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Superior Super Cub in the worksSuperior Super Cub in the works

AOPA’s sweepstakes airplane will have tundra tires, floats, and skisAOPA’s sweepstakes airplane will have tundra tires, floats, and skis

Bush plane, seaplane, ski plane: AOPA’s Super Cub Sweepstakes can do it all. For the first time in AOPA’s sweepstakes history, we’ll be giving away the airplane with tundra tires, amphibious floats, and hydraulic skis so the lucky winner can land, splash in, or ski in for adventure.

AOPA's Super Cub Sweepstakes airplane will come with tundra tires, amphibious floats, and hydraulic skis. Photo by Mike Fizer.

The Super Cub will involve the most extensive refurbishment we have ever undertaken. From tip to tail, AOPA’s Super Cub Sweepstakes is getting a complete makeover with modifications and performance enhancements such as a 2,000-pound gross weight increase, vortex generators, three-inch extended landing gear, and yet-to-be-announced engine with more horsepower.

The aircraft will be completely restored and make its debut at the Sun 'n Fun International Fly-In and Expo in 2018, and then you can follow the Super Cub around the country on adventures as we demonstrate its prowess in the backcountry, flexibility on amphibious floats, and superiority on hydraulic skis before giving it away in 2019. Meanwhile, check out the airplane’s beautifully restored stand-in airplane at the AOPA tent at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, starting July 24.

Bill and Brenda Allison, previous owners of the AOPA Sweepstakes Super Cub. Photo by Mike Fizer.

Second chance

Previously a ranching workhorse, the Super Cub has sat derelict for the past 20 years. Bill Allison, a saddle artist and leather craftsman, rancher, and pilot, purchased the classic taildragger in 1991 to better monitor his ranch. The Super Cub became a tool, enabling Allison and his wife, Brenda, to efficiently monitor 54 water tanks on 24 miles of water lines, spot fires after lightning strikes, and find lost cattle on their ranch near the Tongue River outside Miles City, Montana. “We used that plane for a workhorse,” Allison recalled. He could fly over the ranch and check everything in 35 minutes, he said, versus six hours of driving. “It saves you a million miles on your pickup.”

Allison had two runways on his ranch, one 600 feet and the other 800 feet. His horses and cattle became so accustomed to the Super Cub that they didn’t always want to get out of the way when Allison approached to land.

Skis were common on Allison’s airplane. “No matter if it’s 10 below, you still gotta fly,” he said of surveying the ranch in arctic temperatures. “That’s when flying is best, when it’s cold.” There’s no braking on skis, Allison explained, but the snow “slows you down good.”

The trusty aerial steed was refurbished in 1995 with a new orange-and-white paint job and interior. Brenda, who is also talented with stitching and works with Allison in their shop, sewed new seat coverings and the headliner for the Super Cub.

On July 7, 1997, after a visit to Allison’s parents, the couple crashed prop first after takeoff on their return home. Both miraculously escaped from the aircraft before it caught fire. The two were hospitalized for only one night, and the next day, Allison was back in the fields baling hay.

The Allisons sold the Super Cub wreckage to the mechanic who had previously restored the aircraft and intended to do so again. However, the aircraft sat in pieces for years and Roger Meggers of Baker, Montana-based Baker Air Service bought the project when the mechanic retired.

Inside the restoration

Father-son master craftsmen Roger and Darin Meggers will transform the Super Cub into a completely restored, mint-condition, high-performing, heavy-hauling Superior Super Cub.

And before you ask if we are taking care of your airplane, rest assured, it could be in no better hands. The Meggers have restored 40 Super Cubs, spending an average of 1,500 hours on each project. AOPA Pilot previously documented their work in its Craftsmanship series for their meticulous rebuild of Super Cub No. 1. The duo won a Gold Lindy Award for Super Cub No. 1 at EAA AirVenture in 2012. The following year, it was dubbed Grand Champion at the Sentimental Journey Fly-In in Lock Haven, Pennsylvania, birthplace of the Cub line. One of their other restorations took third prize at the popular Piper fly-in the same year.

