Taking Off in a Cub Special

Piper Cub Special, rear seat view

With this picture you can get an impression of what does a passenger on a Cub special sees during take off.

In older Cubs of version J-3, the pilot sits in the back seat; however, beginning with the PA-11 model, the pilot seat was moved forward to provide for a much better visibility which nevertheless, is quite reduced during all sorts of surface operations, take offs and landings.

The pilot cannot see directly forward, and has to lean to one side or another of the cockpit to try to see where the plane is going as it taxies, or if there is room for that, attempt to do some zig-zags.

Landing these birds also implies trying to see to one side to the other of the cockpit, left to right or right to left in very rapid succession so as to determine the plane's path in relation to the runway.

Takes practice indeed, and there is more involved into flying a taildragger, but the payoff is good: the special configuration of its landing gear gives the Cub almost unsurpassed short-field performance, because you can take off or stop completely at landing in less than seventy metres.

It is quite common to find people within the aircraft community that thinks that pilots able to fly taildraggers are generally better than those that only can fly aircraft with trycicle gears.

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