From the Flight Deck - July 2013
Roy Evans II
I've always been fascinated by the Piper Cub, just like any other aviation geek out there. It's bright yellow paint job, the doors that can stay open for flight, and it's simplicity, bring you back to an earlier time of aviation where your eyes dared to look inside at the five instruments that most likely didn't function properly. However, only in models and in flight simulators had I ever experienced the Cub. Not that I didn't have the opportunity. In fact, I remember it clearly. After getting my private pilots license on my 17th birthday, my dad talked about me flying the Super Cubs across the field and getting my tailwheel endorsement. After he asked my instructor about it, my instructor, an airline captain, said to my dad "How many 737s have tailwheels?" After that, it was a hard sell.
Sixty-four years ago, a man in a small town of Iowa, for what the Civil Aeronautics Board knew to be ‘$1.00 and other considerations’, purchased a brand-new Piper PA-11 Cub Special from the Piper factory in Lock Haven, PA. From then until around the late 80's, this Cub Special spent her days spraying various crops throughout the Great Plains, hopping around from one owner to another, with a few years under the banner of what came to be one of the leading agricultural aircraft equipment manufacturers around. After that, she had some casual owners, working her way from the Dakotas, through Wyoming, and into Colorado, where she resided until moving out to Utah.
We found 37H by a matter of happenstance, as her last owner passed away in what appeared to be in the beginning stages of her restoration. Complete with new leading edges, struts, and a fuselage outfitted with a new tail post, 37H was as complete as a project as we could find, so it wasn’t hard to say yes. And, having a father-in-law who recently built an experimental Super Cub (and has completed a handful of restoration projects), we figured it wouldn’t be too tough of a challenge for us to take on.
It appeared as 37H was destined to be the newest addition to our family. Since she resided in Utah, and was most likely going to be there until she was ready to move in with us in Prescott, I’d have to take some of my days off at home and spend them out at the hangar. Thankfully, even an 18 month old can be taught the difference between philips and standard.
As of a few days ago, 37H sits on her gear with her wings back on for the first time in what we think is at least 30 years, maybe less. About 10 months have passed since we’ve adopted 37H, and we’ve been learning a lot about William Piper and his Cubs along the way. It’s been an amazing adventure restoring her back to factory condition, and I can’t wait for her to head back to the skies she once roamed many years ago.