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Second mass Cub flight to AirVenture plannedSecond mass Cub flight to AirVenture planned

Event marks iconic craft’s eightieth anniversaryEvent marks iconic craft’s eightieth anniversary

Early on the morning of July 22, 2012, 75 vintage Piper J-3 Cubs—plus a number of J-5s and other Cub variants that pushed the total to more than 100 iconic Pipers—landed in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, for EAA AirVenture after flying in trail from Hartford, Wisconsin, 39 nautical miles to the south. The Cubs 2 Oshkosh event was organized to celebrate the Cub’s seventy-fifth anniversary.

  • A Cub lifts off from Hartford, Wisconsin, on July 22, 2012--one of 75 that made the Cubs2Oshkosh flight commemorating the Piper J-3 Cub's 75th anniversary. Photo by Mike Collins.
  • Rows of Piper Cubs--some with their pilots camping under their wings--fill the grass at Hartford, Wisconsin, in advance of the July 22, 2012, Cubs2Oshkosh flight commemorating the Piper J-3 Cub's 75th anniversary. Photo by Mike Collins.
  • Rows of Piper Cubs--some with their pilots camping under their wings--fill the grass at Hartford, Wisconsin, in advance of the July 22, 2012, Cubs2Oshkosh flight commemorating the Piper J-3 Cub's 75th anniversary. Photo by Mike Collins.
  • A row of Cubs rests in the setting sun at Hartford, Wisconsin, in advance of the July 22, 2012, Cubs2Oshkosh flight commemorating the Piper J-3 Cub's 75th anniversary. Photo by Mike Collins.
  • Cubs wait in the grass at Hartford, Wisconsin, in advance of the July 22, 2012, Cubs2Oshkosh flight commemorating the Piper J-3 Cub's 75th anniversary. Photo by Mike Collins.
  • A Piper Cub taxis at sunset in Hartford, Wisconsin, the evening before the July 22, 2012, Cubs2Oshkosh flight commemorating the Piper J-3 Cub's 75th anniversary. Photo by Mike Collins.

On Sunday, July 23, it's set to happen again.

Cubs will gather at Hartford Municipal Airport July 21 and 22 before departing early on July 23 for EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh. AirVenture 2017 runs from July 24 through 30. There, the Cubs will be parked together to mark the Cub’s eightieth anniversary. The first J-3 was built in Piper’s Lock Haven, Pennsylvania, plant on Oct. 8, 1937, and likely would have made its first half-hour test flight that Friday—or soon thereafter, if it was finished late in the day.

“Five years ago, we hosted a gathering of J-3 Cubs and their accompanying or support aircraft,” said Steve Krog, who operates the Cub Air Flight LLC flight school at Hartford. “Participation was fantastic. Approximately 150 airplanes turned out, even though it was nearly 100 degrees every day. We hope to get at least that many or more this year, due to both the fun and historic nature of this event.”

Why do it again? “Following the gathering at Hartford for the seventy-fifth, we had numerous participants contact us after the fact, and said, ‘I hope you do this again in five years. This is really fun.’ So we gave it some thought, got some backing, and here we are five years later—trying to create the same or better atmosphere,” Krog explained.

The event is following the template established by its predecessor. The Hartford airport is an ideal gathering point, because it has both a hard-surface runway and a 2,000-foot turf runway—frequently preferred by the pilots of these classic airplanes. Camping will be allowed on the field. Activities and a variety of food services will be available all day Friday and Saturday, and the Friday-evening fish fry is back by popular demand. As details are finalized, they will be published on the event’s website.

“The City of Hartford is very supportive of this event and will be offering a number of amenities,” said John Hofmann, president of the Cub Club, which is supporting the event. “We guarantee that all participants will be well cared for and will have a lot of fun while in Hartford.”

Beginning at sunrise Sunday morning, the Cubs will launch for Oshkosh, with a Cub taking off every 30 seconds for nearly an hour. Participating Cubs will fly in trail to Oshkosh for a mass arrival.
“We hope to attract at least 100 Piper J-3 Cubs this year, along with another 75 to 100 accompanying and support airplanes. It would be the largest number of airplanes ever to land at the Hartford airport,” Krog said. Registration to date is comparing favorably to five years ago, he added. “People are signing up for it steadily.”

While the event itself will be similar to 2012’s, this year’s has something its predecessor lacked. “We’re using Facebook to promote it,” Krog said. “That’s something we didn’t have five years ago. Something like 3,000 people are following it right now.” Cub pilot Jessica Voruda of Oshkosh is managing the Facebook presence.

It’s vital that all attending Cub owners and pilots register for the event, because there is a limit on the number of Cubs that will fly in together to Oshkosh, said Jamie Weber, event manager—she’s also the administrator for the Cub Club and Cub Air Flight, and a student pilot. Participation slots will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis.

“We’ve made it much easier to register for this fun event,” Weber added. “All one needs to do is visit the Cubs2Osh website and click on the registration form. Payment is much easier, too. We’re using credit cards and PayPal rather than requiring checks. Just follow the directions and submit your form electronically.”

For more information or to register, visit the website or call Weber at 262/966-7627.

Mike Collins

Mike Collins

Technical Editor
Mike Collins has worked for AOPA’s media network since 1994. He holds a private pilot certificate with an instrument rating.
Topics: EAA AirVenture, Vintage

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