There are only two questions since this fundraising campaign began that I have not answered as yet. Both came from sharing #Stand4theManinBlack through FaceBook.
I had been putting off answering them only because I thought they were excellent questions and I had hoped to make a couple more videos answering these important questions with the Man in Black himself (Master Guide Terry Overly).
Crowd-funding is tricky work, it seems. I have seen honeymoon destinations, new work spaces, new boobs and even potato salad fundraisers get more attention than this very serious struggle for survival.
FaceBook and Stand for the Man in Black
The first question is from Issac Helmericks. Issac wrote:
“I am curious why the fund raiser is for $250,00.00 to replace the Super Cub when you can buy a really nice cub for 80-90 thousand?”
The answer is more complicated than simply buying a Super Cub. So I finally cornered the one who knows and this is what Master Guide Terry Overly (The Man in Black) shared with me:
“Well, yes, you can buy a ready-to-fly Super Cub for $80-90,000.00. However a stock Super Cub is probably what those 80-90K Cubs will be.
Equipped with a 150-horse power engine, which is the factory stock power for the Super Cub. Rounded wing tips, factory flaps and ailerons. No wing modifications of any kind. Stock landing gear, factory tail wheel system and probably at best an 82×44 pitch prop.
Chances are good that this 80-90K Super Cub has had some airframe damage within its operational life that needed to be repaired at sometime. Now this becomes a particular concern not because of the potential danger with the Cub having to have fuselage repair and welding done.
The potential danger comes from the rigging and balance of the airframe repair will 100% change the performance balance of that particular Cub.
A Super Cub is a very special, unique aircraft. It really likes to have only one master, and if you don’t know that then you are not really a Cub pilot.
Cubby. Rest in peace, my friend. Rest. (RIP September 16, 2013.)
My Cubby was more to me than just an airplane or a Super Cub. Cubby was my best friend, my partner.
I hand-propped my Cub for over 20 years. I would always prop from the door, behind the prop and right handed. My Cub would take me anywhere I wanted to go.
It was calming to my soul to hear its engine turn over when I would pull the engine through and hear the click of the mags. The prop would spring back and click. I would reach up and grab the blade of my 82×41 bore prop and pull the modified 180 horsepower Lycoming through again.
It would come to life with a powerful but smooth sound of a highly tuned engine that was dycode at 212 horsepower and built by High Performance Air Craft Engines in Menia, Arkanasas.
My Cubby was NOT a STOCK Super Cub!
My wings were modified, my flaps were modified, my ailerons were modified, the elevators and the complete tail section were modified to preform better and weigh less.
The reason for all of these modifications is for better performance at high altitudes. Our ground elevation is 3200 feet and some are at over 7000 feet. At 3200’ elevation, Chisana is the highest community in Alaska.
The air gets very thin at these altitudes on hot days. This is called density altitude. Windy days are the norm for us and it gets very windy around the glaciers and this means severe winds coming from any direction at any time.
You need high horsepower engines, big props and LOTS of hours at the stick to be safe and successful as an Alaskan Bush Pilot. And yes, just plain old lucky at times.
My strips are all gravel with fairly large rocks, willows and brush everywhere.
That’s why they call us Bush Pilots!
Not just any Super Cub can stand up to this task.
I have many landing “places”, not strips, just places that I know I can land “if the wind is right.” Then, there are times everything looks and feels good…BUT that little voice that we all have that whispers to us, says “Not Now.”
ALL Bush Pilots have heard that voice say “Not Now.”
Listen to that voice. You know when it is not right, so go around, don’t ever ignore that voice.
Everyone that has a Super Cub is not a Bush Pilot. They don’t even want to be a Bush Pilot. They like to fly their Super Cubs and land on their local airstrips and that is how it should be.
For what I do, Cubby was far superior to 90% of most true Super Cubs. Cubby was built and modified for me and the environment we live and work in.
An good friend and Outfitter from Canada trucked his own Super Cub to Anchorage to be rebuilt by three reputable Alaskan Cub mechanics. It took them over a year and a half to get his Cub back into flying condition and it cost $170,000.00.
The modifications are necessary for safety because true Bush Pilots fly by the seat of their pants and there is no room for error.
Cubby was built for me, The Man in Black, for what I do and where I do it.
Respectfully, if this is hard for you to understand, it is only because you are not an Alaskan Bush Pilot.
The loss of this aircraft, Cubby, has been devastating to my family, my business and to me personally.
Cubby gave me freedom. I could take off and just fly and be free. It felt that my life had meaning, each time we had an opportunity to help someone. I knew we had a purpose when we could challenge disaster for someone who couldn’t fight it alone.
I believe that every pilot, Bush Pilot or not, feels the same way I do. When we are in the air, we are free. We are professional pilots, sport pilots, Bush Pilots. The rush and peace of mind that flying gives is like no other.”
The next question was from Betty Higbie. Betty wrote:
“My questions are do you need a new plane? Want a new plane? Can one of the four already registered to Pioneer Outfitters be repaired? What is the status of the (4) four planes you already have?”
I was unable to find the same page that Betty Higbie did but I can decipher the list one by one.
✷ The first aircraft mentioned, WHV34, belonged 9and as stated is Registered to) to Ray McNutt of Wrangell R Ranch. Ray lived with his wife Gloria in Chisana more than half of each year in Chisana until his death in the spring of 2005. I have no idea where his airplane is now.
✷ The second aircraft mentioned is Cessna 1493M. This is Mighty Mike. It is a Cessna 206. It is sitting, waiting, and I will tell you more about Mighty Mike in a moment.
✷ The next airplane mentioned is A Piper PA-18 that is registered to Terry. This aircraft has not flown in all the years I have been here with Pioneer Outfitters (22 years) and I was mistakenly under the impression that it couldn’t fly- until I cornered Terry about answering this question.
The answer? It can be made to fly- but that is all. It is not a Bush Plane, nor can it haul freight. It may yet fly again someday. Today is not that day. Survival is the mission we are on, this aircraft is pleasure.
✷ Now, this was a curious one. The next aircraft mentioned in Betty’s question is N5774D that is (was?) a Piper PA-12 registered (as stated) to Herbert H. Hickethier. “Herbert” is Terry’s stepfather, Bud who died, drowning in the Chisana River, while bringing in horses to Chisana in 1969. Terry has no idea or clue as to where this aircraft ended up or with whom.
✷ ✷ ✷ The aircraft that is listed next is Cubby. RIP Cubby, September 16, 2013. Cubby was destroyed by fire, awaiting departure to head back to an active hunting camp.
✷ The final aircraft listed is a Piper PA-18, N-83536 belongs to Terry’s ex-wife and still very good friend, Deb Overly.
Now! I would like to thank both Betty Higbie and Issac Helmericks for their very good questions and apologize for the length of time it took for me to answer them. I can only assure you that I had hoped to give you a more personal response with video, but finally understood that it was just delaying the answer.
What I said above about Mighty Mike- Please stay in touch! Mighty Mike is the post I will be working on next for you and telling you exactly what is happening with this black Cessna 206, N-1493M.
If you too, wish to stand with us as we Stand for the Man in Black, click the button below and it will direct you to a secure area to donate towards the airplane needed for survival.