Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 40 of 53

Thread: J3 flying from front seat

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jan 2021
    Location
    Ann Arbor, MI
    Posts
    9
    Post Thanks / Like

    J3 flying from front seat

    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
    Last edited by arborite; 02-02-2021 at 09:40 AM.
    Likes Dave Calkins liked this post

  2. #2
    SJ's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Kansas City, USA
    Posts
    15,388
    Post Thanks / Like
    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
    "Often Mistaken, but Never in Doubt"
    ------------------------------------------
    Thanks arborite thanked for this post
    Likes Richgj3, Brandsman, Taledrger liked this post

  3. #3
    Crash, Jr.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Anchorage, AK
    Posts
    529
    Post Thanks / Like
    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.
    Thanks arborite thanked for this post

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    7,399
    Post Thanks / Like
    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.
    Thanks arborite thanked for this post

  5. #5
    txpacer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Iowa Park, TX
    Posts
    819
    Post Thanks / Like
    There's always the PA-11
    Thanks BearingTree thanked for this post

  6. #6
    cubdriver2's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    upstate NY
    Posts
    10,587
    Post Thanks / Like
    View is better in the back seat if you carry your slip almost all the way to the landing

    Glenn in
    Last edited by cubdriver2; 02-02-2021 at 01:33 PM.
    "Optimism is going after Moby Dick in a rowboat and taking the tartar sauce with you!"
    Likes Crash, Jr., Skywalker, DavePA11 liked this post

  7. #7
    Cub junkie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    My Moms basement
    Posts
    2,161
    Post Thanks / Like
    Didn't know J3's had a front seat.
    Likes cubdriver2, NewEnglandPilot liked this post

  8. #8

    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    SE Montana
    Posts
    356
    Post Thanks / Like
    Arborite , where are you located? Someone might know of something for sale fairly close if we know your location.
    Last edited by 1934A; 02-02-2021 at 12:51 PM.

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Jan 2021
    Location
    Ann Arbor, MI
    Posts
    9
    Post Thanks / Like
    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.
    Likes JeffP liked this post

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    Pinehurst, NC.
    Posts
    62
    Post Thanks / Like
    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.

  11. #11

    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Upper Peninsula of Michigan
    Posts
    616
    Post Thanks / Like
    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.
    Thanks arborite thanked for this post

  12. #12
    Crash, Jr.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Anchorage, AK
    Posts
    529
    Post Thanks / Like
    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.
    Thanks arborite thanked for this post

  13. #13

    Join Date
    May 2017
    Posts
    922
    Post Thanks / Like
    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.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
    Likes KevinJ, Skywalker liked this post

  14. #14

    Join Date
    Jan 2021
    Location
    Ann Arbor, MI
    Posts
    9
    Post Thanks / Like
    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Gervae View Post
    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

  15. #15

    Join Date
    Jan 2021
    Location
    Ann Arbor, MI
    Posts
    9
    Post Thanks / Like
    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.

  16. #16
    supercrow's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Smith Pond near Millinocket, Me
    Posts
    488
    Post Thanks / Like
    Front seat in a PA11 is different and more comfortable.

  17. #17
    skywagon8a's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    SE Mass
    Posts
    11,103
    Post Thanks / Like
    Quote Originally Posted by bob turner View Post
    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.
    N1PA
    Likes Brandsman liked this post

  18. #18

    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    SE Montana
    Posts
    356
    Post Thanks / Like
    Quote Originally Posted by supercrow View Post
    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!
    Thanks DJ thanked for this post

  19. #19

    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Vermont
    Posts
    366
    Post Thanks / Like
    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.
    What's a go-around?

  20. #20
    WhiskeyMike's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    West Boxford MA
    Posts
    956
    Post Thanks / Like
    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.

  21. #21
    Crash, Jr.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Anchorage, AK
    Posts
    529
    Post Thanks / Like
    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.

  22. #22
    Dave Calkins's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    Anchorage, Alaska
    Posts
    5,501
    Post Thanks / Like
    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

  23. #23

    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    7,399
    Post Thanks / Like
    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.

