J3 Cub, around the patch, video

I’ve always wanted to fly in the venerable Piper J3 Cub. This is a legendary aircraft, an original, an icon. No doubt thousands of people learned to fly in this type of plane. Fortunately, there’s a couple of nice guys at my local airport who own them. While working on another video project from the air, I managed to get a few minutes of stick time in this plane. Take a look at the video of us flying around Brandywine Airport (KOQN).

An absolute joy to fly in the J3. It’s aviation at its most simple. The basic instruments, controls, and machinery. More than that, you don’t need. Plus, flying with the old stick and rudder forces you to be a good pilot, controlling the aircraft properly all the way from the hangar and back. Special thanks to Dave Nelson for taking me for a ride in his bird. By the way, most of the camera work you saw was done with a GoPro Hero 2. The shot in the middle of the runway was with a Canon XF100.

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Learning to Fly, video

Earning a pilot’s license is one of the most rewarding things you can do. I learned to fly at TAS, Inc., located at the Brandywine Airport in West Chester, PA, USA. Here’s a video showing some great footage both in the air and on the ground.

As you saw in the video, TAS has been teaching people to fly for more than 20 years. Not only were my instructors great pilots, they were friendly people who enjoyed the process of teaching a rookie how to fly. The right instructor will help you along the way, and if you have a good attitude, you’ll be flying solo in no time. Remember, always do your checklist!

A Plane In Pieces

If you remember a post back in June, there was a plane crash at the airport from which I do much of my flying. Well, one of the planes that was damaged on the ground had since been declared a total loss. Hence, along comes the salvage artists. Here they are in action:

Dismantling an airplane for salvage.

As you can see in the photo above, they have the wings off and are lifting the fuselage. It’s a shame because this plane had many years of flying in it. Not anymore. There was some surprising internal damage. Here’s another view.

Damaged aircraft loaded for transport.

The plane was disassembled and loaded on a pair of flatbed trucks for transport to the boneyard. No doubt the pieces will be used to repair other planes, which is a good thing. So ends this episode. Remember, always do your checklist, and flying in machines and conditions you can handle.

A different kind of bear…

This airplane goes by the name of the Piper “Cub.” It’s signature shape is recognizable after more than fifty years in the air. Countless pilots first took to the air in this machine, which William Piper developed to satisfy his own desire to take to the air.

cubcThe proven design still flies, which is testament to Piper’s philosophy. Today, most people refer to planes of this configuration as “tail draggers,” meaning that there is a small wheel at the tail which sits lower than the nose. Truthfully, the correct term is “conventional” gear as opposed to “tricycle” gear. Well, this may be an esoteric digression here at The Bent Page, but I just wanted to set the record straight. And here’s a look at the power plant that pulls this craft through the sky.

cubaIt only takes four, air-cooled cylinders to do the job as this is a very light airplane. The cylinders are exposed from the cowling to promote cooling. These engines typically operate for about 2000 hours before requiring an overhaul. Then there is the cockpit.

cubbAs you can see, only the basics are here. You have an airspeed indicator and an altimeter, a tachometer for the engines along with oil temp and pressure. There’s a compass to point the way and a turn and slip indicator which is that curved, clear tube in the center with the black ball in it. The turn and slip indicator lets the pilot know that he’s flying in a coordinated fashion (or not) and this is an important concept in flight. If the aircraft is uncoordinated, it is slipping or skidding just like a car on ice. The problem is, in certain adverse conditions a slip or skid can lead to a spin and spins can end in tragedy. Hence the simple yet highly effective device.

Note that placard on the panel that says solo flight from the rear seat. This is to improve the balance of the plane when only one person is aboard. So if you ever see just one guy in the back you’ll know why.

At any rate, airplanes like this are fading from sight. It’s not cheap to fly and the interest among young people has declined a bit. I can’t imagine a computer game is ten percent as thrilling as flying a Piper Cub but tastes do change. I’d rather be the one doing something than among the others talking about someone doing something. Ah, well, to each his own.

Published in: on June 28, 2009 at 1:10 pm  Comments (1)  
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