Visual Differences Between Cubs

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Pablo Edronkin

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The Piper Cub is a classic airplane that has given birth to a prolific series of different models and imitations that look deceptively similar; however, by means of photos like those that we present here you may get acquainted with the different makes and models in existence today.

Cubs have not been created all equal… We have the classic Cub, the Cub Special, the Super Cub and different copies, clones and derivatives ranging from the Aviat Husky to Cubs produced by manufacturers other than Piper. Pictures may help us learn a little bit more about the most notable differences among all these airplanes; and from our real experiences with some of these planes, you may learn a little as well, because they might look similar, but differences are enormous.

PA-11 Cub Special.
PA-11 Cub Special.

The Cub Special is my favourite; it looks a lot like the J-3 Cub except for three visually significant differences: The engine cowl in the PA-11 encloses the cylinders completely, the windshield has a different angle en the back of the fuselage is a little bit different. This last characteristic even tells you whether you are in front of an original PA-11, constructed in relatively low numbers, or a J-3 converted to PA-11 standards.

PA-18 Super Cub.
PA-18 Super Cub.

The PA-18 Super Cub is the aircraft of choice of many a Bush Pilot; they have become famous in Alaska and constitutes the best known version of the Cub today. It is also the version that has been emulated or copied the most.

L-21 Military Cub.
L-21 Military Cub.

The L-21 is even better than the PA-18; it is a military derivative of the latter.

IA-46 Ranquel.
IA-46 Ranquel.

The IA-46 is an Argentine design that emulates the PA-12 and is of comparable performance. It is not exactly a clone but an airplane based on the Cub family; unfortunately not many of these aircraft still fly today.

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