May 25, 2012
“No runways required”
Props for being the first CubCrafters dealer outside the United States goes to Stephen Buckle, owner and operator of Cub Aircraft Australia, in Victoria. He took delivery of his first CubCrafters demo in September of 2010.
In a minor-key version of the old “I liked the product so much I bought the company” story, Stephen couldn’t find anyone in Australia to sell him a Carbon Cub, so he contacted CubCrafters General Manager Randy Lervold about the possibility of becoming a dealer. A subsequent visit to the factory in Yakima sealed the deal.
Stephen’s love affair with flight (particularly powerful and lightweight aircraft) began twenty-five years ago, with the purchase of a Drifter ultralight. Hang gliders were invented in Australia, and weight shift trikes soon followed. Stephen joined the movement with a Pegasus trike, in which he logged more than one thousand hours, mostly in the skies around Victoria, in Southern Australia.
Fatherhood compelled Stephen to stay grounded for about ten years, but that eventually ended with the purchase of a Eastern European-produced Foxbat. He was able to put over 200 hours on the aircraft, but then experienced an injury-free but airplane-destroying crash. Next up in the roster was an Evektor Sport Star. Although a good aircraft, the low-wing, bubble cockpit spelled an often unbearably hot cockpit during summer flights. This led to the consideration of a high wing design, preferably with lots of power. (Buckle is a self-described “big motor sort of bloke,” as evidenced by personal projects as putting a 350ci Chevy V-8 in an old Range Rover.) A close friend suggested consideration of the Carbon Cub (which most certainly qualifies a big motor LSA) and the link was made.
Buckle found the addition of mud flaps valuable in keeping his Carbon Cub clean when landing in cattle fields.
Cub Aircraft Australia is hanger neighbors with Olde Aeroplane, a company that specializes in replicas of old warbirds..
The timing was perfect, as Stephen had just retired from his previous occupation. Always a self-employed entrepreneur, his background includes development and construction, which included assisted care communities and, most recently, development of large scale wind farms near Victoria. He then sold his company to energy giant Origin Energy. A condition of the purchase prevents Stephen from working in the energy field for five years.
As the only nation that’s also a continent, Australia is a pilot’s paradise. Stephen has now built up over 200 hours in a Carbon Cub exploring all sorts of terrain. In his words, “I love the challenges of landing on beaches – big ones, small ones, sloppy ones and even in farm paddocks.” For the later, he configured mud flaps to “keep (insert colorful Australian euphemism for cow manure) off the plane.”