American Legend Aircraft Company Teams with STEM Program at McKinney High School to Build a Legend Cub

SULPHUR SPRINGS, TEXAS, FEBRUARY 11, 2021 – American Legend Aircraft Company announced today its participation with McKinney ISD High School students and local STEM project organizers to build a Legend Cub two-place airplane. Organizers state that the project represents the team’s first time building a Legend Cub. The project is currently underway at McKinney National Airport (KTKI), a short distance from the Dallas-area school, and 49 nm due west of Sulphur Springs Municipal Airport (KSLR), home of the Legend Cub.

The Legend Cub is a thoroughly modern recreational aircraft manufactured from tubular steel and covered in fabric. The design takes its cues from one of the world’s most recognized small airplanes, the Piper Cub. The Legend Cub is renown for incorporating contemporary features and construction methods. The first Legend Cub was manufactured in 2005.

The impetus for the Legend Cub student build project began when organizers of separate projects were discussing future options. One casually suggested, “Why not replace your Cub?” The Legend Cub is well-regarded among pilots whom often volunteer their time on similar projects. The lead volunteer/mentor at McKinney High School, Phil Campbell, had previously built two other aircraft under the program. Campbell’s friend Ernie Butcher, in the Houston area, had worked on an estimated 24 builds. Campbell was aware that Butcher enjoys flying his Legend Cub.

Butcher serves as president of Eagle’s Nest Project, a national organization providing STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education experiences in aviation. According to Campbell, “The program we have devised is not directed at luring kids into aviation. Rather, aviation is the hook to get them involved in STEM studies.” The two leaders contend it works both ways, and added that the majority of student participants do tend toward a career in aviation.

Butcher co-owns a Legend Cub that logs much of its time training new pilots; and it’s a very high-time airplane. The other owner is Bruce Bohannon, legendary racing performer also known for his many record-setting altitude and time-to-climb flights. Bohannon currently devotes much of his time training others to fly. The “replace your Cub” suggestion by Campbell mushroomed into, “This time let’s build a Cub,” by Butcher.

The Legend Cub’s reinforced tubular frame, numerous integrated components, and lightweight covering system present a hands-on approach to fabrication. Each airplane is built by teams of workers, where in a factory setting the hours add up quickly. Giving others the opportunity to build a Legend Cub, from a kit and outside a factory setting, naturally lends itself to STEM and hands-on learning. In a student environment, where classroom time stretches across weekends, semesters and summers, participants become “owners” as well as masterminds of the project.

Legend Cub Kit

Approximately 80 Legend Cubs have been completed and approved from kit form. The list includes many notable builders, even aviation celebrities. First Legend Cub kit customer was Rand Siegfried, a former Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) Director, who completed the build with his teenage daughter in 2008. Another father/mother/son team, the Takacs family built their Legend Cub kit in 2014. Both builds were done in a factory-assist program and both airplanes were flown to their West Coast homes upon completion.

McKinley Siegfried with her Legend Cub.

McKinley’s Cub, EAA Sport Pilot, March 2009

John and John Paul Takacs with their Legend Cub.

Family Affair, Kitplanes, September 2015

Others have built a Legend Cub kit in their own airport-based hangar, or in a home-based hobby room. Notable are Craig and Sandy Gainza, a husband/wife build team, and their “Pirate Cub.” Their prior building experience was an all-metal airplane, like those of earlier STEM projects. Craig noted, “It’s a Cub, but it’s really a Cub that’s been modified and improved—it’s been pirated.” Their Pirate Cub won a Bronze Lindy for craftsmanship at EAA AirVenture 2013.

The award winning “Pirate Cub” Legend Cub.

Sport Aviation Pirates, EAA Experimenter, February 2014

Danny Clisham built his Legend Cub kit in homage to airshow performer Harold Krier. Clisham, a veteran airline pilot, a.k.a. Skytalker, spent 55 years as an airshow announcer. Shortly after touring the Legend factory, accompanied by “six trusted friends and aircraft restorers,” his dream build was completed. The “Clisham Cub” was painted to resemble the late Harold Krier’s aerobatic airplanes.

Remembering Uncle Hal, EAA Vintage Airplane, May 2000

Danny Clisham flying his Legend Cub.

Danny Clisham & His Cub, EAA Sport Aviation, July 2012

A Legend Cub kit was delivered to Brazil in 2009. The design was selected for its outward appearance to, and finished to resemble, the Piper J3 Cub. Important considerations for the buyer were the kit being derived from the factory-built Legend Cub, FAA approval, and respective bilateral agreements with Brazil aviation authorities. Moreover, the kit enables the manufacture of personalized versions of a Cub with all the buyers’ desired features and options. A kit-built Legend Cub has been flying in the UK since 2012, and several are currently operating in Australia.

Brazil-based Legend Cub.

First International Texas Sport Kit CUB Assembled, Today’s Pilot, April 2010

UK-based Legend Cub.

Retro Delight, Light Aviation, July 2012

Australia-based Legend Cub.

