1946 Piper J3C-65 Cub – NC3403K
The classic Piper Cub, the J3C-65 in our collection, evolved from the Taylor E-2 of 1930, a bare-bones design with open tandem seating accessed through a long, bottom-hinged door on the right side of the fuselage. Initially, it was to be powered by a 20-hp Brownback “Tiger Kitten” two-cylinder engine. The Kitten didn’t fly – literally – but it did inspire the “Cub” nickname. Production E-2s rolled off the line in 1931 with the newly introduced Continental A-40.
The “classic” Cub, the J-3, arrived in 1937, just in time to become the trainer of choice for the new, college-based Civilian Pilot Training Program and give tens of thousands of men and women their first taste of flying. Dressed in olive drab and designated the L-4, the Cub was the only light plane to serve overseas in the liaison role during World War Two.
Its success continued post-war; so great was demand in 1946 that Piper set up an additional production line in Ponca City, Oklahoma. The museum’s J-3 was one of 1,190 examples built there, out of a total of 6,320 Cubs delivered in that boom year.
NC3403K passed through a number of owners. At one point, it was re-licensed as a crop sprayer, its standard A-65 Continental upgraded to 85hp. It finally wound up, in its present owner’s words, as “a pile of junk on the hangar floor” in Chattanooga, OK. It was a pile of complete, well-preserved junk, though, which convinced John Konneker to buy it in 1993. Though he had owned other airplanes, John said, “I always wanted a J-3.”
John found a mentor in EAA’s Norm Petersen, a fellow Cub owner who put him in touch with Stearman specialist Chuck Andreas in Wisconsin. Andreas produced a very authentic restoration, right down to the period tires and cream-colored gauges. John then made the decision to loan the aircraft to the EAA museum for display.
“The first time I saw it complete was in the museum in 1998,” John said. “It was just thrilling to see other people enjoy it.” Sometime in the future, John hopes his young daughters can get their licenses in the Cub once it’s back home.
Aircraft on loan from John Konneker
This aircraft researched by EAA volunteer Patrick Christine