  24. #24
    Crash, Jr.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Anchorage, AK
    Posts
    529
    Post Thanks / Like
    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.
    Likes Brandsman liked this post

  25. #25

    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Seldovia, Alaska
    Posts
    222
    Post Thanks / Like
    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.

  26. #26
    cubdriver2's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    upstate NY
    Posts
    10,587
    Post Thanks / Like
    Quote Originally Posted by 1934A View Post
    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
    "Optimism is going after Moby Dick in a rowboat and taking the tartar sauce with you!"

  27. #27
    cubdriver2's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    upstate NY
    Posts
    10,587
    Post Thanks / Like
    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
    "Optimism is going after Moby Dick in a rowboat and taking the tartar sauce with you!"
    Likes Brandsman liked this post

  28. #28

    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Vermont
    Posts
    366
    Post Thanks / Like
    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.
    What's a go-around?
    Likes Bill Rusk, Brandsman liked this post

  29. #29
    PerryB's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Chico, CA
    Posts
    2,030
    Post Thanks / Like
    Quote Originally Posted by Skywalker View Post
    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.
    Likes supercrow, skywagon8a liked this post

  30. #30
    skywagon8a's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    SE Mass
    Posts
    11,103
    Post Thanks / Like
    Quote Originally Posted by Skywalker View Post
    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.
    Last edited by skywagon8a; 02-04-2021 at 07:39 AM.
    N1PA
    Thanks bob turner thanked for this post
    Likes Skywalker, Richgj3 liked this post

  31. #31

    Join Date
    May 2017
    Posts
    922
    Post Thanks / Like
    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.

    Something to consider with regard to spins, it isn’t 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!


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
    Thanks Gordon Misch thanked for this post
    Likes Skywalker liked this post

  32. #32
    skywagon8a's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    SE Mass
    Posts
    11,103
    Post Thanks / Like
    Quote Originally Posted by dgapilot View Post
    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.
    N1PA

  33. #33
    hotrod180's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Port Townsend, WA
    Posts
    3,514
    Post Thanks / Like
    Quote Originally Posted by dgapilot View Post
    .....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.
    Cessna Skywagon-- accept no substitute!

  34. #34
    Crash, Jr.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Anchorage, AK
    Posts
    529
    Post Thanks / Like
    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.
    Likes Brandsman liked this post

  35. #35

    Join Date
    Jan 2021
    Location
    Ann Arbor, MI
    Posts
    9
    Post Thanks / Like
    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.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	A1F88D65-F73C-4C27-BAF5-B5EAE18EE1BC.jpeg 
Views:	80 
Size:	288.3 KB 
ID:	54496
    Likes Farmboy, Richgj3, IainR liked this post

  36. #36
    cubdriver2's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    upstate NY
    Posts
    10,587
    Post Thanks / Like
    Quote Originally Posted by hotrod180 View Post
    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
    "Optimism is going after Moby Dick in a rowboat and taking the tartar sauce with you!"
    Likes BC12D-4-85 liked this post

  37. #37

    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    7,399
    Post Thanks / Like
    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.

  38. #38
    skywagon8a's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    SE Mass
    Posts
    11,103
    Post Thanks / Like
    Quote Originally Posted by bob turner View Post
    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.
    N1PA

  39. #39
    labrador_cub's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    Wabush,NL
    Posts
    117
    Post Thanks / Like
    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.
    Thanks RVBottomly thanked for this post

  40. #40
    cubdriver2's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    upstate NY
    Posts
    10,587
    Post Thanks / Like
    Quote Originally Posted by arborite View Post
    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.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	A1F88D65-F73C-4C27-BAF5-B5EAE18EE1BC.jpeg 
Views:	80 
Size:	288.3 KB 
ID:	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
    "Optimism is going after Moby Dick in a rowboat and taking the tartar sauce with you!"
    Likes Kid Durango liked this post

Similar Threads

  1. Front seat belt attachment. floor vs seat.
    By DENNY in forum Modifications
    Replies: 15
    Last Post: 01-25-2020, 11:28 AM
  2. front seat brakes versus rear seat brakesa
    By kevind in forum Modifications
    Replies: 42
    Last Post: 06-13-2015, 04:59 AM

Bookmarks

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •