Aircraft Restoration Services

Restoration Services

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 general aviation. 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.

  • Supplemental Type Certificates (STC), such as the 2,000-lb gross weight modification, are available to enhance performance and offer better-than-factory-original standards
  • Attention to detail in our work shows
  • Safety is always a top priority
  • We are an EAA award-winning Cub restoration provider
  • We can assist with experimental aircraft restorations
  • We can provide ready-to-install avionics packages
  • We know them all, including Piper J3, PA-11, PA12, PA-18, L-Birds, T-Craft, Champs, and more
  • We can restore your unusable aircraft to proper flying condition by building the necessary parts, or we can update your aged aircraft to like-new condition
  • We also build kit and certified new aircraft, so our breadth of knowledge, access to parts and materials, and manufacturing capability is unmatched in the industry.

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 your rebuild, repair, recover, paint, or avionics quote, click here.

Legend Restoration

2017 Reserve Grand Champion Silver Lindy at AirVenture Oshkosh

American Legend Aircraft Company worked with Mark Wyant of Dallas, Texas, on a monthslong refurbishing effort bringing this Piper Tri-Pacer (N8664D) to better-than-showroom-new condition. The aircraft won a Reserve Grand Champion Silver Lindy award at AirVenture 2017. 

The Tri-Pacer was the first airplane Mark flew with his dad, and this connection with his father drove a desire to fully restore the aircraft without reservations. The aircraft is authentic in every detail and was delivered back to the customer in like-new flying condition.

Wyant had a 22-year flying career with American Airlines and American Eagle. Today he flies a Cessna Citation Mustang for business, which is developing boutique hotels. In much the same way as his hotel projects, Mark insisted on 5-star luxury all the way for the Tri-Pacer restoration.

Legend Cub - Tri-Pacer Restoration Silver Lindy
This 1958 Piper Tri-Pacer restoration was 5-star luxury all the way.

Legend Cub - Tri-Pacer Restoration Silver Lindy
Darin Hart with Mark Wyant and crew with the award-winning Piper Tri-Pacer.

Legend Cub - Tri-Pacer 
Restoration Silver Lindy
A beautifully restored Piper Tri-Pacer flanked by Mark Wyant, Billy Collum, and the EAA Silver Lindy award.

American Legend Restoration

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.

American Legend Restoration
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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 nor 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 us 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 workers at American Legend, "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.

Photos taken before restoration:


2008 Grand Champion Gold Lindy Award Winner

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 with 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 Cub Doctor 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 Oshkosh 2008, Joe Dobransky was awarded a 2008 Grand Champion Gold Lindy in the Classic Aircraft (September 1945 thru 1955) category for the work performed by American Legend Aircraft Company on his aircraft.

Identity Crisis Solved

This aircraft arrived at American Legend Aircraft Company as a clipped wing J3 Cub. However, 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 J3 models intended for sale in a civilian capacity. The most notable modification was the D-shaped window of the J3. The restoration to this aircraft required cutting the frame for the larger L-4 window and welding in new structure from 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 J3 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

Super Cub Before

And After Restoration...

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 magazine. 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:

  • Make a plan by getting an accurate analysis of the scope, timeline, and cost of the project.
  • Set a benchmark by figuring out exactly what it would cost you to buy one that's already in great shape.
  • Review the logbooks and conduct a thorough pre-purchase inspection.
  • Be prepared for challenging and enjoyable experience.

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 since 2005, on over 300 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 perfect paint job 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 airplane.

American Legend Aircraft Company manufactures the Legend Cub 
and Super Legend. FAA-approved aircraft for adventure, sport, 
recreation, and training. Powered by Continental, Lycoming and 
Titan engines. Kit-built or ready-to-fly light-sport aircraft.
Kitplanes magazine May 213
A Way Better Cub.
- Kitplanes, May 2013

This is the best of all worlds. Beauty, reliability, power, and safety.
- Sean Cushing, Owner

AOPA Pilot - Super Legend HP Titan
Titanic Performer.
- AOPA Pilot, Jun 2017

I really love flying the airplane for the pure joy of it. It takes you back to how flying originally was.
- Alec Birchfield, Student Pilot

Flyer UK
The revived, revised, remarkable Legend Cub.
- Flyer UK, Sep 2005

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.
- Robert Baker, CFI

Sporty's Pilot Shop
Sporty's Sweepstakes Legend Cub and everything you need for your next flight.
- Sporty's Catalog, 2012 to 2017

I have issued a couple dozen Tailwheel Endorsements and Flight Reviews in [my Legend Cub] "Big Al."
- Garry Wing, CFI

Forbes Life
The Return of a Legend.
- ForbesLife, Oct 2006

Darin and Kurt - You build great aircraft.
- Mark Parsons, Owner

Australian Pilot - The Legend Cub
The Legend Cub, a New Take on a Classic.
- Australian Pilot, Dec-Jan 2016

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 can't say enough good things about being an American Legend customer.
- Danny Broussard, Owner

Light Aviation - The Legend Cub
Legend Cub, Retro delight.
- Light Aviation UK, Jul 2012

This was truly the experience of a lifetime. My feet still haven't touched the ground.
- Bob Declerck, Builder

Water Flying
Finally an amphibious LSA Cub.
- Water Flying, Aug 2010

Fantastic! Runs wonderfully, performs amazingly. Planning on some back country work.
- Rand Siegfried, Builder

Aviation Consumer - The Legend Cub
Like the Super Cub but newer.
- Aviation Consumer, Oct 2012
American Legend Aircraft

The Legend Cub is a two-place, LSA certified aircraft designed for airfields of any size and surface. The Legend Cub takes you to more places than ever before.
Learn more about American Legend Aircraft Company.

Contact Us

American Legend Aircraft Company
1810 Piper Lane
Sulphur Springs, TX 75482 (map it)
Airport Identifier: KSLR

Tel: 903-885-7000
Fax: 903-538-9933
Email American Legend Aircraft Company
"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."
- Alec Birchfield, Student of Waco Flying Service
Copyright © American Legend Aircraft Company. All Rights Reserved.
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