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The 1959 Super Cub Restoration Is Complete!

(photo by Sherry Finney)

 For 6 years I talked about airplanes on AirPigz, largely because I couldn't afford to actually fly, and I didn't have any direct aviation connections... but for 13 months of the last 2 years I was doing a complete restoration of a 1959 Piper Super Cub. And now, she's complete and flying! First flight was on June 24, 2018.

 AirPigz has been hibernating for several years, but obviously I have not. If you don't know, a restoration of this magnitude, especially when done alone, is a HUGE project!


 This Super Cub is owned by a half-brother I have in California, and he hired me to do a complete restoration of this unique PA-18A. The 'A' here means that this airplane had the capability of being a light-duty crop duster, and had an unusual hopper door mounted on the top of the fuselage near the wing trailing edge. The airplane has a removable rear seat where the actual hopper (which we don't have) would be mounted.

 In an effort to capture a strong vintage feel, we decided to keep the hopper door assembly and the 'flat top' fuselage that the 'A' models have. I also added 8 STC mods including the Wipaire 2.000# gross weight upgrade. And I did some really nice interior upgrades that still capture a very vintage feel. I'll share detailed pix in the future.


 I had planned to blog the restoration here, but with out there, and facebook, I decided to just cover the process on those sites. But now seems like a good time to show that this project is complete, and this ole flat top Super Cub is back in the air! I'll have the airplane up at Oshkosh where my brother will meet up with me, and then I'll be flying us out to the west coast. He soloed a Citabria 40 years ago, but never got a private License. This vintage Super Cub, which was built the same year he was born, will be his entry back into aviation. 



Video: #CubLove On The Water - Summer 2016

 It's really cold outside, and winter doesn't even actually start until 11 days from now... so to brighten my day I finally got around to uploading a short Cub-on-floats video from early September. I got my seaplane rating on October 31st (yay!) after a few training/fun flying sessions thru the late summer. I must say, flying an antique airplane on antique floats off of ancient northern Indiana lakes is some serious fun! 

 I realized my last rating check ride was about 35 years earlier when I got my multi-engine rating. Wow I'm getting old! Anyway, fortunately the checkride went great, which makes me think I should do that kind of thing more often. Like eventually a commercial, hot air balloon, and maybe (but not very likely) an instrument rating. Mostly, I'm just really thankful that I'm actually flying airplanes these days instead of just talking about them.

 Below I've include the video of when we first launched the J-3 off of the trailer at the airport back in July, and also the landing on grass back at the airport at the end of the summer season.

 I've learned, without any doubt this summer, that airplanes and water are a perfect combination : )



2016: The Year Of The Cubs!

Me flying off Winona Lake during seaplane training in the Warsaw Flying Club J-3 Cub

(click any pic to enlarge)

 The Chicago Cubs just won the World Series, and that is a pretty big deal, but 2016 has been the 'Year of the Cubs' for me in another way that's just as big... since April I have been maintaining and flying a J-3 Cub that's part of the Warsaw Flying Club fleet, AND I'm currently doing a restoration (as full time work) on a 1959 PA-18A Super Cub for one of my brothers who lives in California. For a guy with an 18 year dry spell of being hands-on with aviation, this has been a huge year!

 And earlier this week, on Monday October 31st, I got my seaplane rating in the Warsaw Flying Club's J-3 Cub - Holy Cow!

August 15, 2016, the day the Super Cub arrived from Arizona to the hangar in Indiana


The Warsaw Flying Club's A75 powered 1946 J-3 Cub N88282 back in April 2016 



OSH15 Dawn Patrol CoolPix... Corsair And Mosquito (11Pix)

(click pic for hi-res)  A great Dawn Patrol sunrise at OSH15 on Thursday July 23

 This summer has been a real blur for me as I've been working to build a new online business... today I launched, high-resolution flower images printed exclusively on vibrant aluminum sheet. The ads I placed here today are designed to drive a little traffic that direction as I start off from ground zero. If you like my work there, I encourage you to spread the word, and I hope you stay tuned because I have an aviation derivative of Loud Flowers in the works. In early 2016 I plan to launch with an upscale collection of aerospace images that should be pretty cool : )

 But this post is to share 11 pix I captured on Thursday July 23rd at OSH15 (the best OSH ever!) of a Corsair and the Mosquito while on a Dawn Patrol photo mission in the warbirds area. And all of these images open up to the big CoolPix size, so I think you'll enjoy the journey!

