Simple as they are, vintage taildraggers are equally simple to maintain. And even though the original Cubs are 77 years old, parts and support of various kinds are widely available.
Its probably the only airplane you can build today from the combination of three catalogs: Univair, Wag-Aero and an engine shop. You can buy everything to build one, says Cub Clubs Steve Krog. And that includes major parts, such as control surfaces, wing parts, gear components and so forth.
One caveat, however. The parts may not always be readily in stock. Our pre-war Cub needed a gear strut recently and although Wag-Aero sells it, it took four months of waiting for the part to be made. But many other items are on the shelf. Hard-to-find parts include tailwheels and the original brake expander tubes.
If youre trying to keep a Cub in original configuration, expander tubes are tough. They havent been made new since 1947 or 1948, Krog says.
Engine overhauls arent much of a problem, although not all shops do the C-65. Our go-to shop is Dons Dream Machines, which has a sterling reputation in the Cub and Champ community. We reviewed the shop in the April 2014 issue of Aviation Consumer.
Both Univair and Wag-Aero also support Aeroncas, with a full line of replacement parts. Again, not everything will be available all the time, but thats just the nature of owning a vintage airplane. Find Univair at www.univair.com and Wag-Aero at www.wag-aero.com.
The American Champion Aircraft factory (www.americanchampionaircraft.com) can also supply some parts, including complete wings with metal spars and repairs on fuselages. It also stocks some fuselage parts, but no parts for the oleo gears. But between Univair, Wag-Aero and ACA, no Champ owner should go wanting for parts.
Finding someone who still knows how to do fabric work might be a challenge. On some fields, the skill will be lost entirely. Yet on fields where there are a lot of rag wings, A&Ps may be fully versed. Fortuately, fabric work is a good DIY skill. EAA sponsors fabric training programs and so does Cub doctor Clyde Smith. See www.cubdoctor.com for more.
For owner groups, we recommend Steve Krogs Cub Club at www.cubclub.org and the Bellanca-Champion Club at www.bellanca-championclub.com.