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Javron vs BBI Smith vs Other kits

Rascal

MEMBER
St Louis, MO
Trying to nail down which kit I want to commit to and thought I had my mind made up but after talking to Shane at Mad Customs I thought I'd ask the community, Shane is awesome to talk to btw, super nice guy with outstanding knowledge. The mission is go places and do things on wheels and floats. Backcountry camping and exploring are high in priority, as is float operations. I also want to be able to attend STOL events, don't have to win, but engage in the aspect of sharpening as a pilot. In terms of experimental super cub kits without going Backcountry or CC, it's mostly down to Javron and BBI smith cubs. Don't get me wrong my choice would be Backcountry if funds were no object, I absolutely love the capability and utility of that aircraft. The Smith cub is awfully appealing because of the current exchange rates and Nick Jr has been very good at responding to emails where Jay has been MIA, I'm trying to keep the base kit around 50k.

Is there a difference in the quality of these kits? Fuselage quality? Wing Quality?
I know the wings are a little different. Preference or better design over another?
Resale value?
Part fitment?
Other aspects?
Other kits I need to know about?

The other option is piecing one together as an almost Frakencub. Does one company make a better fuselage and the other a better set of wings? What about starting with an airframes Alaska fuselage? Being able to piece together is a little bit of the beauty of the experimental Super Cub, lots of companies making great aftermarket parts.

Like I said in the beginning, Shane had a bunch of great sound information but I wanted to fish a little more.

Thanks,
 
Javron makes an excellent product, most any part can be replaced by a stock piper product which is great if you want to get back home when something go's bad. They will modify the fuselage and wings to your specs. I had the wings built to fit Attlee Dodge tanks and extended squared with a butt rib on the end that extended the aileron 9 inches more outboard. Keller flaps Aileron at 50/50 mix. I also picked up a unbuilt set with stock Javron 25 gal tanks as spares. That should give me excellent performance/speed/endurance for long heavy flights. I do have a set of Mackey slats but good chance I won't run them due to speed loss. The only downside is it may take a year or more for the parts. You can get an Airframes fuselage in a few months and build the rest with Javron parts that might go quicker. Back country was building a more stock type fuselage that might be an option. Whatever you do I would get a fuselage that has stock 18 attachment points for Wings/gear/motor mount/ that way when you bend it you can find a jig to fix it easier. You can change wing incidence/thrust line with bracket/mount adjustments. You might still be able to find wings/fuselage/gear for 50 grand if you are lucky (Jay has prices on the website) but by the time you get covering/tires/wheels/brakes/shocks/floats/engine/prop/instruments/ect you will be looking closer to 150 grand or more. Things to think about are you going to want a wide body/seaplane doors both sides? I have not done much with the smith cubs but the ones I have see tend to be heavy. Prices on certified cubs are slowly coming down A certified big wing cub with Keller Flaps flaps would most likely cost the same in the long run. But the fun and frustration of building your own won't be had.
Denny
 
I've heard nothing except Javron makes a great product and that's what Shane was saying. The only things that I know I want at this point to add on are Seaplane doors, widebody, squared wings, keller flaps, and L21 glass. I completely agree with keeping the fuselage with stock attachment point to potentially fix it if need be. Ya, around 50k for the kit minus those items you listed is what I expect and around 150 is what I'm kind of shooting for but I know that number will realistically be higher. The certified cub option is interesting, i've noticed the prices drop ever so slightly recently but there is something invaluable about knowing every nut and bolt about your bird and being able to work on it. Having that intimate knowledge about something you've built is very important to me. Yes, i've heard a common motif with the Smith cubs is they are a little heavy.

The Dakota kit is one that I hadn't looked at yet. The smith cub has roots to one of these right? Or there is some history there?
 
