Piper Cub pilots and their passengers in Hartford, Wis., were up before dawn July 22, getting an updated briefing before 75 vintage Piper J-3s began launching just after sunrise—heading for EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh and continuing their celebration of the iconic airplane’s seventy-fifth anniversary.
The commemoration, Cubs 2 Oshkosh, was organized by Rick Rademacher, a passionate Cub owner and pilot from Urbana, Ohio, and Steve Krog of the Hartford-based Cub Club. Dana Osmanski of the Cub Club headed up the logistics; she enlisted vendors and 85 volunteers to help with transportation and meals.
Weather kept many of the more than 130 registered Cubs from reaching Hartford (Wis.) Municipal Airport in time for the event, although there were 85 Piper J-3s registered at the time of Saturday’s evening banquet, and a number of J-5s and other Cub iterations put the number of vintage Pipers at more than 100.
Cubs 2 Oshkosh certainly seemed to accomplish Rademacher’s objective of connecting pilots in the Cub community, inspiring cross-country group adventures, celebrating the iconic flying machine—and helping to get children interested in aviation and the airport. “At one point in time in the ’40s, ’50s, and ’60s, every kid knew a Piper Cub,” Rademacher said, “Nowadays, kids have no clue.”
One noteworthy exception is the Eighty-Eight Charlies. Participants in the nonprofit organisation’s efforts to promote aviation by giving students the opportunity to restore real airplanes rose early each day to prepare breakfast in Hartford for pilots and their guests. The group takes its name from the identifier for their home field, Palmyra County Airport, which is 88C. The first aircraft restored by the young people, primarily ages 12 through 18, was a Piper Cub.