• Flight Replicas Piper J-3 Cub

    Piper J-3 Cub by Flight Replicas

    By Bill Stack (19 March 2009)

    The Need

    The default aircraft in FSX provide a fair representation of the types of aircraft that noncombat home flight simmers would enjoy flying, but numerous popular aircraft are omitted, and the stock aircraft are not all they could be

    Wheels Floats Skis

    Flight Replicas' Piper J-3 Cub

    The Solution

    Flight Replicas has released its version of the Piper J-3 Cub for those flight simmers who want more from their historic aircraft.

    The J-3 is a small, simple, light aircraft that was built between 1937 and 1947, explains Flight Replicas. With tandem seating, it was originally intended simply for flight training, but went on to become one of the most popular and best-known light aircraft of all time. The Cub's simplicity, affordability and popularity has enabled it to retain a strong presence in General Aviation right up to the present day, around the world. So popular is the aircraft that some companies continue to produce close imitations of the aircraft in kit form.

    "Of special note is the 'Flitfire' variant in this package, the name being a derivative of the famous 'Spitfire' aircraft," Flight Replicas says. "Some 49 aircraft were assembled in the U.S. in 1941 and painted in British Royal Air Force roundels, and subsequently raffled off in order to raise money for the RAF Benevolent Fund in aid of injured Britsh military flyers (these were not actual RAF aircraft). The fund-raiser was a great success. They came with a range of engines, and in this package you will find both Continental and Franklin powered versions."

    "This FSX package will enable you to enjoy your flying in any season, in any environment, demonstrating the flexibility of the design and illustrating even more of the many reasons the J-3 is still such a popular aircraft today," Flight Replicas says. "We hope you enjoy flying this faithful rendition of history."

    R.A.F. Pilot Cockpit

    Flight Replicas' Piper J-3 Cub

    Major Features

    Four models are offered: A standard version on wheels, a standard version on Edo 1320 floats, a standard version on skis, and a 1941 Franklin-engined "Flitfire." Seven paint schemes are offered. Each version has a fully clickable and workable cockpit, an animated pilot, hand-held radio, GPS, and transponder navigation and communication 2D panels.

    Checklists and reference sheets for the kneeboard are included.

    A 13-page manual explains how to use the aircraft.

    Flight Replicas


    Comparison of Piper J-3 Cubs

    Flight Replicas


    Comparison of Piper J-3 Cubs

    Nice Features

    The aircraft is very easy to install. All seven versions appear in the aircraft-selection menu.

    The right door and the left and right windows can be opened, and they can be seen opening and closing from interior and exterior views. The outside views from the cockpit are cleaner when the windows are open.

    The pilot can be removed from the aircraft by clicking on the window frame. This is useful to keep him from sitting inside the aircraft when parked.

    A printable checklist in Adobe Acrobat format is included in addition to the kneeboard checklist.

    The 13-page manual uses text and annotated screen shots to explain how to use the Flight Replicas Piper J-3 Cub.

    A paint kit is included for those who want to customize their aircraft.

    Flight Replicas


    Comparison of Piper J-3 Cub Panels

    Flight Replicas


    Comparison of Piper J-3 Cockpits


    I found only a few issues with the Flight Replicas rendition of the Piper J-3 Cub.

    The instrument panel isn't as attractive as the FSX panel. It appears flat, whereas the FSX panel shows contours and shadows.

    Exterior colors on the yellow and gray aircraft look dull and flat compared to the FSX model. They lack the shading and reflections that show contours and make them look realistic.

    Flight Replicas


    Comparison of Piper J-3 Window Views


    At first, I wondered why a developer would make a model that's already offered in FSX. Flight Replicas' four models and seven color schemes of the Piper J-3 Cub are an improvement over the FSX version. The manual is clear and concise, and its annotated color photos are very helpful. The opening windows and doors are a nice touch. The flat appearance of inside and outside surfaces is a disappointment, however.

    I would recommend this product to any flight simmer who wants to go beyond the default aircraft and fly models that have more to offer and reflect historic uses of the real aircraft.

    Left View

    Front View

    Right View

    Flight Replicas' J-3 Cub Manual


    • All comparison screen shots were made by me in the following manner: I held the aircraft in position by pausing the simulator, then I printed the screen. Then I switched to the other aircraft (FSX or Flight Replicas) and printed the same screen. Then I cropped the images so they would all be 1024 x 768 pixels with close attention to the images' edges. No other alterations were made to the images.

    • Images from the manual were provided by Flight Replicas.

    Bill Stack

    Learn More About Flight Replicas' Piper J-3 Cub

    Bill Stack is author of several books about flight simulation, a regular author in flight-sim magazines, and a contributor to Flight Sim Com. His website is www.topskills.com

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