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Dakota Cub Super 18 with pilot David Richardson

This is not your grandpa’s Piper Cub. Add a slotted wing, a 180-hp engine, and some big Alaska bush tires, and now you have the Dakota Cub Super 18.

I’m David Allen, and I’m about to bring you into the cockpit … of other people’s airplanes.

While making plans to attend EAA AirVenture Oshkosh in 2011, I contacted my friends at Dakota Cub to see if they would be interested in flying me in one of their airplanes. They were more than excited. We decided to fly on Tuesday morning.

So on day two of AirVenture, I loaded up all of my gear into Rod Rakic of myTransponder’s Jeep. Damon Favor of the Pursuit of Wings was also in tow to work the camera and handle all of the audio and such. We then drove on up to a small little airport in Wisconsin call Brennand (identifier 79C). The paved part of the runway was about 20 feet wide, but there must have been another 60 feet of usable grass on either side. The airport was super small (with NO fence), but it was really busy. I was shocked at how many airplanes were landing and taking off while we were shooting.

David Richardson, the pilot of the Super 18, and I saddled up with me in the front seat and took off. It took me about 3.4 seconds to fall in love with this airplane once we got off the ground. We left the door open for the whole flight. This is important, I learned, because the stall warning on this bird is basically this: when the bottom half of the door begins to float up, you are stalling. Very, very cool.

David took us out west over a lake, letting me fly much of the time, then climbed up a bit to show me the slow speed characteristics of the airplane. It’s crazy. You can put the plane into a full stall, with the altimeter buzzing backwards and the houses getting bigger, but you still have full aileron control and can still fly the airplane. It never dipped a wing or wanted to spin, and even though we were no longer generating enough lift to maintain altitude, we could still fly the airplane.

It was ridiculously cool.

We flew back up to a safe maneuvering altitude, and David handed me the controls again. I started with some slow flight stuff. With full flaps down and the GPS indicating 50 knots ground speed, I was able to fly and maintain control of the Super 18 – even though the airspeed indicator was pegged at zero. That’s no indicated airspeed, folks. Then I flew the plane through the stalls. I was turning and banking all the way through a stall that lost 500 feet.

We flew around for quite a while more before heading on to 51WI, a tiny little grass strip about 5 miles south of 79C. We landed there, and Damon and Rod were waiting for us.

David was also kind enough to fly both Rod and Damon in the Dakota Cub.

Some of my equipment experienced technical difficulties during the flight. One camera stopped recording unexpectedly. Unfortunately, that was the same camera that was recording the cockpit audio, so the second half of the flight is all but silent. The camera that faces me directly also died when it ran out of battery power. Lessons learned: know your equipment and triple check it before flying. In spite of the issues, I still landed with three cameras rolling.

Special thanks goes out to Sennheisser Aviation for letting me demo their new S1 Digital Aviation Headset.

Thanks to NFLIGHTCAM for letting me demo their new NFLIGHTCAM+. Without them, there would have been no cockpit audio.

Thanks for Damon, once again, for running cameras and basically being a huge help in all of this and the rest of AirVenture.

And a very special thank you to Amy Gesch, David Richardson, and the whole team at Dakota Cub for allowing me to fly this incredible bird. It was simply a dream to fly.

You must try this airplane.

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