The Dakota kit is one that I hadn't looked at yet. The smith cub has roots to one of these right? Or there is some history there?
Smith is the one that really started the Super Cub kit fad. They sold out to what is now Backcountry who had an interim subcontracted production. Javron did the steel parts and another outfit did the wings. This is what got Javron started in the Cub kit building business. After Backcountry took the entire operation in house, Javron started up their own production. Later, Smith (I think his son) started building kits again. My Cub is one of the ones between Smith and Backcountry when they were called Turbine Cubs of Wyoming. I can't speak to the current Smith operation, though I suspect they are as good as the others since they have been at it for a long time. I'm sure you will find weights all over the map as it is primarily dependent on what the builder's desires are. There is something to be said about a good exchange rate on the funds. Waiting time for the kit would be another priority.
 
So a Turbine Cubs of Wyoming cub is the picture I keep on my phone of "the one" but it's unfortunately been exported... N555WY. Would you say the Smith Wing is more like a Backcountry wing? Nick Jr has been great to respond to emails and he is confident on 10-12months for a kit. Jay hasn't gotten back to me yet, I called the shop and he was out but a machinist said he thought they were around 18 months out.
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I would also look hard at a Square Dakota cub slotted wing, I think you get a lot of safety without the speed loss of slats. Stick a set of extended Keller flaps on it with 25 gal tanks. Heavy but very useful and safe.
DENNY
 
Jay will not answer an email. Phone at the shop is the only way. Took four tries over three days last week to finally chat with him.
 
This is Smith's web site: http://www.bbiaviation.com/pa18super.html He's asking $50k Canadian or $36,072 US. The kit isn't as complete as the others. However.......that's a reasonable figure to get started. The items they have listed which are included in the other kits but not in the Smith kit are: struts, wheels, tailwheel, windshield, pulleys, cables and jack screw. Without doing any checking $10k should cover those parts. The other parts they list which are not included, are not included in the other kits either.
 
14k is enough to get the attention of the smith cub for sure. The Tailwheel, legs, wheels were things I was going to upgrade anyways so not having them is ok. Prolly doing TKS for all the legs and suspension front and back.
 
Javron has a great product and I have zero complaints about the workmanship. I was lucky enough to find a partially completed kit with most everything with it to finish it. Prior to finding my kit, I had a complete Javron kit on order. It became apparent the delivery date was not even close so I chose a different route. When I say not close, I mean off by a year.

They have good people (Mike is awesome), just not enough of them. I know many businesses are struggling with that right now. Jay has to be at a fork in the road with that.

If you have no real time frame and are ok with the changing wait, I think it is financially the best option. I would get 100% of your parts when you pick up the kit as they are hard to get after the fact.
 
Ya, literally keep hearing great things about Javron. So when I hear 18months from the shop am I really hearing 24months??
 
So you’ve decided on a stock Cub foundation?

To many the Backcountry Cubs are too non-traditional, but the quality is undeniable. Not an easy plane to build, but you won’t have a clone of every other Cub on the planet. I sure like mine.
 
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All of my cub time this far is on floats, which isn’t much, But I’ve got some Citabria and decathalon time too. Most of my time is in a B55 Baron.
 
I have looked at the traveler… if it wasn’t for the 76k base kit cost it would be a serious contender… it’s an amazing aircraft and I’ve talk to Kevin about it. After talking to him was my main reason I asked here about putting the sidewinder engine in a cub.
 
I have looked at the traveler… if it wasn’t for the 76k base kit cost it would be a serious contender… it’s an amazing aircraft and I’ve talk to Kevin about it. After talking to him was my main reason I asked here about putting the sidewinder engine in a cub.

That engine would be a hard no for me, gotta be easy to put a Lycoming or a variant of, I think it begs for a IO-390
 
I am happy with the Javron Kit (now flying plane) that I got. Quality was great as everyone has mentioned, timeframe was at least 6 months past expected (about 12 months from order to start the kit). I would (and probably will) order another kit from Javron but will order it a couple years prior to wanting to start. Also consider how long the build will take. My first build, but I did have some time working on planes, a hangar, lots of tools and I also did three weeks total (spread out over 5 months) at Javron working on the plane before shipping it to my home. (Jay is a wealth of knowledge and was great to work with, learned a lot). Also had unlimited access to IAs and A&Ps for guidance and instruction. I ordered the kit in Nov 2020 and it made first flight July 2023. Other than a Carbon Cub I cant imagine an easier cub build though.



