. FX3s weight in the mid 1100 lbs. The fuselage is lighter because of tube sizes and the top longeron concept, wings are lighter, ailerons and flaps are lighter, carbon fiber cowl is way lighter as is the oil cooler, baffles, torque tube, sticks, brake cylinders, plastic fuel lines etc. It is all a compromise. Some of those compromises didn't work out like using light fabric. I have maintained some SS Carbon Cubs and currently maintain a few EX/FX2s and several FX3s. Have a groundlopped FX3 in the shop now, changed the wing, gear and elevator. The performance and the control harmony in the EX/FX2 and 3 is amazing to me. I really like the perfomance and the ailerons. Not selling my Super Cub, house and hangar so I can buy one but glad there are people with that kind of disposable income.
    Why are so many of the FX3's groundlooped? I know of at least 3 others. Anything with that design, or non tailwheel pilots?

  24. #24

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    I would think it is as usual more the pilot then the plane. So say you have a pilot that has the money to buy a FX3 high or low time pilot. Now they want to do a taildragger. I usually recommend buy a pacer or other low buck plane you can bend a few times and not worry about the cost. Others say buy what you want and just get good training. Then you have people that think a 50 year old plane is a death trap have to have the best!! The new plane must be better and easier to fly than some old plane. So they go out and spend a lot of money to get the best high tech plane they can. We have a lack of high time tailwheel instructors. This leads to people landing way too fast. For some reason people think you only need a few hours to learn how to land a tailwheel aircraft. So they bitch when they need an instructor for more than 10 hours of tailwheel landing training. Well if you are 18 then the instructor is crap or you are an idiot. Now if you are say 50 years old (when you have the money for a FX3) with a PPL, worse a IFR or heavy pilot, but no tailwheel time. Ya you will most likely be landing way too FAST!! Low time instructors don't have the experience to tell you what you are doing wrong or what to do when you run off the runway, pick the proper spot to crash, speed at which a ground loop is a non event. I have gone off runways several times, not a big event, lights really don't do damage to gear (prop is another matter). So how many of your instructors said don't worry about going off the runway just keep flying the plane???? So I guess I am just trying to say if you are ground looping an FX3 it is most likely the pilots fault. They need to fly a pacer for a while so they know how to be a taildragger pilot.
    DENNY
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  25. #25
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    Why did Bonanzas kill doctors and Cirrus's fall out of the sky. I know of an X Cub that has been back to the factory 4 times with 4 different owners. I guess a lot of people can afford them but won't or can't take the time to learn to fly them. The NX Cubs are about to hit the market so we should see less carnage, maybe.
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    Steve Pierce

    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.
    Will Rogers
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Pierce View Post
    Why did Bonanzas kill doctors and Cirrus's fall out of the sky. I know of an X Cub that has been back to the factory 4 times with 4 different owners. I guess a lot of people can afford them but won't or can't take the time to learn to fly them. The NX Cubs are about to hit the market so we should see less carnage, maybe.
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    Are those gear legs tubular inside like a Cessna?

  27. #27
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaseyO View Post
    Are those gear legs tubular inside like a Cessna?
    No, it is a Grove aluminum gear leg.
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    Steve Pierce

    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.
    Will Rogers

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    I wonder if we will see them as conventional gear in the future.

  29. #29
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    It is called the X Cub, same airplane just conventional gear. This particular NX Cub started life as an X Cub that got wrecked.
    Steve Pierce

    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.
    Will Rogers
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  30. #30

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    Just when I thought I had a good idea...

  31. #31
    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Pierce View Post
    Why did Bonanzas kill doctors and Cirrus's fall out of the sky. I know of an X Cub that has been back to the factory 4 times with 4 different owners. I guess a lot of people can afford them but won't or can't take the time to learn to fly them. The NX Cubs are about to hit the market so we should see less carnage, maybe.
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    Like more nose gear damage with bent props when they get planted because the pilot didn't slow down to land?
    N1PA

  32. #32

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    I am sure they they can be landed at 100 on the last half of the runway just like the Cirrus they replaced their Bonanza with.
    Regards, Charlie
    Super Coupe E-AB build in process

  33. #33
    mvivion's Avatar
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    That prop is mighty close to the surface. Gonna be a LOT of prop damage if they actually take those things into the "back country", I'm guessing. Folks with one of these might want to consider strapping a spare prop on somewhere.....

