By E.A. Chevrette, Jr.
Ask any pilot if they remember their first flying lesson and the airplane it occurred in. No doubt — and without hesitation — you will get a detailed and colorful description of this revered event.
As with many pilots, I started my flying career in a Piper J-3C Cub.
A 1946 Piper J-3C Cub with a 65-hp engine.
The Cub is about as basic an airplane as one can fly. There is a 65-hp four-cylinder engine with a fixed pitch wooden propeller attached.
Located in front of the windshield is our gas gauge, a long metal rod, bent over the top to keep it from sliding down through the gas cap and inside the 12-gallon gas tank. The other end is attached to a shellac-covered cork that floats inside the tank.
The instrument panel is just as basic as the fuel gauge. Airspeed, altimeter, compass, oil temperature and pressure gauges and inclinometer, all are accounted for.
Interior walls of fabric, basic stick and rudder, dual controls front and back. Plexiglas windows. A two-piece door, top and bottom, on the right side of the aircraft for entry and exit.
I am learning new jargon: “Throttle closed and cracked,” “brakes,” “contact.” Stan, my instructor, repeats the commands as another instructor hand props the Cub until the engine comes to life.
Because the Cub is a taildragger I learn to taxi in “S” fashion in order to see directly ahead of the airplane.
Cruising at 3,000 feet I am learning to co-ordinate rudder and stick to bank and turn the airplane. Straight and level flight, climbing and gliding turns. I devote great energy and enthusiasm to performing my new tasks.
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