(click for hi-res)  Man and machine prepare for an early morning mission

(click pic for hi-res)  Sun, smoke, and fire... the Corsair comes to life!


(click pic for hi-res)  Two of the four Corsairs heading out for this morning mission


(click pic for hi-res)  The Mosquito with its nose pointed into the western sky

Click to read more ...


Video: Hangar Flying With Red Bull - Literally! 

Mind your head!

Video screenshot: Red Bull 2-man formation about to blast right thru an open hangar!


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Pitts Special: 70 Year Celebration At Oshkosh 2015!

(click pic to enlarge)

Oshkosh 2015: July 20-26

 It's no surprise that mixing a large gathering of the iconic Pitts Special, at Oshkosh, along with a fabulous retro graphic to promote it all is exactly the kind of hard-hitting triple play it takes to snap this Pig out of his hibernation. I'm back (at least at some level) to talk airplane-airplanes-airplanes.

 Wow, over 70 examples of one of the greatest airplanes ever made, the revolutionary aerobatic biplane from the late great Curtis Pitts, his incredible little Pitts Special. First flown by Curtis himself in 1945, the Pitts Special is arguably the most important aerobatic aircraft the world has ever seen.

 The IAC will be celebrating with the 70th Anniversary Pitts Exhibit at the IAC Pavilion. There will also be a wide range of Pitts forums to expand the minds of anyone interested in building, buying, flying or maintaining this amazing aircraft. 

 You can be sure I'll be spending quite a bit of time breathing in the Pitts exhibition at OSH... my avgeek heart was forever changed after spending 45 minutes with Billy Werth in his Pitts S2C doing aerobatics, followed by an hour of takeoffs and landings in the 260hp two-holer. It was the absolute most perfect flying experience of my life! This 70th celebration will certainly fuel my Pitts dreams for a long time to come!


 Please Note: I plan to be at OSH all week, but I will NOT be running CampBacon. It's a long story and I won't go into any details, but if there's a Camp Bacon at OSH this year, you won't find me there, and I won't be doing any bacon parties. I will however, be somewhere in the campground.


I Love Hot Air Ballooning! (Carolina Balloon Fest 2014)

(click pic to enlarge)  My view lifting off at the 2014 Carolina Balloon Fest in Statesville NC

 I've been very fortunate to get quite a bit of exposure to hot air ballooning in the last 2 years since my son-in-law Mitch has a commercial balloon rating and an basket with two envelopes, a 77,000 cubic foot and a 90,000. It works out well for me to be crew and chase vehicle driver when he has rides to fly... and now I'm in training in hopes of getting my rating before too long as well. I've been a fan of ballooning since I was about 12, so finally getting the chance to fly this way is tremendously satisfying.

(click pic to enlarge)  Note the parachute vent top being cycled thru the open position

 Mitch participated in the Carolina Balloon Fest again this year, and I was there helping him out some. I even got to go flying as the pictures here show! My wife and I took the opportunity to turn it all into a small vacation by heading over early in the week to visit the Biltmore mansion, and to just get away... and then Friday and Saturday I helped Mitch some with the balloon. The pictures are from Saturday morning when most of the approximately 55 balloons in attendance took to the skies.

 It was a beautiful morning for some lighter-than-air flying! And while the surface winds were nice and light, the winds at just 300 feet were scooting right along at about 14mph. Ballooning really teaches you that the wind is a far more complicated partner in flying than the typical fixed wing pilot understands. In addition to the vast difference in wind velocity that morning between the surface and 300 feet, there was about a 90 degree shift in the wind direction as well. It sure makes for some interesting flying!

