Sport Cub from Cub Crafters
The long-promised Sport Cub, the J-3 lookalike from Cub Crafters in Yakima WA, made its maiden flight in March 2005, was certified in the Light Sport Aircraft category in July, and shortly after was formally introduced at the Oshkosh fly-in.


Make way for the Sport Cub

Oshkosh 2005 brought the public debut of Cub Crafters' long-promised addition to the Light Sport Aircraft category and the rebirth of the airplane that inspired the new category. Says the company: "This factory-built, ready-to-fly, all-new aircraft is still classic, but built for fun by the sport and utility aircraft leader. Sport Cub features newly engineered airframe components for strength and safety, lower overall weight, significantly improved performance, modern avionics, and greater pilot comfort, uniquely answering the promise of the Light Sport Aircraft (LSA) category."

All that for just $89,500! (Zero Six Hotel went out the door in October 1946 for about $2,300. The Sport Cub is also considerabily pricier than the competing Legend Cub.) Add a full flat-panel avionics package (flight instruments, engine instruments, GPS, transponder, radio, and intercom) for $17,900, not to mention flaps for $4,900, and the take-home price reaches $112,300. Update: Prices have increased significantly since 2005.

The company says that serial production will begin in the first quarter of 2006, with the next available customer delivery spot in April.

Previously, Cub Crafters referred to this plane as a development of the PA-11, the closed-cowling trainer with wing tanks that succeeded the venerable J-3 in 1947. Now it's considered to be a stripped-down PA-18 Super Cub, probably reflecting the company's desire to stick with the Top Cub that it has been building since 1999. (The Top Cub is likewise newly certified by the FAA. Up to now, it had been "assembled from parts.") Like the Top Cub, the Cub Sport has an electrical system, and the flaps were intended all along, though they are now shown as an option; I suspect that was a way not to bust the promised price point of under $90,000.

Here are the specs as they appeared on the Cub Crafters website before the first test flight. Obviously they're subject to change as the plane is tested out:

  • Continental O-200 Engine: 100 hp
  • Gross weight: 1,320 lb
  • Empty weight: 850 lb
  • Fuel capacity: 12 gallons
  • Rate of climb: 800 feet per minute
  • Cruise speed: 100-110 mph
  • Max speed: 120 mph
  • Stall speed flaps down: 36 mph
  • Stall speed flaps up: 40 mph
  • Takeoff distance: 250 feet
  • Landing distance: 300 feet
  • Fuel burn: 4-5 gph
  • For more about the Sport Cub, go to the Top Cub story on this website that originally appeared in the Wall Street Journal.