Considered by many to be the ultimate Cub, the Cub Special was effectively an intermediate stage between the famous J-3 and the equally famous PA-18 Super Cub. Featuring greater horsepower than the J-3, the Cub Special was known for its high performance, without sacrificing the light-weight simplicity of the J-3 airframe. Principle changes from the J-3 were an enclosed cowling over the more powerful engine, with the engine thrust angle canted downwards 4 degrees; the fuel tank was increased in capacity to 17 gallons and relocated to the port wing; the wing struts were redesigned; the windscreen was also re-designed, to be more aerodynamic; the seats were re-designed, with square backs that provided more support; and the cross bracing between the instrument panel and the firewall removed the tubes from the instrument panel to between the rudder pedals which give a little more foot room in the front. The PA-11 is also flown most often from the front seat, unlike the J-3, although it can in fact be soloed from either seat.
The PA-11 was first flown in 1945, and a total of 1323 were built before the PA-18 Super Cub took over.
Wagner Twin Cub
In 1952, Mr. Harold Wagner, of the Wagner Aircraft Co., at Troh's Skyport, Portland, Oregon, wanted to develop a simple aircraft that would give the performance of a twin-engined aircraft at low cost. Among his experiments was the Wagner Twin Cub, which effectively was two PA-11 Cub Special's joined together. The resulting aircraft was so unconventional that Mr. Wagner called it "The Thing". It flew well, however, for a couple of years, despite the unsynchronized engines and overlapping prop arcs, although wing loading allowed only one of the two fuselages to carry any people or payload. Not finding any commercial success, the aircraft was eventually reverted back to two separate Pa-11s.