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Sweeps Super Cub transforms to amphibSweeps Super Cub transforms to amphib

The metamorphosis is complete: AOPA’s Sweepstakes Super Cub that debuted as a backcountry beauty in 2018 has taken on its final form for the giveaway this summer as an amphibian that’s equally at home on land and on water.

  • It's not every day you see an airplane suspended in a hangar, unless you work at Wipaire's Leesburg, Florida, facility where they install floats on aircraft. Wipaire installed its Wipline 2100 amphibious floats on the AOPA Sweepstakes Super Cub.
  • You might win the AOPA Sweepstakes Super Cub this summer. The sweepstakes entry period closes May 31. Make sure you are entered for a chance to win!
  • An advisory panel above the J.P. Instruments EDM 900 will illuminate the words "water" or "land" when the Laser Gear Advisory system detects the type of terrain it is over at 400 feet agl. Below the EDM 900 are gear position indicator lights: Four green when the wheels are down for runway landing and four blue when the wheels are up for water landing.
  • The Wipline 2100 amphibious floats match the Super Cub's Lock Haven Yellow paint perfectly because Wipaire scanned the airplane this summer to ensure a flawless match.
  • Wheels hydraulically extend and retract on the floats to allow water or runway landings.
  • Each float features a storage compartment. Inevitably, all floats leak a little, so if you plan to pack some clothes in the compartment, put them in a waterproof bag. They are also handy for storing a couple of quarts of oil, some cleaning supplies, and the pump to pump water out of the various float compartments.
  • After landing on the water and decelerating, lower the water rudders for steering. Just make sure you always raise them before you start the takeoff roll!
  • A visual gear position indicator in the yellow box on each float makes it easy for the pilot and passenger to glance outside and verify whether the gear is up for runway landing or down for water landing.
  • Wipline 2100 floats come in two varieties, seaplane (or straight) and amphibious. AOPA opted for the amphibious floats for the Sweepstakes Super Cub.
  • This Super Cub is a heavy hauler thanks to Wipaire's gross weight increase kit bringing its gross weight up to 2,000 pounds.
  • Fresh out of the shop with its sea legs, the Sweepstakes Super Cub shines in the Florida sunlight on Wipaire's ramp at Leesburg International Airport.
  • AOPA's Sweepstakes Super Cub is off for its maiden flight from Leesburg International Airport in Florida after passing its test flight and all the maintenance paperwork is complete.
  • AOPA's Sweepstakes Super Cub flies over Florida's Lake Pierce with its new Wipaire 2100 amphibious floats.

Wipaire installed its Wipline 2100 amphibious floats and Laser Gear Advisory system at its Leesburg, Florida, facility. “You get a lot more options with the amphibious floats,” said Bill Pike, general manager of Wipaire’s Leesburg shop. Straight floats limit landing options and require advance research for fuel availability at seaplane bases. Amphibs open the options to grass and paved runways, making cross-countries in the seaplane as easy as a land airplane.

One of the special considerations with amphibious floats is making sure the landing gear is in the correct position before landing. Landing on the water with the wheels extended would cause the airplane to flip over. To make sure the pilot is aware of the gear position, the Super Cub is equipped with Wipaire’s Laser Gear Advisory system that includes visual and audio alerts. Each float has a visual position indicator that the pilot and passenger can see easily from the cockpit. Also, the instrument panel features two types of lighted indications: At the top of the panel, an advisory display indicates the type of landing surface; at the bottom of the panel, four green lights illuminate for gear in the runway landing configuration and four blue lights illuminate for gear in the water landing configuration. An audio alert will sound as a final warning. A laser mounted in the wing “can tell the difference between water and ground,” Pike said, explaining that it will recognize the landing surface at 400 feet and illuminate the advisory display with “water” or “land” for the surface it detects. At 50 feet above the surface and below a certain airspeed, the audio alert will sound if the gear is in the incorrect configuration. If this happens, Wipaire recommends going around to set up in the correct configuration.

The system might seem eerily quiet to those who have flown with Wipaire’s traditional audio system with the repetitive “Gear down for runway landing” and “Gear up for water landing” alerts. The Laser Gear Advisory system is designed to sound less frequently and “won’t come on until you’re doing something wrong,” Pike said. “So you need to heed it.” If you do everything correctly, the audio alert won't sound.

With the airplane’s transformation complete, it’s time for the lucky winner to earn his or her sea legs with a seaplane rating if he or she doesn’t already have it. ProMark Aviation in Texas is donating training toward the rating. After all, the winner should be as comfortable on land and water as the Super Cub!

The AOPA Super Cub Sweepstakes ends May 31, 2019! Visit for official rules and details on extra chances and alternate methods of entry!

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: Seaplane, Sweepstakes

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