Friday 3 June 2011

Piper Cub ZK-AIR

Sir Minty captured this warbird at North Shore Airfield on 16-10-2010.
It was originally shown in the following blog:-

I have modified this slightly a follows:-
This Piper Cub with the manufacturers construction number (c/n) of 9024 was built for the US Military as a Piper L-4A-P1 and allocated the serial 42-38455 with the USAAF - I have the date as 30-06-1942. It was struck off charge on 01-06-1946 and entered the US civil aircraft register as NC62052 with Stanley Sabihon at Wahiawa in Hawaii. It became N62052 in about 1971 with C C Jones of Honolulu followed by R L Smith in 1974. T L Hauptman took it over from 07-05-1976. It appears to have been withdrawn from use in June of 1981. It reappeared with Hawaiian Historical Aviation on 24-01-1994. Its final listed owner being J F O'Toole of Honolulu from March of 1994.
It was cancelled from the US register on 23-03-1994 to allow its entry onto the NZ register as a Piper J3C-65 ZK-AIR on 26-03-1994 to Stan & Gilly Smith/Tech-Air (NZ) Ltd of Albany.
I recently had contact with Harry Noyes who sent the following:-

"Today, on a whim I hunted down an old friend on Google and found her on your blog,

Of all the planes I ever flew, my favorite was J-3 N62052 (and the only one whose tail number I can still remember without looking at my logbook ). I am so delighted to see that she is still alive and dressed in her youthful warpaint. If only I had aged as well. She was yellow when I knew her, of course, while attending graduate school at the University of Hawaii. She was a toy basically, with absolutely no practice utility in Hawaii (I tried to get over the mountains to the North Shore one day and the plane's rate of climb wouldn't overcome the downflow from a north wind over the peaks), but God what fun! We were allowed to make touch-and-go landings at Ford Island in Pearl Harbor and flying over that area with the windows open was always a thrill. Once I saw a carrier entering harbor below me, another time a nuclear sub. Once, while I was still learning to fly taildraggers, she started running rough when we leveled off after take-off. We turned back to Honolulu International and I landed with a slight bump (you don't land very hard at 25 mph unless you do it upside down, and with Hawaii's winds I sometimes landed at about 5-10 mph ground speed) and the engine stopped. That also killed our plug-in walkie-talkie radio, of course, so we couldn't explain anything to the tower. I have always imagined that the controllers must have rolled on the floor laughing as they watched my instructor and me jump out and start pushing that teeny yellow plane off the runway onto a cross-taxiway. Thank God, it started back up when we propped it or we would have had to push it about a mile to the ramp. Anyway, I figured out that the problem was the crude gas-gauge and fuel-tank drain arrangements. The gauge consisted (from the photo, it looks as though it still does) of a wire with a cork on the end that floated on the fuel with the wire sticking through a hole in the gas cap. This let water run into the fuel when it rained, which it usually does several times a day in Hawaii. Of course, we always drain the gas tank before flying to check for water. But apparently in the Cub, someone made a bad decision to put the drain in the middle of the tank bottom instead of the rear end of the bottom. Thus when the plane's nose was pointed up (almost all the time, of course, with a Cub), water could settle in the undrained corner behind the drain pipe. After that, we always lifted the tail into the air when draining the gas tank. I think I owe some of the most precious things in my life to Piper 62052. I was chasing a girl who didn't like me much, but didn't totally reject me because she wanted a ride in that airplane. By the time she got it, she had agreed to marry me. True, she fired me from my husband job 20 years later, but meanwhile we had had two incredible kids. My daughter just got married and my son is a foreign service officer, now studying Russian before going to the U.S. consulate in St. Petersburg. If it weren't for 62052, they might not be here. On such things do the fates of men hang sometimes. Thank you for posting her photo, and if you can, please advise the owners how grateful I am that they have preserved my old friend from 40 years ago.

Harry Noyes
San Antonio, Texas "


  1. What a great story! Cheers

  2. Yeh Anon. Its not a bad story.

    Harry is currently having a rat around, looking for a period photo of N62052.

  3. Neat story...people connected with these aircraft are usually more interesting :-)

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  5. Hi Harry et al

    Great story, thanks for sharing. As somebody who flys this aeroplane today it's great to hear about some of her history.

    I recently had the pleasure of flying her from North Shore Aerodrome (her home now) to the Classic Fighters airshow in Omaka, NZ, where she displayed as part of a WWII re-enactment - delivering General Patton to review the troops!.
    You know she ain't that fast, cruising at 65kts, it was a 6.5hr trip down and an 8hr trip back. But apart from, at times, a numb backside, I enjoyed every relaxing, cruisey minute of our journey.

    If you drop me a note I'm happy to email some shots of the trip.