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Letter From A Prior Owner Who Last Flew My Cub 52 Years Ago


Today I received a letter from a prior owner of my J5, who last flew it in 1956. Has anyone else received similar information from prior owners?

Excerpts are below.

I purchased this aircraft, along with a friend of mine, in 1954. It had been sitting in a barn in Newton, New Jersey for some time, and had deteriorated and acquired some damage; mostly wing rib capstrips, rotted fabric, etc.
The aircraft was completely stripped of the fabric. The ribs were repaired, new wing tip bows were installed, and I believe it was the right rear spar that required replacement of an approximately 12 inch section at the tip.

A nose cowl, bottom cowl, and side cowls were fabricated. All new plexiglass was installed; and the aircraft was painted two tone green. The work was completed by early to mid 1955.

The pieces were taken to Teterboro, New Jersey airport where it was then assembled and flown to Morristown, New Jersey; and then to Westfield, New Jersey.

Westfield airport became the new home for the aircraft. This airport had two grass strips. The longest was 2600 ft. and the short one was approximately 2200 ft. The aircraft was flown off the long grass runway with three people on board. I weighed 170 lbs. as did the other two. It was tight. The trees at 300 feet off the end of the runway were just about 20 to 30 feet below us.

The airport was sold to a building developer in the latter part of 1955, and we hung on till December, and then moved the aircraft to Hadley, New Jersey.

I last flew the aircraft in April 1956. Shortly thereafter, we sold it.

I'm shooting some pics this weekend to send to him. I find stories like these fascinating.
Something similar happened with our J-3 Cub. A few years ago I got a letter from Mark Johnson with some old pictures of our Cub and copies of newspaper clippings about his Uncle who used to own our Cub many years ago. Mark is an airline pilot and is on SuperCub.org and now owns a J-5. We finally got to meet Mark when we flew the Cub to Sun & Fun last year. We spent one night at Mark's home while we were there. He filled in a lot of the history of the airplane, which is considerable since it is a 1939 model. It is always neat to hear about the past history of an airplane that you own. ...Clyde Davis
I didn't get a letter but I ran into a person who flew my plane for the Iowa highway patrol in the early 60's. We had some good laughs when we realized that I own the super cub that he used to fly.

Travel Air 6000

If you like these types of stories you'll like this book: http://www.alaskaseaplanes.com/book.html It is a story written by Jim Reardon about Kachemak Bay Flying Service's Travel Air 6000. The plane is now in Homer Alaska but the book is all about remarkable connections of this plane with its past. Well written and with some good backcountry flying stories included.
After I bought my J-3 from Marion Cole, he called me one day and said someone contacted him and told him that the plane was in a movie. It was a 1972 movie, "Night Moves" with Gene Hackman. Dale Englehardt flew it in the stunts. It is on the movie posters. At the time it was 65 hp on floats, and they built a flying replica to crash. I have a pic or two of both planes sitting on the ramp. Two planes with the same N number. One is the real one and the other the stunt double.
Fun Stories with Cubs

:) I did something similar a few years back. I had bought a J3 Cub and I noticed that the logs were very detailed and went back to day #1. It appeared to have no more than a half dozen owners so one night when I was obviously very bored, I got the idea I would attempt to contact all the previous owners to let them know where their cub was. What I thought would be a 3-4 hour project turned into a 3 month ordeal. I heard the funniest stories from the past owners, their families, their best friends who flew the plane, the neighbors of the owners, etc. The stories were so incredible I asked each party to share their fondest memory. Heard stories that included the joy ride that resulted in a crashed plane because the wife forgot to close the cow pasture gate as her husband attempted to land the plane; and the friend who shot the wing strut in two when they were fox hunting, etc. The suspected half a dozen owners grew to be about a dozen or so because there were a number of them who 'forgot' to tell their significant other that they had bought an interest in the neighbors cub so their names were never on the certificates.....well.....we've all been there. I wrote a documentary of the history of the plane, took some recent photos and sent each person a copy of the story for Christmas that year. They loved it. A couple of them later sent me pics that had been taken back in the late 40's, early 50's. It was fun to do and the next time I get real bored I may do it again with my current cub.

