Tom Haines

Last Super Cub can be yours

November 5, 2011 by Thomas B. Haines, Editor in Chief

Often copied, never duplicated, the venerable Piper Cub and later Super Cub have become synonymous with light airplanes in the minds of the public–and for good reason. The classic airplanes are plentiful, practical, and a sheer delight to fly.

My first flight in a tailwheel airplane was in a new Super Cub at the Piper factory with then AOPA Pilot Editor in Chief Richard Collins way back in 1988. The mission was a photo shoot for the magazine. I still see those photos around occasionally and laugh because Collins and I were both wearing neckties, which was standard office attire in those days. But in a Cub… Florida! What were we thinking.

At that time, brash Stuart Millar had just taken over Piper Aircraft from its previous owners, an investment company. Millar had made great public statements about his plans to revitalize general aviation, lower prices, fight product liability and turn around the general aviation world. He quickly failed in all of the above, but he certainly got his share of media attention, especially when the company went bankrupt.

One of his most lasting contributions, however, was to restart the Super Cub production line after many years of dormancy. Super Cubs continued to dwindle out of the factory for numerous years before stopping once again in 1994.

Now you can own a piece of that history as what is claimed to be the very last Piper PA-18-150 Super Cub produced is up for sale by owner Allen Pomianek. Based in Santa Monica, California, the airplane is absolutely stock, right down to the tires installed at the factory. The pristine airplane has only 550 hours on it since 1994. Pomianek is asking $175,000 for N41594. Interested? You can reach him at: [email protected].

That’s considerably higher than what Vref says a “normal” Super Cub of the era should be worth, even accounting for this one’s low time, but it will forever be the newest Super Cub. Having just canceled the Altaire jet and seemingly focused on its higher-end piston and turboprop products, Piper doesn’t seem likely to restart the Super Cub line anytime soon, if ever.

Don’t think you can swing that on your own, check out the new AOPA Partnership Program to help you find partners to help you afford this one of a kind airplane.

It seems as if most pilots have at least a little time in the  ubiquitous Cub. What’s your favorite Cub memory?


16 Responses to “Last Super Cub can be yours”

  1. Pete Bedell Says:

    Leaf peeping on a perfectly still Fall day in the Mid-Atlantic area with the girl who became my wife. We circled a hot-air balloon and the occupants waved (I hope that was a wave) and spotted some hikers on Sugarloaf Mtn. They waved too. The Cub is such an unassuming, quiet, slow plane that seems to scream, “I’m just out here enjoying the day too!” Nice piece, Tom. I loved that Collins was wearing a tie in those pics. Made them unforgettable.

  2. Tom Haines Says:

    Thanks, Pete. Hard to believe Laura married you even after flying with you! (g).

    Ties in a Cub. No one even questioned it at the time. Different era.

  3. Robert Collette Says:

    Primary training in PA-12 N712MW. I’ll always love that plane… I ground looped it trying to take off during my second lesson, and ill never forget how everything seemed to start making sense while practicing take off and landings on a picturesque grass strip.

  4. Rick Says:

    When I was young and full of temerity, I would often look for airfields labeled “R” or “Pvt” on the sectional chart and land, unannounced and uninvited, just to be nosy. Out of about a hundred such trespasses, I never had a bad reception. Ever. Sometimes there was another Cub in the hangar; sometimes the airport owner (or his father or grandfather) had learned to fly in a Cub; and occasionally I would get a wistful story about selling the family J-3 and regretting it ever since. I had offers of food and fuel, and many invitations to return. Every airplane has a personality, but no airplane connects aviators like the archetypal Cub. It is the only one that is welcome wherever it goes.

  5. Robert King Says:

    The Air Force started an experiment to solo their new pilot trainees in the Super Cub prior to their introduction to the North American T-6 and in the summer of 1954 I soloed in the PA-18-150 at Bainbridge Air Base in Georgia, class 55-T. I will never forget how scared I was the first time I was up there alone and I repeated over and over the poem by Bryan “To a Water Fowl” as a prayer to get me back down safely.

  6. pete swanton Says:

    Spent 6 weeks in the summer of 2011 in a ’46 j3 on straight floats. Having bought it in Wisconsin I started a trip in mid July with 15 total hours in this plane and 23 t.t. in seaplanes. Headed to the family reunion on Lake Champlain in Vermont via Ontario Canada. Off to N.J. to spend 10 days with family then headed west for home in northern California but not before the little girl and I flew the Hudson River corridor. Flew over the G.W. Bridge and headed for the G.G. Bridge. Picked up my best friend in Portland who accompanied me the rest of the way home. N.Y. to S.F. took 15 days. Average speed 65 cub units(m.p.h.) heading west. Took the northern route and flew most of the way with the windows and door open. I’ve never felt so freel. The people that helped along the way, magnificent…

  7. Theron Kelley Says:

    My first solo was in a J-3 in 1946..was licensed a few months later in 1947….I have flown the Super Cub many times in the intervening years and have never felt the same about any of the many different types I have flown since…Those airplanes are in a category of their own.

  8. Len J Buckel Says:

    It is too bad that Stuart MiIlar lost out at Piper. At the time he took over he seemed to be the “little guys” only hope. Shortly after taking over Piper he and his lady showed up at the Lock Haven Sentimental Journey. After a short time he and his wife were walking through the tie downs looking at the airplanes. As I remember he was from Santa Barbara, CA. When he saw that I was from California he was interested in my flight there in the J3. I was told that as soon as he bought Piper he said that he wanted a J3 for his use. I don’t think that he got the J3. All of the pictures that I saw of him flying was in a PA-18. It was too bad that the two ignorant juries ruled against Piper and ruined him. What ever happened to him? Is he still alive? I certainly hope so. E-mail; [email protected]

  9. Vern Phagan Says:

    Ref: Robert King, above.

    …soloed the PA-18-108, USAF Pilot Training class 55-T at Bartow Air Base, Florida, in July, 1954.

    I’ll always cherrish flying the PA-18. My first solo flight was a ‘surprise-a-second’ after my 245 lb Instructor got out of the backseat. I weighed 145 lb which made the ground run under 500 feet!

    My first solo landing was one to remember: It took three approaches to get it on the ground. It just wouldn’t descend adequately for a normal, power-off final approach airspeed of 60 mph. Finally, I recognnized that the use of a little power & a somewhat slower airspeed, generated a controllable approach for an average landing.

    It was an official pilot training school policy that if the whole class completed the course, without a damage incident or accident, then everybody on the Base would get a free steak dinner at the expense of the school operator/contractor.

    During our initial solo phase, one of my college class mates, on landing, pushed his nose down just a bit too hard and ‘dog-eared’ his prop by exactly the same amount on booth ends. He finished his other two required solo landings and parked before he was aware that he had just “shot our steak dinners all to hell”!
    I wonder where old Vic Peters is today?

    — Vern

  10. John Charlet Says:

    While living in Santa Paula, CA, home of the “funest” airport in the world, I got a call from the FBO that had a J3 on the rental line. The Cub had a new owner, with more “time in type” and “recent landings” than require by the previous owner for rentals. I am a low time VFR pilot, but it turned out I was the only one on the roster with sufficient credentials to fly the cub. The FBO offered me a couple of free hours if I would come in and check out one of their instructors in the cub.

    While it wasn’t a Super Cub, it was one of the Super experiences in life.

    Another was doing a 5000 ft Falling Leaf in the Cub to get down from 8500 (just to see how high I could endure climbing the cub).

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