Sent from my iPhone using SuperCub.Org
 
It's been 18 months since my deposit cleared at Javron. Was quoted 11 months.

My wife seems happy about the delay................................
 
I like my javron stuff, if your not wanting the full wait I would find a fuselage thats more available, such as airframes or an uncompleted kit and buy javron wings which arent as far out for lead time. Then piece the rest together yourself, using mostly javron parts, some of his stuff is available right away or reasonably not to long. My personal opinion on fuselages, javrons is nice, he doesnt put in all the braces unless you ask, and the gingerbread is light duty but adequate. Airframes, not the best fitup, good quality welds usually, better gingerbread, I have had jackscrew alignment issues with airframes and some other stuff. Whatever you do, get the heavy duty front gear fittings and have the rear gear attach ears beefed up. A friend had a dakota fuselage, wasnt super impressed but the price was good. Univair, oldschool, solid, has every damn brace you can think of, not the best fitup but better than stock. Wings, javron hands down. Again, just my opinion and experience. My next build I will buy a javron fuselage with no gingerbread and without the gear fittings on and weld the airframes ones on or send them a set and have them weld them on, and weld all my usual braces like in the tail, the rear spar truss, horizontal attach beef up etc.....
 
I have worked on several Smith Cubs and rebuilt one that flipped over. I also have several friends building Javron Cubs. If saving time and money is your goal it sounds like Smith is your man. I would go with the Javron personally. More engineering, lighter weight and better over all design.
 
It really seems like Javron has it by a landslide in all respects. I'm totally onboard with Javron, at the end of the day it's probably closer to maybe a 5k difference given the completeness of the kit. In all reality I was totally cool with 18 months, that gives me ample time to find an engine, get additional components, ect. 5K to make my life a little easier on fitment and overall quality is worth it.

While we are on the topic of the Javron kit and the supercub airframe. Are there any must have mods to Jays fuselage? Is it pretty common to beef up the tail section on super cubs? Seems like I see that statement a lot. As far as wings go I wanted to do squared wings and keller PSTOL flaps, any preferred wing mods going with that configuration?

Thanks for the pointers fishhook
Fuselage:
Heavy duty front gear fittings, Airframes
Rear gear attach ears beefed up
 
As far as wings go I wanted to do squared wings and keller PSTOL flaps, any preferred wing mods going with that configuration?
Long high aspect ratio flaps with the outboard end near where the lift struts attach to the wing. Ailerons from there to the tips. This will give you better take off performance than conventional flap lengths and slats.
 
This might seem like a stupid rookie question. High aspect ratio flaps, can you define this for me so I can understand it? The length makes sense going to the lift strut, I'd think that going to the strut you can spread out the load on the longer flaps while gaining all the benefits of a longer flap. I looked at the backcountry and they go beyond the lift strut.
 
You’re in for LOTS of decisions for balancing better performance with higher cost. If your budget is limited? Choose wisely. It’s really easy to blow the bank account and not be finished.
 
This might seem like a stupid rookie question. High aspect ratio flaps, can you define this for me so I can understand it? The length makes sense going to the lift strut, I'd think that going to the strut you can spread out the load on the longer flaps while gaining all the benefits of a longer flap. I looked at the backcountry and they go beyond the lift strut.
This is the wikepedia answer: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aspect_ratio_(aeronautics)
Long and skinny is high aspect ratio which produces less induced drag. Think of a glider. Basically is more efficient at low speeds thus providing lower take off speeds, higher rates of climb, a higher service ceiling, improved glide ratios and improved cruise speeds. It is generally used when describing wings except the theory applies to flaps as well. Most airplanes which are designed for Short Take Off landing (STOL) type performance have high aspect ratio flaps.

My Cub has high aspect ratio wings with a total span of just over 41 feet. With the high aspect ratio flaps at 10 degrees it seems to glide forever with minimal loss of altitude. It does not have Vgs or slats.
 
Makes sense, I'd just not heard the term applied to flaps in particular. So, you're in the camp of Long and skinny flaps instead of a slotted Keller or Fowler style flap?
 
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