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Page 38
A History of Austin's Newest General Aviation Airport
W. H
Chapter 2
drafts to help slow his descent and thus pro-
long the fun. Powerless, he'd meander around
the skies for another thirty minutes before
touching down and in doing so got an hour of
flight time for all of $3. Intentional powerless
flight, I might add, was not recommended in
the J-3 flight manual.
One of the things he remembered about the
airport and the J-3 Cub in particular was how
quickly he mastered his landings. He had to
because the brakes on this Cub didn't work.
If you landed too far down the runway, you'd
run off the end.
The Piper J-3 Cub was built in the 1940's, a
small simple aircraft with tandem fore and aft
seating intended for flight training, and one
of the most beloved light aircraft of all time.
It was a taildragger, which meant the Cub's
landing gear consisted of two main wheels up
front and a tiny wheel to support the tail. Tail-
draggers are their own breed of plane--dif-
ficult to handle while taxiing, they require a
deft bit of right rudder pressure to keep the
airplane moving straight down the runway
just prior to takeoff. Airborne, the Cub is a
fast climber; level off and the airplane cruises
like an eagle. Those early days of flying were
meant to be fun, and Tim recalls a game in
which pilots climbed to three thousand feet
or thereabouts and opened the window and
tossed out a roll of toilet paper. As the toilet
paper unraveled, pilots counted how many
times they could fly the plane through the tis-
sue streamer before it hit the ground. Those
days are gone forever.
1983. Clyde Barker reaching through the window of his Piper J-3 Cub to unlatch the open the door.
Photo taken by Pat Barker, courtesy of Clyde Barker.