+VIDEO A nosewheel Cub? Sounds like sacrilege to take a wonderful, classic, revered tailwheel aircraft such as a Cub and alter the landing gear to the modern standard. But that’s exactly what CubCrafters has done.
The US Cub replica building company hasn’t taken this step lightly. It spent a year consulting with the aviation public but now CubCrafters has decided to certify and offer a nosewheel option for its flagship Part 23 certified aircraft, the CC-19 XCub.
“Putting a nosewheel on a modern Cub type aircraft certainly surprised some people, but the overwhelming public response has been positive, said CubCrafters’ Brad Damm.
“A nosewheel equipped XCub is a very easy airplane to fly that takes off shorter, lands shorter and cruises faster than the tailwheel version. Once a pilot is in the airplane and experiences it, the advantages are obvious.”
Patrick Horgan, president of CubCrafters, said, “We went into this process not entirely sure if the market wanted to accept a nosewheel-type personal adventure Cub. There is no question now; we’ve had people wanting to place deposits for this aircraft from day one. Our customers have made it very clear that they want us to build this airplane.”
“The company also said that hundreds of hours of real-world use by a variety of pilots of varying skill levels during the market survey led to many design improvements that wouldn’t otherwise have been possible in an internal-only development setting.
“The added capabilities and value offered by the new nosewheel option are game-changing,” continued Horgan.
“The XCub is easily convertible between nosewheel and tailwheel, so you really get two airplanes in one. A fast, modern, easy-to-fly, tricycle gear aircraft and a traditional big-tire tailwheel Cub together.
“Both are very capable STOL aircraft designed for the backcountry missions that CubCrafters’ airplanes have always excelled at.”
The CubCrafters NXCub will have a robust trailing-link nosewheel assembly and large tundra tyres as an option for the mains It will be capable of handling primitive landing strips and most off-airport type operations.
Landing loads on the nosewheel are transmitted to the airframe by a heavy duty truss and the entire nosewheel assembly itself is a bolt-on option that can be removed should the owner want to convert the airplane to tailwheel configuration.
The XCub program has achieved a number of significant milestones in its short history. After initial FAA certification in June of 2016, the XCub was the first United States General Aviation aircraft to achieve non-TSO’d avionics approval for the Garmin G3X system in 2017. In 2019, CubCrafters collaborated with Lycoming and Hartzell to offer the new light weight CC393i fuel injected 215 horsepower engine and a new high performance PathFinder 3-bladed composite propeller, for the XCub.
The new tricycle gear option is available now on experimental XCubs through the company’s Builder Assist program, and CubCrafters expects to achieve FAA Part 23 certification in early 2021.