The Cubman, AirSport, September 2015

Considerations for STEM students as well as builders outside the factory include customized tools required in the manufacture of aircraft. A Legend Cub kit eliminates the need for many specialized tools and fixtures. Each airframe is fully welded and sealed for corrosion protection, and the all-aluminum wings are fully riveted at the factory. Assembly of components, finish details, and installation of nuts, bolts, etc. during fabrication requires only common hand tools.

Kit builders of the Legend Cub are presented with an easy-to-follow, detailed and illustrated manual for each step of the aircraft’s assembly. The manual serves as both how-to guide and textbook.

American Legend Aircraft Company continues to be one of the most successful manufacturers of personal aircraft, and is renown for its exceptional product support. The Legend Cub is sensibly modern, a pleasure to fly, and built-to-last.

For further information on the Legend Cub, contact American Legend Aircraft Company at 1810 Piper Lane, Sulphur Springs, Texas 75482; call 903-885-7000, or log on to Follow us on and

– Legend Cub –

McKinney ISD High School students building a Legend Cub.

The Legend Cub – A Retrospective, Part One

It was late 2004. I was approached by Tim Elliott and Darin Hart regarding the prospective launch of a remake of the Piper Cub. Development of a prototype new aircraft had been underway for several months. The two entrepreneurs were associated as members of a local EAA chapter and area business owners. Both were experienced pilots, both in high-performance and tailwheel aircraft.

The construction of the “new Cub” was being handled by Hart, who at the time operated a custom shop principally involved in the production of interiors and components for corporate and head-of-state aircraft. A licensed A&P mechanic, Hart had previously rebuilt a 1946 Piper Cub that was earned, among other awards, Best in Class at the Oshkosh fly-in in 1991. At the time I met them, Elliot flew a family-owned 1939 Piper J3 Cub purely for recreation and a Cessna twin for business purposes. Both founders contributed their unique vision of the new company that was soon to begin.

AL3 s/n 1 Legend Cub by American Legend Aircraft Company

First flight of the Legend Cub was celebrated at Sulphur Springs Municipal Airport (KSLR), home to the nascent American Legend Aircraft Company, on March 11, 2005. With 100-plus spectators present, including employees, volunteers, airport personnel, local officials, aviation and community press, family and friends, the bright yellow remake performed exceptionally. It was flown by Danny Goggans, a commercial pilot and local legend. Upon its return, the Legend Cub descended gently towards the paved surface of runway 19 steady into a headwind, and settling down slowly as if in a natural hover.

With decisive plans in place, and an added measure of panache, the Legend Cub debuted at Sun ‘n Fun Fly-in, April 2005. The startup’s “vintage exhibition,” as it were, drew large crowds and earned the new company an eagerly welcomed backlog of new aircraft production orders.

In June of that year, American Legend Aircraft Company announced the successful first flight of its Legend FloatCub. With KSLR situated on a lake and Hart residing on another nearby lake, adding floats to the airplane seemed an automatic next move.

Anticipating the company’s return to Florida in 2006, the first Legend FloatCub was transported to and debuted at Jack Brown’s Seaplane Base—a world renown facility for pilots seeking a seaplane rating and their #1 training aircraft are vintage Piper Cubs on floats. There it made a splash, confirming the universal love for the Cub and the ubiquity of its use on both land and sea.

When Piper produced the Cub, they tested numerous engines among many available at the time, eventually concluding that Continental Motors offered long-term stability both for aviation in general and Piper itself. The durability of Continental engines has proven, even today, their lasting relevance. Moreover, the sounds they produce are beyond compare. Four gently humming cylinders speak the sound of a “small airplane” while, in much the same way, the Cub’s bright yellow paint stirs emotion for flight.

Regulatory approval of the new Legend Cub came via the FAA’s newly authorized S-LSA designation. A set of consensus standards, published by ASTM, offered American Legend a streamlined means of obtaining airworthiness approval for their production of aircraft.

The new light-sport aircraft initiative set out to do a number of things, among them, reduce barriers to entry for both planes and pilots. The concept forged its appeal early on among an aging generation of pilots. Legend’s first customer was a prime example of this new trend. The third delivery of a Legend Cub was also significant as it was the first “glass panel” Cub sporting the newly introduced Dynon EFIS-D100.

The third delivery of a Legend Cub included EFIS and IFR instrumentation.

For most sky gazers, upon first glance of a small airplane aloft, the delightful Cub comes to mind. Yellow Cubs with their complementary lightning bolt stripe and black “eyebrow” cylinder baffles are perhaps the most famous. However, when Legend decided to offer a closed cowl version of its Cub, what came to mind for the paint scheme was a Cub Special. The new closed cowl Legend Cub featured an regal blue base on its belly and aft fuselage, including the vertical fin. This aircraft was unveiled as the Legend Cub Special and it too was an immediate success.

An order book numbering more than 50 in Legend’s first year led to a repeat customer buying the first Legend Cub Special.

Dynon was the maverick new company in experimental avionics in 2006. They offered many vivid new products which pilots were eager to embrace. Their FlightDEK-D180, combination EFIS and engine monitor, became standard equipment on the high-end Legend Cub Special. