American Legend Aircraft Company is a top-tier provider of restoration services for tube-and-fabric aircraft. The company's team of specialists has from 20 to 35 years of individual experience in aircraft maintenance and restoration. Our expertise at repair and restoration of tube-and-fabric airplanes is second to none. We would like to put this experience to work for you.
For more than 75 years, vintage and classic airplanes such as the Piper Super Cub, Aeronca Champ and a host of others have remained at the heart of recreational flying. Still today it's hard to match the one-of-a-kind experience of flying these great aircraft. After undergoing restoration by American Legend Aircraft Company, your vintage or classic aircraft will perform like new for years to come.
American Legend Aircraft Company provides complete rebuild services ranging from STC modifications, to structural repairs, to interior and exterior finishes. An array of available options will satisfy the most discriminating pilots and owners.
We rebuild QUALITY aircraft at a reasonable price. You can trust American Legend Aircraft Company, because we care about the work we do. We will ensure that you receive the airplane you've dreamed of. For rebuild, repair, recover, paint or avionics quote, click here.
2011 Best Restored Classic at Sun 'n Fun Fly-in
This 1947 J3C-65 (1506N) was originally manufactured in Ponca City, Oklahoma. It is owned by Terry Robertson, president of Florida Jet Center, an aircraft maintenance facility specializing in Learjets. The award-winning Cub will be based in North Carolina. It is powered by a Continental C90—a precursor to the O-200 four-stroke engine used on today's Legend Cub—overhauled by Don’s Dream Machines.
This well-worn aircraft arrived at American Legend in October 2010. What followed was an extensive and authentic restoration involving every component. Robertson owns numerous Cubs and has had several restorations carried out over the years. Speaking about this restoration, he said, "I chose American Legend because they do the highest quality, professional Cub restorations currently available.” The restoration is complete with a vintage-looking wood propeller.
2010 Grand Champion at Sentimental Journey Fly-in
Newly restored 1947 Piper Cub, model J3C-65, November 2008.
Individually and jointly, co-owners of this 1947 Piper Cub, Ed Katzen and Tim Dahlen, own 11 aircraft including five biplanes, an amphibian, a helicopter, an aerobatic plane, two antique aircraft projects, and their award winning J3 restored by American Legend Aircraft Company. They have formed Vintage Aero Collection and hope someday to have all their planes on display in one location.
In 2007, Ed and Tim had the opportunity to purchase the lifelong collection of aviation related items of a 94-year-old gentleman living on Long Island, New York (according to Ed, that in itself is another story). Among the many antique engines and disassembled aircraft stored in his garage and barn was a J3 Cub, NC1542N.
The plane had last flown in 1968. FAA records show that there were 17 owners in 21 years. NC1542N served primarily as a trainer and club aircraft. It led a hard life and no doubt it was badly in need of a rebuild in 1968. "When it was stored, all openings were sealed with screening to keep out mice and a bag of charcoal occupied rear seat, who knows why," commented Ed. He added, "interestingly, the old cotton fabric still punched in the green."
Neither Ed or Tim had previously owned a Cub, and since they had neither the time nor talent to restore one, it was sent to American Legend for a complete rebuild.
In December 2008, Ed and Tim arrived in Sulphur Springs, Texas, to retrieve their newly restored Cub. According to Ed, "Probably the one single thing that blew them away was the high gloss black finish on the floorboards, they look like a baby grand piano. Now, whoever gets into the plane has to first put on surgical booties over their shoes."
After thanking all the Legend workers who did such a fabulous job, they left Sulphur Springs on a 1,200-mile journey to Palm Beach, Forida, where Ed has a home. Ed commented it was "a perfect first flight taking 17 hours, over 2 days. In May 2008, Ed flew another 1,200-mile trip from Florida to Long Island where the plane is now based.
For more photos of the 2010 Sentimental Journey Grand Champion, click here.
Photos taken before restoration:
This original 1946 Piper Cub, model J3C-65, aircraft was received in storm damaged condition. It arrived disassembled from Joe Dobransky of Allen, Texas. Upon inspection, it was noted that although many parts were reusable, most were in deteriorated and non-airworthy condition. Modifications and repairs included the following.
A crack was identified in one original wood wing spar. As a result, new Dakota Cub aluminum wings were installed at a cost of around $7K each. These come pre-assembled, requiring only cover and installation. A new tail, both structure and cover, and new tail brace wires were installed. New Univair doors and windows including cover were added upon finding the originals had many deformations, cracks, breaks, and were modified with additional holes.
The original 65-horsepower Continental engine was removed, then sent for overhaul by DivCo of Tulsa, Oklahoma. New cases and new Superior Millennium cylinders were fitted and installed. The original 65-horsepower was preserved to maintain the integrity of this vintage aircraft. A new Sensenich wood propeller was installed.
