Piper Cub J-3

Handbook of Technical, Design, Performance, & Material Data


There are many books on classic aircraft. The Piper Cub J-3 is a classic of its type and many books are available, although some are out of print. Most of these books (about the Cub and other classic aircraft) are detailed historical approaches, full of arcane detail. This work is confined to physical detail with a view of the evolution of the various aspects of the aircraft and set in the context of the time of inception, design, manufacture, and use.

Like the DC-3 (C-47) and the Mustang (P-51), the Cub was unique to its time and was an excellent aircraft. It was designed and built with existing materials, engineering data, and manufacturing processes. The design, in general, is still useful today except that we would probably make many changes in virtually every characteristic and detail based upon what we know, today. But, the changes would be small and the original concept of Clarence Gilbert Taylor would remain intact. That is technical progress and while many original devices are classics, many small improvements can make them much better. Having said that, we must remember that the originators had limited resources, no access to materials that we take for granted, and what they did with what they had was most marvelous.

That the Cub triumphed over many competing designs was the result of many factors beyond the soundness of the design concept. While many of the competitor aircraft performed better than the Cub, the Piper product led them all in sales and acceptance by many parts of society. For many years after the J-3 Cub was out of production, most Americans called any light plane a "Piper Cub". That was mostly due to the alertness and vision of William Piper and his marketing savvy and management.


Table of Contents:

General design





   Landing gear

   Engine mount

Power plant










Readings and Reviews



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June 05