Meet The PA-11 Cub Special (I)

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Pablo Edronkin

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The PA-11 is not the most powerful Cub, neither the most advanced, but it is for many the epitome of all flying machines.

The reason behind this rather demanding statement is that the PA-11 was developed as an improvement of an already almost-perfect aircraft, the J-3 Cub made by Piper. The Cub Special, or PA-11 was rolled out shortly after WWII as a Piper answer to newer small aircraft that were appearing for the private market. These new machines were less Spartan, more comfortable and of higher performance that the pre-war J-3 that then even began to look rather primitive.


The PA-11 is a simple plane but not as spartan as the J-3 or a ULM.
The PA-11 is a simple plane but not as spartan as the J-3 or a ULM.

And in order to understand what that meant then we have to consider that WWII lasted officially six years - I think that the Spanish civil war and the invasion of china by Japan should count too, but that is another history - and during it aeronautical and aerospace technologies suffered a whole paradigm shift, for the conflict began with contenders still flying biplanes like the Fairey Swordfish, and ended with turbojets like the Me-262 and the Gloster Meteor. So, such a quantum leap in engineering left Piper, with its veteran and reliable J-3 suddenly on a weak marketing situation.


PA-11 components are simple and easy to repair, like this aluminium fuel tank.
PA-11 components are simple and easy to repair, like this aluminium fuel tank.



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