The Cub's brakes were inspected and found to be in usable condition. These were cleaned, overhauled, and reinstalled. An new interior and all new Plexiglass windows were installed.
The aircraft was re-covered with Ceconite polyester fabric, inside and out, and given a new coat of polyurethane paint.
Instruments were sent to Rudy Aircraft Instruments in Rudy, Arkansas, where they were restored to original condition with newly silk-screened faces and glass. A new instrument panel blank was supplied by Clyde Smith Jr.
The restored, completed Piper Cub weighs approximately 100 lbs. less than a modern Legend Cub—a testament to the frugality of Piper's designers, and also to the simplicity of feature offerings. For example, sealed wing struts replaced rusted originals in this aircraft. Also replaced were other undocumented modifications such as a metal baggage compartment cover. The new cover is back to its original plywood configuration.
At AirVenture 2008, Joe Dobransky was awarded 2008 Grand Champion Gold Lindy in the Classic Aircraft (September 1945 thru 1955) category for the work performed by American Legend Aircraft Company on this aircraft.
For more photos of the 2008 Grand Champion Gold Lindy, click here.
Identity Crisis Solved
This aircraft arrived as a clipped wing J-3 Cub, although an investigation determined that it was originally manufactured in 1944 as an L-4 liaison aircraft. Post-war 1945, Piper converted many L-4 models produced for military use to J-3 models intended for sale in a civilian capacity. The most notable modification was the D-shaped window of the J-3. The restoration to this aircraft required cutting the frame of the larger L-4 window and welding in new structure for the D-shaped frame. This frame was made from scratch and built to original Piper drawing specifications. A jig was built to maintain dimensional accuracy during welding. Additional structural repairs included the creation of a V-channel, or hat section, that forms the backbone of the airframe.
One variation to the L-4 pertained to the way Piper designed the installation of windows. A series of nuts and bolts, inside and out, made this process tedious. The solution was to install nutplates in place of the nuts, thus making this a single person task. Another contemporary modification included the installation of an electric starter via STC. Becker radios and transponder were installed in the instrument panel. Bose headset jacks were also installed for front and rear seats, an available option on the Legend Cub.
As this aircraft had arrived in a J-3 configuration, the rear seat was fixed and forward facing. In the L-4, the rear seat was often used by a spotter passenger. This reversible back seat was restored to its original configuration. Installing the rear-facing seat required remaking the floor panel, lengthening it to accommodate the rear-facing passenger. The owner of this newly restored L-4 resides in Wisconsin where he enjoys flying this aircraft with his wife along with their recently purchased Legend Cub.
American Legend Aircraft Company performed a complete restoration on this important aircraft, returning it to its historic roots as a World War II liaison/spotter plane.
Yellow Bird Gets An Upgrade
Are You Ready To Restore?
Searching for the right aircraft to restore and enjoy? Be sure to read the article "Basket-Case Basics," printed in the January 2006 edition of Sport Aviation. Author Jeff Simon examines the how-tos and buyer bewares of locating and purchasing the aircraft that's right for you. Here are some recommendations:
If you are unable or unwilling to do much of the work yourself, be sure to contact American Legend Aircraft Company Restoration Services for assistance with your project.
What Constitutes A Restoration?
American Legend Aircraft Company has been doing aircraft builds and restorations for over five years, on some 200 aircraft, actually much longer when you consider the experience of our personnel. We often get requests for recovering and refurbishing of various components. We always tell our customers that no matter what part of the job is involved, at American Legend our work is always grand champion quality. From the paint to the smallest button, we do things one way and that means award-winning quality at every step even if you don't restore the complete plane.
Visit EAA's Oshkosh365 Forum to learn more about the rules and regulations regarding restorations as opposed to building and certifyng experimental aircraft.
"This is the best of all worlds. Beauty, reliability, power, and safety."
Sean "Flopper" Cushing,
Legend Cub Owner
"I really love flying the airplane for the pure joy of it. It takes you back to how flying originally was."
Student of Waco Flying Service
"I have seen much better directional control with my students’ takeoffs and landings after spending time in the Cub. They tend to be much more subtle on the controls after flying the Cub as well."
Waco Flying Service Instructor
"As a CFI I have also issued a couple dozen Tailwheel Endorsements and Flight Reviews in ‘Big Al’"
CFI and American Legend Cub Owner
"Darin and Kurt - You build great aircraft."
Mark A. Parsons,
New Pilot & Legend Cub Owner
"I love flying flying my Legend Cub, especially when it comes to buzzing my friends. I recently made a pizza drop and two donut drops to a farmer friend in his cane field. I have also spotted cows for a relative after the hurricane—even took some storm photos for the local Abbeville Meridional newspaper. Just cant say enough good things about being an American Legend customer."
Legend Cub Owner
"This was truly the experience of a lifetime. My feet still haven't touched the ground."
First Texas Sport KwikBuild Customer