Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A Bit of History Renewed

I mentioned the weekender to a fighter pilot reunion already. Many of us stayed at the Hangar Hotel at the Fredericksburg TX airport. It is an actual hangar from WW II days that has been rehabbed and fitted out as a very comfortable two story hotel. The place is decorated with a '40s aviation theme all the way down to vintage luggage in the corners, airplane pictures on the walls and a desk-clerk in airline pilot's shirt and pants.

When not exchanging fighter pilot exaggerations in the "Officer's Club", the aptly named hotel bar, I had a chance to roam the flightline and admire the state of the general aviation art. We've come a long way from the sort of stuff that filled the pavement at my local airport when I was learning to fly.

I was particularly stunned to see what I initially thought might be an old friend with a new coat. At first glance from a hundred yards away I thought it might be a J-3 Cub or maybe a PA-18 Super Cub. But when I got closer I saw something entirely different:

This is an entirely new aircraft. Metal fuselage and fabric wing. It's got flaps like a Super Cub and an electrical system so it has lights and radios, including GPS. It's got a 230 horse engine under that cowl instead of the four cylinder 65 hp Continental of the J-3. The interior is nicely upholstered instead of canvas rag seating and you would probably be comfortable for a couple of hour flight, which you could easily do with the wing fuel tanks instead of that ten gallon gas can that sat in front of the windscreen on the original Cubs. There's a fuel gauge too instead of a clothes hanger stuck in a cork and protruding from the gas cap.

In short it is an old pilot's dream and I want one. Santa Claus, are you listening? Maybe I should buy a lottery ticket...


juvat said...

Didn't know it was this weekend, Ras, or I'd have met you at the club. Did notice a few of your compadres at the diner Sunday morning. Sleeping in, were we?

Ed Rasimus said...

I was already fifty miles north of F'burg by 8:00 AM.

juvat said...

And climbing fast, no doubt!

Anonymous said...

Not to pick nits, but according to the manufacturer's website, that model has a 110hp Continental O-200. If it had 230 ponies I imagine it would climb like a raped ape. As it sits, I think it'll do just fine.