The Meggers have been quietly working on the project since May, keeping the Super Cub secret. The wing structure and tail surfaces are currently under repair. The duo is caring for the new parts like a prized possession—bringing lightweight titanium firewall purchased from F. Atlee Dodge back to Montana on the airlines as carry-on luggage from the Alaska Airmen Association’s Great Alaska Aviation Gathering and picking up the bulk of the airframe parts from Univair in Colorado and driving them to Montana so that they wouldn’t have to worry about the parts being damaged during freighting.

Darin (front) and Roger Meggers inspect the Piper Super Cub's damaged wings. Photo by Mike Fizer.

Even though this Super Cub rolled off the assembly line with a green paint scheme, we’ll paint it the iconic Piper yellow. Baker Air Service just placed the fabric and paint order with Consolidated Aircraft Coatings July 12 for No. 148 Post War Yellow paint, also known as Lock Haven Yellow, named after the Pennsylvania town where the first Piper factory was built.

The aircraft’s exterior will remain largely true to a traditional Super Cub but feature a few performance enhancements.  A kit increasing the gross weight to 2,000 pounds from Wipaire and 24-gallon fuel tanks from Dakota Cub will increase the Super Cub’s load-carrying capability and range, whether on tundra tires, floats, or skis. Vortex generators and three-inch extended landing gear from CubCrafters also will boost performance.

Carbon Concepts will help AOPA keep the Super Cub light weight with carbon panels on the interior, and Airtex Products will outfit the cockpit and seats. As if the yellow Super Cub—especially when on floats—won’t be easy enough to spot on the ground, in the water, or in the air, AERO LEDs is providing all the exterior lighting for the aircraft.

Powerful panel

Aerotronics rendering of one possible layout for the Super Cub's modern panel. Image courtesy of Aerotronics.

Inside, we take a leap from the 1950s to present day with the latest technology powering the panel: Garmin’s G5 non-TSO’d primary attitude indicator, aera 660 GPS, GTR 225 comm radio, and GTX 345 ADS-B transponder. The Garmin panel will not only make the Super Cub ADS-B Out compliant, but all the avionics will talk to one another to improve the pilot’s situational awareness by displaying ADS-B traffic and weather data on the aera 660.

You’ll never have to question your fuel level or engine health in this Super Cub. You’ll have a precise understanding of both with the J.P. Instruments EDM 900 all-in-one digital engine instrument and CiES electronic fuel-sending units.

While cruising along, listen to your favorite tunes thanks to PS Engineering’s PM3000A stereo intercom and new headsets from Bose.

Fitting these instruments, along with a standard airspeed indicator and altimeter, into the traditional low, rounded panel will be similar to completing a jigsaw puzzle. Aerotronics of Billings, Montana, is working closely with Baker Air Service to design a panel that will be ergonomic and pleasing to the eye.

Total package

The Piper Super Cub after a previous restoration before it was wrecked. Photo by Mike Fizer.

Winning a beautifully restored Super Cub would be a dream come true for many pilots. So why are we adding in tundra tires, amphibious floats, and hydraulic skis? The Super Cub is such a versatile aircraft, used for ranching, spraying, touring, etc., that we felt the extra gear would truly showcase just what the aircraft can do—and give the winner the opportunity for amazing adventures.

Airframes Alaska is donating, among other things, a 26-inch Alaskan Bushwheels, while Wipaire is providing the Wipline 2100 amphibious floats. AOPA will also fit it with hydraulic skis.

Once the restoration is complete, we’ll take you on adventures to the mountainous backcountry, on lakes and rivers, and snow-covered fields and runways. This aircraft will take you wherever you want to go—are you ready?

And then, after we’ve shown it off, a lucky winner will take it home in the summer of 2019.

Share your thoughts about the AOPA Super Cub Sweepstakes at AOPAHangar.com.

Alyssa J. Miller

Alyssa J. Cobb

AOPA Director of eMedia and Online Managing Editor
AOPA Director of eMedia and Online Managing Editor Alyssa J. Cobb has worked at AOPA since 2004 and is an active flight instructor.
Topics: AOPA, Sweepstakes, Single Engine

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