Friday, September 2, 2011

Ribbon Cutting Flight in a Cub

On the way home from Lansing, I decided to make a pit stop @ Dayton Wright Brothers airport.  Partly out of necessity (because I needed one fuel stop between Lansing and Tampa).  But more significantly, it was a great excuse to meetup with a fellow pilot blogger named Steve from the Mile of Runway blog.

As often happens when pilots get together, we found an excuse to go for a joyride in "his" Piper Cub.  

I say "his" because it is one of several planes that he rents regularly and the one that I was most intrigued by.  This particular plane was a 1946 Piper Cub (NC98286) with 85HP and the most spartan panel I had ever seen! 

When I saw this, I was excited to try a pure "stick and rudder" experience in this vintage airplane.  There was no paved runway, no radio, no transponder, no electrical system.  We even wore earplugs instead of headsets!As you can see, I sat in the front seat because the pilot in command typically sits in the back in a cub. 

Shortly after takeoff, Steve performed a number of maneuvers that I found rather impressive since he was doing it from the backseat and probably couldn't even see the instruments.  He later told me "... In a Cub the instruments are not that important because you feel your way around"!

As we were cruising along at 60-70 knots @ low altitude, I felt like I was enjoying the raw essence of flight in much the same way barnstormers did decades ago.  Then out of the blue, Steve gave me quite a surprise, which you can see in the pic below:

He held up a roll of Toilet paper and said "Wanna try ribbon cutting?". I enthusiastically yelled "YES" Since we didn't have headsets, I also gave  him 2 thumbs up in case he didn't hear me.  We then climbed up to ~ 3000 Ft and he tossed the roll out the door, which had been wide open for the whole flight.

We then did a very smooth, spiraling dive to the left and clipped what looked like a white streamer with the right wing! It was more cool than I could possibly describe in words and something I could never do in a Cirrus!!

After that, we made our way back to Red Stewart airfield for a wild landing . I say wild because with no radio and no ATIS, we did (well... really Steve did) a mid field left downwind entry followed by a very steep forward slip to a nice, smooth landing on the turf.  It was wild for me... But Steve later told me that it was a rather typical approach in the cub.

You can see the video of the "ribbon cutting" and the landing below:


Overall, a wonderful flight experience and one that makes it onto my Top 10 list!


  1. I'll be brief... :-D

    It was great to finally meet you and I'm glad you had so much fun in the Cub. Thanks for the ride in your awesome Cirrus as well!

  2. Gr8 to meet u too! (We will have to do it again sometime soon!!)

  3. Sounds like you guys had two good flights! Ok, who had the perma-grin on longer?? Flying/blogging, a good combo that opens up some fun opportunities for us all.

    Gary -

  4. Too funny! I saw Steves blog about flying with a guy named TJ and TJ's blog about flying with a guy named Steve and was wondering if it was the same people and here it is! Glad you guys were able to meet! You had TOO much fun!

  5. Definitely enjoyed reading this tale from both perspectives (yours and Steve's). Looks like a blast! Thanks for sharing!

  6. Alright everyone who hasn't visited me in Dayton yet... you know what you get to do if you're in town! :-D

  7. Does it count if I visited you in OSH? :P You are on my list, though LOL!

  8. Been reading both of your blogs! So cool with pilots who love actual flying, not just going from A to B.

  9. Amazing! Looks like u guys had a lot of fun!


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