I'm gonna get around to that too!!

My '56 PA-18A apparently started it's career cropdusting in the States somewhere, and after 6 yrs came to BC as a semi-commercial hauler. It hauled indians around, bought furs from trappers & sold 'em in civilization, was won (lost) in a wilderness poker game one night, and other colorful stories. Later went to the NWT to help out on a big ranch. About 3 yrs ago a neighbor bought it as a project, did a few things & then as a result of a move, sold it to me.

I know two of the ol' bushpilots who flew it & they laffed out loud (memories) when reading the logbook. I plan on garnering all the stories I can & write her a biography. Asking for pix from previous owners/fliers is a great idea too... I really am excited about owning an aircraft with such a colorful history.
Last April I sold my wind damaged 1939 J-3 to the guy who owned it and rebuilt it when he was like 13 in 1957 and had to sell it to get through his senior year in college in 1969 and rebuilt it again in 1974 for the guy that he had sold it to. That guy owned it until 1990 when I bought it from him. So this guy now will have his old plane back and will have re-built it three times. What goes around comes around?

Years ago when I purchased my J5 in Anchorage I decided to stop buy one of the Fred Meyers stores get get my wife a nice piece of jewelery...( helps with the news of an aircraft purchase). I had to trailor the plane home as it was in a few parts. I was leaving Freddy's and an old fellow was standing there next to my truck and plane looking it over. I asked him if I could help him...he asked if it was a J5...I said yes...He said his boy had one long ago....looked a lot like this one...He asked me if I had a cell phone, I loned him mine and he called his boy. He described the plane and gave him the N number...sure enough it was formerly his boys....We ended up talking for over an hour...herd lots of stories...very nice people... The jewelery was a hit as well...

I wrote the person that I sold my Eagle to in 1988. He still had it but the engine case cracked after a few years. I got the impression that he didn't have the funds for a new engine as it has been disassembled and in storage for years. Kinda sorry to hear that. We did swap photos.

I found this website about my last Pitts. http://www.geocities.com/mgd3/flying/my_pitts.htm

I was happy to hear from the new owner that he has done well racing it in Reno with the same engine that was last rebuilt in 1973. Through the help of a member of this site I was able to get this info to the 84 yr old father of the original builder.

It is a lot of fun to chase down old airplane we used to fly and fill in the gaps for the current owner.
I need to find my Dad's old log books and see where some of those planes are now. I know one is in the Smithsonian.
I got to see my 1948 PA-14 fly in the early 60's in a movie. "My Alaska" The old boy, who I purchased the plane from, said it was his "heavy hauler" in the movie. He owned the plane for 35 years. If he could only see it now! God rest his sole.
N5126H said:
I got to see my 1948 PA-14 fly in the early 60's in a movie. "My Alaska" The old boy, who I purchased the plane from, said it was his "heavy hauler" in the movie. He owned the plane for 35 years. If he could only see it now! God rest his sole.

Bill, the movie is actually called "This is My Alaska" and it is available on Supercub.org's on line store as a DVD. I have the VHS version that I've just about worn out from viewing over and over. It is a terrific look at Alaska prior to Statehood with lots of cub flying. If you've seen the stuffed polar bear in the Fairbanks airport, the video shows the actual hunt.
Of course you are correct I have it on tape too. It is a fine movie and you know what my fav part is......
I am finishing up the restoration of a Luscombe 8A that a friend of mines Dad flew back in the late 40s. He went through his Dad's log books and sent out letters looking for one of his planes. Hope to finish by Sun & Fun. Will be a tribute to his Dad who died when he was 10 years old.
My first airplane, was a '46 BC-12D Taylorcraft. I bought it in '62 and had to sell it in '65. I see from an N-number search that it is still alive and flying (I guess) in Seattle but I've never contacted the owner. :D