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Drawing - Paul Matt - Piper J3 Cub

$ 1.49

Brand Kiona Publishing, Inc.

The Piper J-3 Cub is an American made light aircraft. It was built between 1937 and 1947 by Piper Aircraft. The aircraft features a simple, lightweight design that provides good low-speed handling properties and short field performance. The Cub is possibly the best known airplane. The Cub's simplicity, affordability and popularity — as well as its large production numbers, with nearly 20,000 built in the United States — make it a hallmark.

The Cub was originally intended as a trainer and as a general aviation aircraft. Due to its performance, it was also suitable for a variety of military uses such as reconnaissance, liaison, and ground control. It was, therefore, produced in large numbers during the World War II as the L-4 Grasshopper. Large numbers of Cubs are still flying. Cubs are also highly valued as bush aircraft.

The Cub is a high-wing, strut-braced monoplane, with a large area rectangular wing. It is powered by an air-cooled piston engine that turns a fixed-pitch propeller. Its fuselage is a welded steel frame covered in fabric, with seating for two people in tandem.

The aircraft's standard chrome yellow paint has come to be known as "Cub Yellow" or "Lock Haven Yellow”.

The Taylor E-2 Cub first appeared in 1930, built by Taylor Aircraft in Bradford, Pennsylvania. Sponsored by William T. Piper, a Bradford industrialist and investor, the affordable E-2 was meant to encourage greater interest in aviation. Later in 1930, the company went bankrupt, with Piper buying the assets but keeping founder C. Gilbert Taylor on as president. In 1936, an earlier Cub was altered by employee Walter Jamouneau to become the J-2 while Taylor was on sick leave. This has led some to believe that the "J" stood for Jamouneau, while aviation historian Peter Bowers concluded that the letter simply followed the E, F, G, and H models, with the I omitted because it could be mistaken for the numeral one. When Taylor saw the redesign he was so incensed that he fired Jamouneau. Piper, however, had encouraged Jamouneau's changes, and hired him back. Piper then bought Taylor's share in the company, paying him $250 U.S. per month for three years.

Although sales were initially slow, about 1,200 J-2s were produced before a fire in the Piper factory ended its production in 1938. After Piper moved his company from Bradford to Lock Haven, the J-3, which featured further changes by Jamouneau, replaced the J-2. The changes mostly amounted to integrating the vertical fin of the tail into the rear fuselage structure and covering it simultaneously with each of the fuselage's sides, changing the rearmost side windows’ shape to a smoothly curved half-oval outline, and placing a true steerable tailwheel at the rear end of the J-2's leaf spring-style tailskid, which was linked for steering to the lower end of the rudder with springs and lightweight chains to either end of a double-ended rudder control horn. Powered by a 40 hp (30 kW) engine, in 1938, the J-3 sold for just over $1,000.

A number of different air-cooled engines, most of flat-four configuration, were used to power J-3 Cubs, resulting in differing model designations for each type: the J3C models used the Continental A series, the J3F used the Franklin 4AC, and the J3L used the Lycoming O-145. A very few examples, designated J3P, were equipped with Lenape Papoose 3-cylinder radial engines.

The outbreak of hostilities in Europe in 1939, along with the growing realization that the United States might soon be drawn into World War II, resulted in the formation of the Civilian Pilot Training Program (CPTP). The Piper J-3 Cub became the primary trainer aircraft of the CPTP and played an integral role in its success, achieving legendary status. Seventy-five percent of all new pilots in the CPTP (from a total of 435,165 graduates) were trained in Cubs. By war's end, 80 percent of all United States military pilots had received their initial flight training in Piper Cubs.

The need for new pilots created an insatiable appetite for the Cub. In 1940, the year before the United States' entry into the war, 3,016 Cubs had been built; wartime demands soon increased that production rate to one Cub being built every 20 minutes.


  • Crew: one pilot
  • Capacity: one passenger
  • Length: 22 ft 5 in. (6.83 m)
  • Wingspan: 35 ft 3 in. (10.74 m)
  • Height: 6 ft 8 in. (2.03 m)
  • Wing area: 178.5 ft2 (16.58 m2)
  • Empty weight: 765 lb (345 kg)
  • Useful load: 455 lb (205 kg)
  • Max. takeoff weight: 1,220 lb (550 kg)
  • Powerplant: Continental A-65-8 air-cooled horizontally opposed four cylinder, 65 hp (48 kW) at 2,350 rpm
  • Maximum airspeed: 76 kn (87 mph, 140 km/h)
  • Cruise airspeed: 65 kn (75 mph, 121 km/h)
  • Range: 191 nmi (220 mi, 354 km)
  • Service ceiling: 11,500 ft (3,500 m)
  • Rate of climb: 450 ft/min (2.3 m/s)
  • Wing loading: 6.84 lb/ft2 (33.4 kg/m2)
  • Power/mass: 18.75 lb/hp (11.35 kg/kW)

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