 Btw, I didn't even take my DSLR camera on this vacation, so these pix are from my Galaxy Note II... the same phone that went thru the mower blades a few months back and didn't even get a scratch on it! Fortunately, my Otterbox Commuter case gave up its life to totally save the phone!

(click pic to enlarge)  We're departing the launch area... hot air ballooning sure is colorful!

 It's looking more and more like ballooning will be my point-of-entry back into having my own flying machine since for less than $10,000 you can fetch up an airworthy set up, and sometimes you can even get in the air for substantially less. You have to look around a bit and know what you're looking for, and obviously a very affordable set up most likely has much of its useful life already used up. But compared to my $25,000 to $40,000 Piper Cub desires, ballooning can be quite affordable.

(click pic to enlarge)  Looking into the sun at the balloons that launched ahead of us

(click pic to enlarge)  Looking away from the sun at the balloons that launched after us

(click pic to enlarge)  Just above the trees as we navigate toward a landing spot

 Hot air ballooning is challenging and a lot more work than I'm guessing most fixed wing pilots understand... and I love it!

(click pic to enlarge)  Another launch pic... this time with the sun shining over the owl

(click pic to enlarge)  This 'When Pigs Fly' balloon landed near us... Pigs of a feather?

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Must See Video: THE CUBS 2 OSH STORY - 75th Anniversary Gathering In Hartford, WI

click here to download the digital version for half price (just $4.50)

 If you've been paying attention you know I'm a big believer in the Piper Cub as the perfect pure-flying-pleasure airplane. If you aren't convinced of the Cub's 'best airplane ever' status, then watch the video trailer above for THE CUBS 2 OSH STORY, and then I hope you'll either buy the digital download or the DVD of the 32 minute professionally-produced video. You can buy the DVD (with the digital download) for $19.99 or by using the special AirPigz link you can buy the digital download for just $4.50, half its regular price.

 The Cubs 2 OSH Story chronicles the 75th anniversary gathering of Piper Cubs at Hartford Wisconsin back in 2012. Filmmaker Ryan Dembroski has put together a very high quality video that captures the beauty of Cub flying along with the personal stories that really show how the Cub has connected with aviators in a way that honestly no other airplane ever has.

 I very highly recommend that you purchase the Cubs 2 OSH video in one form or another... your love for aviation (and the Cub) will benefit greatly!

click here to download the digital version for half price (just $4.50)
click here to order the 32 minute DVD for $19.99 (includes digital download)

 The trailer below for the Cubs 2 OSH video features the man behind the event (and Cub Air Flight at Hartford) Steve Krog. He shares how the Cub has impacted his life since he was just a kid... truly a life-long love affair!


 I was at Hartford back in 2012 for the Cubs 2 OSH event, and Ryan's video definitely captures all the magic of this very special gathering! Definitely a must-see video : )

 Check out these posts for more on my experience from Cubs 2 OSH: 

Lots Of Cub Yellow At Hartford Wisconsin For 'Cubs 2 OSH'
75 Piper Cubs At Hartford Wisconsin! CoolPix 2Fer


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I Feel A Lot Like This Battle-Damaged Avenger

 I'm tired, worn out, and feeling beat up here lately... my day-job of floor installing work as a one-man operation has me extremely busy (and physically fatigued) - and has so often been the case in almost 6 years of AirPigz sideline work, the web traffic here isn't what I think it should be. It's not bad traffic by any means, just not where I always thought it should be, and that keeps me continually frustrated. All this explains the low posting frequency here lately. Hang in there with me as I try to get back to home base for some repairs and R & R.

 I'll add that I've starting experimenting with the FLY Energy Bar project once again in hopes of solving some small but nagging issues with the recipe. Two quick tests have already made some great progress! I need something to succeed in a big way, hopefully I'm getting close on this project.

 I also have a backlog of impressive posts still to get up, so hopefully I'll have that batch of avgeekery coming your way before long... stay tuned.




Video: C-17 Countermeasure Flares... Wild Northern Lights!


 This short but very sweet video is from a few nights ago in Alaska at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson as several C-17's were testing their countermeasure flares. That's some beautiful northern lights to be sure!


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