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Posted 29/08/2023 in Aircraft Reviews

Piper PA-18 Super Cub: A Classic Light Aircraft Reviewed

Piper PA-18 Super Cub: A Classic Light Aircraft Reviewed

The world of light aircraft boasts an array of machines, each with its own charm and capability. Among these is a model that has stood the test of time, gracefully ageing while never losing its touch – the Piper PA-18 Super Cub. Known for its reliability and ruggedness, this aircraft has become an emblem in aviation circles. In this review, we'll dive into what makes the Super Cub a classic and why it remains popular among pilots today.

Brief History of the Piper PA-18 Super Cub

The Super Cub was introduced by Piper Aircraft in 1949, evolving from its predecessor, the Piper J-3 Cub. While retaining the essential design characteristics of the Cub, the Super Cub was enhanced with a more powerful engine and better overall performance, making it an ideal aircraft for a range of tasks including training, bush flying, and banner towing.

Performance and Specifications    

  • Engine: Initially powered by a 95 hp (71 kW) Continental engine, later models were equipped with engines up to 150 hp.        
  • Range: With a fuel capacity of 36 gallons, the Super Cub has an approximate range of 460 miles.        
  • Speed: The cruise speed hovers around 100 mph, with a top speed of 113 mph.        
  • Payload: With its sturdy design, the Super Cub can carry a payload of up to 450 pounds, making it a favourite for cargo transportation in challenging terrains.   
  • Takeoff and Landing: The aircraft's short takeoff and landing (STOL) capability is notable. It can take off in distances as short as 200 feet, making it apt for backcountry flying.

Flying the Super Cub: A Pilot’s Perspective

Pilots have often praised the Super Cub for its simplicity and responsiveness. The visibility from the cockpit, coupled with its slow-flying ability, makes it an excellent choice for scenic flights. Furthermore, its forgiving nature during takeoffs and landings is a boon for novice pilots.

Versatility: Beyond Just Flying

The adaptability of the Super Cub is part of its enduring charm. It's not uncommon to see this aircraft fitted with floats for water landings, skis for snowy terrains, or even larger tundra tyres for bush flying.

Maintenance and Ownership

Owning a classic like the Piper PA-18 Super Cub comes with its set of responsibilities. Parts are generally available, but sourcing some specific components for older models can sometimes be challenging. However, the aircraft's simplistic design ensures that maintenance isn't overly complicated.

Frequently Asked Questions

When was the Piper PA-18 Super Cub first introduced?

The Super Cub was launched by Piper Aircraft in 1949.

What makes the Super Cub stand out among light aircraft?

The Super Cub is renowned for its reliability, STOL capabilities, versatility, and adaptability to various modifications.

Is maintenance for the Super Cub complex?

Owing to its simple design, maintenance for the Super Cub is straightforward, though sourcing parts for older models might require some effort.


The Piper PA-18 Super Cub isn’t just an aircraft; it's a piece of aviation history. Its enduring design, coupled with modern upgrades, ensures it remains a favourite among pilots worldwide. Whether you're a seasoned aviator or just starting out, the Super Cub promises a flying experience like no other.