CubCrafters—the manufacturers of Part 23 light sport and experimental backcountry aircraft—is about to make it easier for pilots to play in the snow. The Yakima-based aircraft company has acquired Summit Aircraft Skis, including the company’s design and manufacturing assets, unique patents, and related intellectual property, from the Summit Aircraft Corporation of Sandpoint, Idaho.
According to CubCrafters, Summit Aircraft Skis are a favorite of owners of CubCrafters Carbon Cubs—as well as many other aircraft—because the unique ski design allows pilots to take their aircraft into the backcountry even when the landing areas are not cleared of snow. CubCrafters notes the manufacturing of skis has already begun at its Yakima factory.
About the Ski Design
Mike Custard, founder of Summit Aircraft Corporation, notes that the Summit Ski design utilizes a patented bolt-on attachment bracket that completely eliminates the need to weld skis to the landing gear. The Summit Skis also weigh less than and are more aerodynamic than most competitors’ penetration skis.
“Our like-minded drive for high quality innovation is one of the main reasons we chose CubCrafters as our successor,” said Mike Custard, founder of Summit Aircraft Corporation. “CubCrafters’ leadership, its people, and facilities are all outstanding. The tooling and construction techniques are familiar to the CubCrafters’ composites facility and staff.”
The company specializes in skis for carbon fiber, tube and fabric, and metal experimental aircraft. Summit’s innovative ski design is a lightweight, 100 percent carbon fiber structure using a “monocoque” construction technique, which supports structural load by using the skis exterior structure, as opposed to using an internal frame that is then covered with a non-load-bearing outer skin.
Custard adds that he will remain onboard for a time to ensure a smooth transition for both staff and customers.
Bob Breeden, an Alaska backcountry flying expert who has Summit Skis on his Super Cub, is positive about the acquisition, saying, “I’ve been using Summits’ skis for some time now and they have enabled me to adventure further afield and discover and land in new, fresh places. I really love these skis and I’m very pleased to hear that they will be in CubCrafters’ capable hands going forward. I know the team there will keep the innovation going and will ensure the skis are supported in the future.”
“We are very excited and pleased to welcome Summit’s customers and products into our family here in Yakima,” said Patrick Horgan, CubCrafters president and CEO. “It has been a joy for our team to work together with Mike Custard, Summit’s founder, to coordinate a smooth ski manufacturing transition. Adding Summit Skis to the CubCrafters product lineup allows us to better meet our customers’ needs and adds a new profit center. We see a great potential for growth with the Summit brand that we want to be a part of going forward.”
Summit Skis will continue to be available on both CubCrafters aircraft and aircraft from other manufacturers as well.
“Summit Skis, when combined with the outstanding wintertime defrost and cabin heater technology used on our FX-3 model, makes that aircraft the ultimate ski airplane,” said Brad Damm, CubCrafters’ vice president. “The acquisition is part of an ambitious growth and business development strategy that has been supported by the outstanding early success of our recently announced public stock offering.”
CubCrafters was founded in 1980 by Jim Richmond, who started with the popular Super Cub design and refined it and improved on it resulting in experimental, LSA, and Part 23 certified aircraft all with the mission of heading into the backcountry.
READ MORE: The CubCrafters XCub Is an Ideal Backcountry Machine
Over the decades CubCrafters has used a combination of innovative design, modern materials, and updates in engine technology to create the ultimate backcountry aircraft. The company’s flagship XCub aircraft is offered in both nosewheel and tailwheel configuration, resulting in what basically can be described as an off-road vehicle with wings.