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Piper PA-18


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PA-18 Super Cub 150 (G-HACK) at the Great Vintage Fly-In Weekend, Kemble, England, in May 2003
PA-18-150 "Super Cub" floatplane at Tinney Cove (Bathurst Inlet)


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The Piper PA-18 Super Cub is a two-seat, single-engine monoplane. Introduced in 1949 by Piper Aircraft , it was developed from the Piper PA-11 , and traces its lineage back through the J-3 to the Taylor E-2 Cub of the 1930s. In close to 40 years of production, over 9,000 were built. Super Cubs are commonly found in roles such as bush flying , banner and glider towing.

Design and development

While based on the design of the earlier Cubs , the addition of an electrical system, flap s (3 notches), and a vastly more powerful engine (150 hp), make it a very different flying experience. Although the "standard" Super Cub was fitted with a 150 horsepower (112 kW) Lycoming engine, it was not uncommon to see them equipped with a 180 hp (134 kW) powerplant. The high-lift wing and powerful engine made the Super Cub a prime candidate for conversion to either floatplane or skiplane . In addition, the PA-18A (an agricultural version) was produced for applying either dry chemical or liquid spray.

The Super Cub retained the basic "rag and tube" (fabric stretched over a steel tube frame) structure of the earlier J-3 Cub.

The first true "Super" Cubs had flaps, dual fuel tanks, and an O-235 Lycoming engine producing about 108 hp (115 hp for takeoff only). However, a 90 hp Continental without flaps and an optional second wing tank was available. Their empty weight was, on the average, 800-1000 pounds with a gross weight of 1,500 lb. These Cubs would take off in about 400 feet (at gross weight) and land in about 300 feet (thanks to the flaps). The Super Cub is renowned for its ability to take off and land in very short distances. The O-290 Lycoming powered Cubs (135 hp) followed and would take off in about . The landing distance remained the same at about , or using flaps. With the use of the Lycoming O-320 at 150-160 hp, the Cub's allowable gross weight increased to 1,750 lb while retaining the capability of a mere for takeoff.


PA-18 Super Cub

Prototype and production variant powered by a 95hp Continental C-90-8F piston engine, sometimes known as the PA-18-95.

PA-18-105 Super Cub

Production variant fitted with a 105hp Lycoming O-235-C1 piston engine and larger tailplane.

PA-18-105 Special

Special variant built in 1952 and 1953 for the Civil Air Patrol as a trainer with horn balanced elevators and provision for seat parachutes.

PA-18-125 Super Cub

Variant to replace the PA-18-95 with flaps and horn balanced elevators and a 125hp Lycoming O-290-D piston engine and either or a metal controllable-pitch propeller.

PA-18-135 Super Cub

Variant with a 135hp Lycoming O-290-D piston engine and fitted with two wing tanks as standard.

PA-18-150 Super Cub

1954 variant with a 150hp Lycoming O-320 .

PA-18-180 Super Cub

Experimental variant with a 180hp Lycoming O-360 engine, one built in 1980 by Piper. Other aircraft have been re-engined under a Supplemental Type Certificate.


Designation for production aircraft with different engines built as single seat cropdusters with a wider rear fuselage holding a hoppertank in the back seat.


Designation for production aircraft fitted with floats.


Designation of a small number of agricultural aircraft fitted with floats.

PA-19 Super Cub

Original designation of the military variant of the PA-18, only three built and all subseqeuent military production were designated as PA-18s.

Military designations

L-18C Super Cub

Military designation of the PA-18 Super Cub for the United States Army, powered by a 95-hp (71-kW) Continental C90-8F piston engine, 838 delivered 108 of which were delivered to other nations under MDAP.

YL-21 Super Cub

Two Super Cub 135s for evaluation by the United States Army.

L-21A Super Cub

Military designation of the Super Cub 125, powered by a 125-hp (92-kW) Avco Lycoming 0-290-II piston engine, 150 delivered.

L-21B Super Cub

Military designation of the Super Cub 135, powered by a 135-hp (101-kW) Avco Lycoming 0-290-D2 piston engine, 584 delivered many to other nations under MDAP, re-designated U-7A in 1962.


A number of L-21As were converted into training aircraft.

U-7A Super Cub

1962 redesignation of the L-21B.


Military operators


*Austrian Air Force


*Belgian Army




*Imperial Iranian Air Force


*Italian Army


*Israeli Air Force


*Royal Netherlands Air Force


*Nicaraguan Air Force


*Japanese Army


*Royal Norwegian Air Force


*Portuguese Air Force


*Swedish Army


*Turkish Army




* United States Air Force

* United States Army