This 1947 Piper J-3 Cub Is a Historic, Beloved ‘AircraftForSale’ Top Pick

The tandem-seat trainer, usually painted yellow, provided thousands of students with a path to aviation careers.

The shape of Piper’s J-3 Cub harks back to a distant era of general aviation. [Courtesy: Dean Castang]

Each day, the team at Aircraft For Sale picks an airplane that catches our attention because it is unique, represents a good deal, or has other interesting qualities. You can read Aircraft For Sale: Today’s Top Pick at daily.

When President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Civilian Pilot Training Act in 1939 as part of a plan to boost the nation’s overall readiness for potential combat, he gave an opportunity to thousands of aspiring aviators who might never have learned to fly without the government program. The resulting flurry of flight instruction sharply raised demand for trainer aircraft. This was the beginning of the Piper J-3 Cub’s ascendance.

Demand for the simple, rugged taildragger soared, and Piper turned out thousands of them for wartime training. After the war the J-3 continued as the go-to trainer as general aviation grew through the 1950s. Over time, the Cub developed a huge following that continues today, with values climbing for these rag-and-tube classics.

The J-3 is fun to fly. My flying club had one in its fleet several years ago, and I managed to wrangle stick time on a couple of occasions. The Cub’s leisurely cruising speed of about 60 to 70 ktas added to the gentle impression it made in the air. The aircraft was less accommodating on the ground, where it tended to wallow on bungee-damped wheel struts. Still, it was fairly easy to handle and treated me well. 

This 1947 Piper J-3 has 2,000 hours on the airframe and 180 hours on its Continental C-85 engine. The aircraft received new Stitts system covering in 2009.

Pilots interested in returning to what many consider the beginning of mass-market general aviation should consider this 1947 Piper J-3C Cub, which is available for $39,000 on AircraftForSale.

Use our Aircraft Finance Calculator to determine what your monthly payment would be on this beautiful aircraft. Or, call and speak to one of our aviation finance specialists to find out your rate today!

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Jonathan Welsh is a private pilot who worked as a reporter, editor and columnist with the Wall Street Journal for 21 years, mostly covering the auto industry. His passion for aviation began in childhood with balsa-wood gliders his aunt would buy for him at the corner store. Follow Jonathan on Twitter @JonathanWelsh4

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