    MTV
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  34. #34

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    I think Cubcrafters knows its market better than Boeing. They are doing a great job finding unique, boutique markets and filling them with quality products that have obvious appeal to its well-funded customers.

    I say, “Well done. I wish I thought of doing that.”

    I suspect some smart techie will set up a SC.org website for CC airplanes that is as robust and well-received as this one is, if it hasn’t already been done.

  35. #35
    SuperCub MD's Avatar
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    To each their own, but one thing to think about. When these rich guys bend these spendy toys, everyone else with a similar type plane gets to pay for their their play time with increased insurance premiums.
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  36. #36
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    I think the insurance premiums are type specific. I have been fixing damaged Carbon Cubs for years and my premium on my Cub has been consistent but I might be wrong. I think it is all good, lots of trickle down engineering etc over the last 10 years.
    Steve Pierce

    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.
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  37. #37

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    And just think of all the American families that are directly funded or substantially supported by individuals and insurance companies that pay to fix or rebuild wrecked ragwing Ferraris.

    As long as no one was injured, I imagine mechanics must smile whenever they hear of a CC, PA12, 14, or 18 ground-loop.

    Steve, Mike, John; are your shops doing better business than before Cubcrafters started its own production line? How long is your current waiting list? Months or years?

  38. #38
    Farmboy's Avatar
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    What makes a Carbon Cub so much lighter than a Supercub?

    Iíll just play devilís advocate for a second.
    I know of few names on social media that work their airplanes in the bush, such as Paul Claus. But as I live in the northeast, I probably canít name more than 5 worldwide.

    So of all you bushplane owners on SuperCub.org, how many of you are making a living working your bushplane? (A Cub, not beaver or otter). And working it like itís been described, full of moose, supplies or similar on every trip in/out.

    I love to fly and fly for the pleasure of it. I donít own a carbon cub, Cirrus or a Bonanza. But Iíd love to own any of them as they suit their missions well. Iím not in the 1%, 10%, or what ever financial segment is the percentage of the day. But neither are a large number of Carbon Cub owners. They may have worked very hard and been very successful in their careers, but most that I know are single plane owners. In comparison the husband and wife that had Piper fly a new 2020 M600 turboprop into the airport the other day because they want to upgrade from their Cirrus.... well, Iím sure their matching pants were advertised as ďsalmonĒ color, not a shade of pink.

    And in terms of a sales market, I donít see the Alaskan Bushpilot as being the segment for a builder to go after.

    When I was young, I never understood why all these old guys drove around in hot rods. As I got older, I figured out thatís when they could finally afford to.

    2.5 cents.
    Pb


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  39. #39
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Heinrich View Post
    And just think of all the American families that are directly funded or substantially supported by individuals and insurance companies that pay to fix or rebuild wrecked ragwing Ferraris.

    As long as no one was injured, I imagine mechanics must smile whenever they hear of a CC, PA12, 14, or 18 ground-loop.

    Steve, Mike, John; are your shops doing better business than before Cubcrafters started its own production line? How long is your current waiting list? Months or years?
    I have had more than I could do since I unloaded my tools in Graham Texas in February of 1997. Presently I would say 2 years before I could take on another project with my current project and the planes that I maintain. I have been pretty lucky.
    Steve Pierce

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    Will Rogers
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  40. #40
    G44's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by john schwamm View Post
    Mike,
    And Aviat on the Husky too, none weigh what they show in specs. Not even close.
    John
    Ummmm, we just weighed my brothers Husky, it was 2 pounds lighter than what the equipment list showed. Thats pretty darn close if you ask me.

    Kurt

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