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Piper J-3P :: What Is That?! - A Cub with a Radial Engine

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Wayne Bressler
Homebuilder or Craftsman
89
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30
#1 Posted: 6/6/2010 12:39:37

  Piper J-3P-50 :: What Is That?!


So I say's to my friend, "What should I name my kid?".  He sez, "Call him Bevo, like Bevo Howard."  "Who is Bevo Howard???" I asks myself...

I know a few things about a coupla things, and some things I know a lot about, and then there are a lot of things I don't know nothin' about.  Bevo Howard was one thing I knew nothing about.  So I Googled him.

Bevo's son maintains a website with information about his father's life as an airshow performer, FBO owner, and all-around promoter of General Aviation.  He tells about how his father "pushed hard to bring a professional business image to aviation, not only by always flying exhibitions in a dress shirt and tie but wearing a business suit as he would walk out to the Bücker to perform his air shows, carefully folding the suit jacket and stowing it in the baggage compartment so that it would not be ruined by the oil spray from the heavily taxed radial engine."

I also learned that even though Bevo was not the first person to do the outside loop, he was the first to do it in a light plane of that era.  Not just any light plane, mind you, but a 37 1/2hp Piper J-3 Cub.  Which brings me to the point of today's update.  What in the world is a Piper J-3P?

I've done some digging, and it looks like their are only 3 surviving J-3P's on the FAA registry.  The only one I could find any photos of was N21561, a 1938 variant with the Lenape  AR3-160 (FAA TC Sheet).  The photo below is of Bevo Howard in a J-3P.  I have to assume this was one of the airplanes he used for his airshow work, but I can't find any more data to back that up.  I really love the three-piece windshield, and check out that tailwheel!

If you know more about the Lenape-powered J-3, let's hear about it.  More importantly, if you have photos of one, preferably really old photos, PLEASE post them!!!!

 

 



Tricycles are for babies. Taildraggers, Inc. www.taildraggersinc.com
Justin Pallas
Vintage Aircraft Association MemberYoung Eagles Pilot or Volunteer
24
Posts
8
#2 Posted: 6/6/2010 20:35:19

Wayne,

Thanks for the post, as a J-3 owner I have never heard of the p model.  I am in the beginings of some reasearch on Piper and the classics for my website and this is great information to hear about.  Hopefully i will dig up some more infrmation.  Another forum you might want to reach out to if you have not already is the Piper Cub Club http://www.cubclub.org/ they may have some more information for you or where you might be able to find out more.

Justin



Fred Krueger
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0
#3 Posted: 6/11/2010 21:15:14

There is some mention of of the Lenape Papoose powered cubs in Roger Peperell book on PIper Aircraft, It appears that there were 50 and 65 Hp versions and some seaplane production.....



Shannon Coleman
Homebuilder or Craftsman
69
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27
#4 Posted: 6/14/2010 09:13:14

Wayne,

I have seen a color picture of a J-3P on the cover of some book I think I own.  I've looked and looked, but can't find it.  I'm sure I'll run across it in a month.

You want to see something REALLY different, check out the Tri-Con Champ 7JC.  http://1000aircraftphotos.com/PRPhotos/Aeronca.htm



Pat Darby
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1
Kerry Sim
22
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9
#6 Posted: 6/18/2010 11:07:28

Mr. Piper and His Cubs (© 1973 The Iowa State University Press, author Devon Francis) Page 62, second last paragraph:
 
"There was a fourth brand of engine, the three-cylinder Lenape radial. While it was a livelier piece of machinery than the flat fours, it had vibrations that were harrowing. Piper never mounted more than a baker's dozen Lenapes on the noses of Cubs."

