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Thread: J-3s in AK

  1. #1
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    Default J-3s in AK

    AK Natives,

    I'm in the process of rebuilding my J-3 with the possibility that I might relocate from WA to AK in the next few years. I've read some posts on here indicating some of yu are flying J-3s up north.

    The plane performs well here in WA state with STC'd 8.50s, Maule 8" pnuematic T/W and DA Safety cables, but otherwise bone stock with no other mods. I've even had it on the occasional gravel bar with half gas and the stock A-65.

    I'm installing VGs, a C-90 with a metal climb prop but looking for other mods that will make the plane more practical in AK. I've also considered a modified baggage compt to store the required safety/survival equipment. The current 20lb capacity canvas bag won't allow more than a small first aid kit and some water. With the 1,220lb max GWT in mind, I don't want to get crazy and make it strictly a one person aicraft, but I may already be too far gone for that.

    Also, I'm assuming the stock 12 gal header tank is insufficient for any sort of safety margin flying up there. Lastly, with the stock exposed cylinders and eye brows, do I have reasonable hope of flying during the winter, at least in the south?

    I'd apprecate inputs from anyone else flying J-3s up north. Our J-3 is a family heirloom and I'd prefer to not have to modify it too radically to get any use out of it, but then again, if it's useless beyond the pattern without making a poor man's Super Cub out of it, then maybe I'd be better off with a PA-18-95, but I hate to sell it.

    I don't need to take it deep in the bush or hard core off airport, just dirt strips and teach my sons to fly in it.

    Thanks,

    Mike-

  2. #2
    Member akmac's Avatar
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    Look up Float Pilot. He has a weath of knowledge on this subject because he owns a J3 that was converted to a PA11 style with a C90 and pressure cowling. He even has some photos of his plane on his website.

    Mac

  3. #3
    Member lab man's Avatar
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    riverboater also flies a J-3/PA-11. I'm sure he'd be happy to answer a question or two.

  4. #4

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    mine has a 90 horse and a 12 gallon wing tank 26" bushwheels and super cub baggage that I put in in a couple hours.
    Go to atlee dodge website they have alot of stcs for j3s.

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the responses. Dan, dare I ask if you can stay anyhere near 1,220 lbs with the tanks full? here do you fly out of?

    Mike-

  6. #6
    Member Float Pilot's Avatar
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    Mine is a 1946 J3C converted to a PA-11 using Atlee Dodge STCs.
    My engine is a C-90-8 with no place on the accessory case for a alternator or starter. As a result the -8 engine weighs less than the -12.

    I have one 18 gallon Atlee gas tank in the left wing. She burns 4 gallons an hour, so I can make a 3.5 hour leg and have enough reserve.

    Mine is covered in thin ceconite and I did not use as many dope layers. Thus she is a fairly light bird.

    She weighs 740 pounds on the small 800 tires and 776 pounds on the Goodyear 26 inch tires.

    I use a battery powered mirco size intercom and a couple small Icom A-5 hand-held radios along with a wing antenna. I can talk to anyone within 30 miles and hear people from 70 miles away.

    In the summer I have her on EDO 1400s.

    I have owned 6 planes and this gal is my favorite,,,

    Did I ever tell you guys about the time she saved us all from the volcano?




    Little Yellow Cub versus the Volcano

    The Little Yellow Cub watched the horizon, with growing concern.
    The lava under Saint Augustine Volcano, was starting to churn.

    The molten island was trembling, while venting ash a mile into the sky.
    A little more pressure and the hot lava rocks would start to fly.

    The Little Yellow Cub, was not afraid of the smoke or the ashes.
    And she could always dodge lava rocks, that fell into the sea with big splashes.

    Her worry was an explosion like the one in eighteen-eighty-and three..
    The one that made wave after wave, taller than the tallest tree.

    Water like that would swamp her little airstrip and favorite landing beaches,
    And wipe out the Homer Flight Service Station, where the radio gave speeches.


    She was all on her own, her pet human was nowhere to be found.
    So she slipped off her wing covers, like a satin evening gown.

    She didn’t have a battery or starter,,,, that kept her nimble and light.
    So the spirit of Bill Piper pulled her prop through, so she could get into the fight…

    She slipped her moorings and taxied straight over to runway Zero-Three,
    Then she blasted down the ice-covered asphalt, and turned out towards the sea.

    Then back over Homer, in a full-power, tight bank, she did turn,
    Diving towards the Brewery, while her exhaust gaskets started to burn.

    She swooped from the heavens and snatched her weapon of good cheer.
    For between her tundra tires, she clutched a huge barrel of Homer Beer.

    She then sped across the ocean, her engine screaming along.
    She was twice over gross weight, but she was built “Piper Cub” strong.

    She skimmed over the waves, dodging lava rocks, her carb choking with ashes.
    If she ever got to the erupting Volcano, she was going to be kicking some asses.

    She arrived at the island, her fabric holed with small burns.
    Then she struggled for altitude, in a series of rock dodging turns.

    Five thousand, eight thousand, then ten and some change.
    Her cylinders were red hot from the work-load, her valves starting to bang.

    She spotted the lava vent hole, the doorway to hell.
    Where the ancient God Hades was weaving his molten lava spell.

    The Little Yellow Cub never hesitated and went right into a dive.
    It might cost her everything, to keep the people of Homer alive.

    Her airspeed ran past the red-line and she started to quake.
    Then she gripped the barrel of Beer and gave it a good shake.

    Old Hades looked up through his vent hole, from his hot underworld home.
    And saw he was being dived bombed by a Piper Cub, with a big barrel of Beer Foam.

    With fist raised, he opened his mouth and was ready to shout.
    When an explosion of Homer Beer,,,, put his Volcano out.

    Her Beer-Bomb gone, The Little Yellow Cub pulled out of her steep dive.
    Her tundra tires raced down the lava covered mountain, but Goodyear kept her alive.

    Her fuel was exhausted, her engine ready to seize,
    The slipstream blowing through her burnt fabric, like wind through the trees.

    So down on the beach by Bruin Bay, she landed with a couple of thumps.
    Then taxied above high tide mark and wedged herself between two tree stumps.

    Her pet human found her the next day, and restored her with loving care.
    Not only had she saved all the planes and people of Homer, but she flew where not even the greatest of Eagles would ever dare……


    Alex Clark
    Homer, Alaska
    2007




    Attached Images Attached Images
    Floatplane,Tailwheel and Firearms Instructor- Dragonfly Aero
    Experimental Hand-Loader, NRA Life Member
    http://site.dragonflyaero.com

  7. #7
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    Alex,

    Thanks for the reply. Although I'm going through the whole PA-11 transformation, I will be incorporating some of them like PA-18 seats and more baggage. Still deciding on a wing tank though.

    Mike-

  8. #8
    Member Float Pilot's Avatar
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    The Atlee Dodge STCs for mine used a PA-18 seat and PA-18 baggage compt. Plus the trim system and fuel system is the same as the PA-18-95.

    When you go the PA-11 route, you get rid of the nose tank and the leg breaker bars under the panel. the engine is mounted at a slightly different angle and the windshield is more sloped.

    On the 26 inch tires, I can get off the ground in 150 ft if I am solo with survival gear and half tank of gas.
    With two people, full tank and survival gear she gets off the ground in 300 ft.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Floatplane,Tailwheel and Firearms Instructor- Dragonfly Aero
    Experimental Hand-Loader, NRA Life Member
    http://site.dragonflyaero.com

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