Wednesday, December 2, 2009

1964 S Model Bonanza to 1946 Piper Cub- Bouncy Bounce!

Nostalgia - 1946 Clipped Wing Piper Cub

Transitions! Transitions! When the Beech was sold I invested in a 1946 clipped wing Piper Cub with a 90 Hp engine and a metal prop. transitioning from a high powered V-tail Bonanza to a tail-dragger was a fun sight at the Ann Arbor Municipal Airport as I attempted to perfect the technique for landing the Piper.

The Lippert-Reed Clipped Wing Cub has, essentially, the same wingspan as the Piper Tri-Pacer. It didn't float and, believe it or not, landed like the SeaBee. It was a smaller version of the Republic "Flying Rock!"

The Cub was outfitted with the original bungee cord suspension and large balloon tires characteristic of all Cubs from that era. Now you are anticipating where the "Bounce-Bounce" from the title came from. That is exactly what happened to me as I practiced the proper attitude to place the Cub into as I landed. Take-offs were not a problem.

The tower remarked, on more than one occasion, here comes the local BB guard ready to bounce down the runway !! One miscalculation and the Cub would sail into the air before settling down for another "touch and go" until I finally learned to fly again.

I am sure none of you went through this embarrassing ritual as you transitioned down to a great little tail-dragger from a more advanced aircraft.

It was a bare-boned Cub with an illegal gravity tank, in the wing, that would drain fuel into the original tank when you opened a valve. If you remember, there was a cork attached to a wire that indicated your approximate fuel left in the original tank right in front of the pilot. When I opened the valve the only way you knew the original tank was full was when a few drops of fuel splattered onto the windshield. Real safe! Had to be quick on the fuel shut-off valve.

It gave this Cub about a five hour flight time. It was a wonderful dawn patrol plane that I used extensively and incorporated it into Civil Air Patrol searches.

Stories still are told about me and the Cub as we learned together how to really enjoy flying as it was meant to be!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Acrobatics - the Piper Super Cub

Nostalgia - Piper Super Cub Aerobatics

Back in the days when I was a cocky little SOB and very sure, at the age of sixteen, that I knew everything I was shown that I didn't. I experienced another rude awakening. This time the scene of my demise was at the Waters, Michigan Airport near the famous Bottle Fence next to the Old Waters Hotel that later burned down, years later.

If you remember, Waters was the site of a lumbering empire. The story goes that the empty bottles of booze that Mr. Stephens drank, during his life, made up the fence. It was at this grass strip that I had my experience with acrobatics.

The Regional Manager from the Piper Aircraft Company was in Gaylord to visit. Bob Nichols, the Gaylord Airport Manager, at the time, brought him down to Waters to his home.

He was flying a Piper Super Cub. Of course, I tried to tell him things about the Super Cub. He asked my Dad if he could show me a few things about the Super Cub! "How about a quick flight with me?" said the Regional Manager. I said, "Sure!"

Waters Airport was just a single runway grass strip running parallel to Old US 27. There was a paved road at the south end of the strip with high electrical wires running up the road.

The Cub, with me in the front seat, gained speed quickly and was airborne moments later. Instead of a slow gain in altitude the gentleman kept the Cub just above the runway going faster and faster. I watched, apprehensively as the end of the runway and the high electrical wires were coming up quickly. I made the mistake of asking when we were going up!

At the mention of "up!" he put the plane into a vertical climb and executed a perfect acrobatic loop that had me pulling my stomach back into my body and spent the next half hour surviving a series of wonderful aerobatic flying that I knew nothing about but enjoyed thoroughly.