That being said, beginning on p. 65, and continuing to the next page is a tale of the Piper Aircraft publicity department's stunt of having a couple of it's pilots fly a Lenape powered Cub (NC20280) non-stop between Newark NJ and Miami FL in 1938 to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the inauguration of air-mail service by the US Army in 1918. Refueling was accomplished by letting down a rope from the Cub, and folks in autos and pick-up trucks tying on gas cans to be hauled up. (Interesting aside: apparently Fords were better able to accelerate, and were preferred over a Chevy for the job)

Summation quote from the book: "Kress and Englert had flown 2,390 miles nonstop, not counting the orbits at Jacksonville, behind an engine that shook their eyeteeth. Aloft for sixty-three hours and fifty-four minutes, they were bone tired. "Good show," pronounced the Piper press department. It made all the newspapers"

... ahh the "Good ol' Days.."

 

 



Robert Carver
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0
#7 Posted: 6/18/2010 13:50:40

I had the pleasure of watching Bevo perform his acrobatic maneuvers while in USAF pilot training at Spence Air Base, GA in 1959..Bevo ran the civilian contract base during that time period.  The most impressive maneuver, I thought, was a 360 degree circle at 500 feet altitude while doing a constant series of aileron rolls throughout in his Bucker Jungmiester (sp).

Bevo would be a great namesake!



Carve
Keith Caulton
Young Eagles Pilot or VolunteerAirVenture Volunteer
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#8 Posted: 6/18/2010 16:55:26
I shot these pictures at Frederick Maryland in 1973.  N20280 is still in the FAA registration data base with the owner living in MD.  The FAA data indicates the airplane was built in 1939.  The current registration data indicate the Lenape Papoose was probably replaced with a Continental A-65, and possibly the plane was deregistered.  I looked really hard to see which wing it has, but was unable to determine if it is the wing similar to the J-2 where the front spars meet in the middle at the cabane or like the later J-3's with front spars connecting to the cabin sides.  It's probably the latter.  I seem to remember there was some sort of article in either Sport Aviation or the Antique Airplane News, but I'm not sure which.


J3Psmall.jpg
J3Psmall2.jpg 



Keith
Keith Caulton
Young Eagles Pilot or VolunteerAirVenture Volunteer
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#9 Posted: 6/18/2010 19:30:34

Joe Juptner's U.S. Civil Aircraft says that thirty or more J3P-50's were built.  N20280 is S/N 2080. and that is also the first serial number that Juptner lists.  He also shows that the original registration was NX-20280.  2080 is the lowest serial number of the 25 that Juptner shows.  Given the registration number and serial number in Juptner's list, I believe that 20280 is the prototype J3P.  Juptner also says the J3P-50 was available with plain-hinged or Friese-type balanced ailerons.  A good hard look at the wings leads me to beileve this airplane has the Friese-type aileron.  Having the Friese ailerons supports my guess that this airplane has the later model wings.  These wings still had wooden spars.



Keith
Bill Madden
Vintage Aircraft Association Member
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#10 Posted: 6/18/2010 22:14:24

In February of 1985 I had the opportunity to check out in NC 21561, SN 2474. The plan was that I would take it to the Cactus Fly-In at Casa Grande, AZ, the following weekend. That trip didn't materialize but I remember the checkout for the following reasons.

1. The engine had short stacks and was painfully loud. I darn near became deaf.

2. With a heavy instructor up front it took forever to get to over 500 AGL from a field elevation of 4454 ft and it didn't want to

    flare. We flew a 500 ft pattern and shot three wheel landings.

3. The ailerons were the old style and definitely on the heavy side.

The plane had a black fuselage with yellow wings and still does. I had the pleasure of visiting it last summer at the Western Antique Airplane and Automobile Museum in Hood River, Oregon. If you are ever in the north west part of Oregon, don't fail to visit this museum. It's outstanding.

Bill Madden

EAA 8827



Sean Vanhatten
IAC Member
5
Posts
2
#11 Posted: 6/19/2010 19:47:27

There is one in Hood River, Oregon owned by the Western Antique Automobile and Airplane Museum (WAAAM). At least, I think it's a J-3P.

