Flying Innovation Award Nominee: CubCrafters XCub

This backcountry star is a Super Cub on steroids.

XCub
The CubCrafters XCub earned a Flying Editors' Choice Award for 2016, and now it's in the running for the first-ever 2017 Flying Innovation Award.Chris Cram

Developed in secret over a six-year period, the CubCrafters XCub emerged on the scene last June as a fully certified product ready for delivery to buyer's who sought the ideal backcountry machine.

Though it's a clone of the Piper Super Cub introduced to the market decades ago, the XCub is a thoroughly modern aircraft, featuring Lycoming's 180 hp O-360 engine spinning a composite Hartzel Trailblazer constant speed prop, a combination that allows the the XCub to cruise at 145 mph at 75 percent power and offer up a useful load of 1,084 pounds while almost levitating like a helicopter on the extremely short takeoff run.

The combination of power, capability and refinement earned the XCub a Flying Editors' Choice Award for 2016, and now it's in the running for the first-ever 2017 Flying Innovation Award, which we'll hand out later this month at Oshkosh. Read our review of the XCub here.

The XCub is vying for the prize against other worthy contenders including the Piper M600, HondaJet, Dynon D10A and Garmin G5 flight displays and SiriusXM SXAR1 portable satellite weather data receiver.