Posted by: Orlando Web Services | August 29, 2010

Let’s Take a Ride in a 1946 J-3 Cub

There’s nothing like flying a 1946 J-3 Cub to take your troubles away and thanks to Gordy I did just that!

My Sunday was starting out like any other with eggs, toast and coffee. In the distance I could hear the sound of planes in the air near the Canandaigua Airport by 6:38am. There was no doubt in my mind that they were probably flying to some pancake breakfast somewhere. So I glanced through the web site, but only saw the Saturday August 28 Pancake Breakfast at Piseco, NY (K09). So it seemed that they might be just in the sky….well…to fly…with no particular destination to points unknown. How nice!

I started meditating on changing the look of the Canandaigua Flying Club web site. I got as far as picking out a new masthead image for the site when the phone rang. It was Gordy, my instructor…who said in a very matter of fact voice….”When you going flying in the Arrow?”

After a long bull session about the Arrow, which our flying club is considering selling for a Cirrus SR-20 (yes, the same Arrow I was so happy with and earned my complex endorsement in a few weeks back), Gordy said that he wanted to take the clubs J-3 Cub out for a flight and wanted to know if I was interested. I thought for a moment and decided not to pass up a flight…any flight…on such a nice day.

At 11am Gordy picked me up and away we went to Penn Yan in his new Grabber blue, high-tech, voice recognition equipped, George Jetson Ford Mustang with GPS map, bluetooth and god knows what else!

Anyway, we got to Penn Yan and did our preflight…which is very different from a preflight you would do for a Cessna or Piper…terms like “bath tub” were used to describe areas of the plane. Setting up the navigation and radios was easy…there aren’t any! Setting up our headsets so we could talk to each other was another matter. Our headsets barely worked and after 3 or 4 landings and we did checks in the pattern to hear each other. We finally got the headsets so that they were working just well enough to proceed and headed north.

After we were a few miles north of Penn Yan, Gordy asked me to take the stick (yeah, a stick). There was no control yoke in this plane, just a stick to pull back to go up, forward to go down and left and right…yeah… to go left and right. I had a turn coordinator and I used my rudders to try to keep the ball centered so that the tail followed the nose smoothly through turns.

It was nice to be flying. The day was indeed perfect as everyone said. No real bumps at all and clear everywhere we looked. I had flown in the cub once before, but never took the controls due to radio issues. Today was different and I did rather well and felt good about it. A J-3 is a plane like any other. but here are things to get use to and skills that need to be honed to land it well. especially on grass strips.

In any events, I enjoyed every minute of it as I flew over roads casting my shadow down on cars, raced a pickup truck and watched Gordy land at two grass fields and do a high-speed (as defined by a J-3) pass over another. And best of all Gordy was kind enough to cover the cost, which in a Cub is $40 an hour. Thank you Gordy!

J-3 Cub at rest...

High tech cockpit...

Me in front...Gordy in back...legs numb!

Looking at Canandaigua Lake from Hopewell Airport.

Gordy's Bushhogging from the Air.

What a view! No windows....just you and the sky!

See Barry the J-3!



  1. Ah, a Cubbin we will go!

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