 


DSC01797.JPG



Wayne Bressler
Homebuilder or Craftsman
89
Posts
30
#12 Posted: 10/25/2010 09:44:53

Hold on to your hats, folks!  I just might have some really exciting photos for all the J-3P fans out there real soon!!!

Shhhhhhhh!!!!!!  I can't let the cat too far out of the bag just yet. 
wink



Tricycles are for babies. Taildraggers, Inc. www.taildraggersinc.com
Wayne Bressler
Homebuilder or Craftsman
89
Posts
30
#13 Posted: 10/28/2010 22:57:09

 NX20280 Piper J-3P CubNX20280 Flies Again

I received an email on the 24th from Ingrid Zimmer-Galler about the first flight of her newly restored Piper Cub.  While that alone may not be all too unique, the specific model of Cub is what really sets this one apart.

You see, Ingrid has returned to the air one of only three Piper J-3P's on the FAA registry.  The "P" model was unique in that it was originally powered by a Lenape Papoose three-cylinder radial engine.  I wrote briefly about the J-3P back in June, in reference to Bevo Howard using one to perform the first outside loop in a light plane of that era.

NX20280 Piper J-3P CubHere's what Ingrid had to say about her J-3P, NX20280:

"Thought you might enjoy a couple of pics of our J3P Cub that flew for the first time in almost 20 years yesterday. NX20280 is the Cub that held the world endurance record for time aloft in 1938 and I tried to have it restored to look as it did back then (minus the belly tank which we are still working on)."


I owe a huge thank you to Ingrid not only for sharing her photos, but also for going the extra mile to restore a truly unique airplane.  Without passionate people taking on unusual and rare projects, many of these vintage airplanes would be lost forever.

Thank you, Ingrid.

Please visit the Taildraggers, Inc. Forum to see more pictures of NX20280.



Tricycles are for babies. Taildraggers, Inc. www.taildraggersinc.com
Wayne Bressler
Homebuilder or Craftsman
89
Posts
30
#14 Posted: 10/28/2010 22:58:12

 NX20280 Piper J-3P CubMore NX20280 Photos

Mark Carlisle must have absolutely incredible timing.  He just happened to stop by the airport the afternoon following the first flight on NX20280, and was able to take some incredible photographs.

Some guys have all the luck.

Mark has generously shared his photos with me so that I could share them with you.  He also several more photos on his Flickr page.

If you have some time to kill, I recommend you check NX20280 Piper J-3P Cubout all of the pics on Mark's Flickr page, not just the ones of NX20280.  When you're done there, you can waste the rest of your workday looking at the 800+ photos he has on Airliners.net.

Again, a huge thank you to Mark for sharing these pictures.  Please remember that these images are Mark's, and are copyrighted.  Don't be a party pooper.  Ask his permission before using them.

NX20280 Photos on Flickr
Mark Carlisle's Flickr Page
Mark Carlisle's Airliners.net Page



Tricycles are for babies. Taildraggers, Inc. www.taildraggersinc.com
Wayne Bressler
Homebuilder or Craftsman
89
Posts
30
#15 Posted: 10/31/2010 10:16:22

 

Mark Carlisle has tipped me off to more photos of NX20280. These are inflight and air-to-air.

http://www.smbrjphoto.com/cub/h10efd115#h3bf4f0f1

I'm glad that the return of this aircraft is being well documented. With something as rare as a J-3P, it's important that we capture these moments so that the images can be passed along to future generations of aviation enthusiasts.


Tricycles are for babies. Taildraggers, Inc. www.taildraggersinc.com
Richard Warner
Homebuilder or CraftsmanAirVenture Volunteer
32
Posts
2
#16 Posted: 11/4/2010 22:38:06

Keith,  All of the J-3's and even the PA-11's had front spars that "met in the middle".  In the Cub series, the Super Cub was the first to have the spars hook up at the sides.  I'm not talking about the other types such as the Cub Cruiser and Super Cruiser, etc.

Richard

EAA 22313 Lifetime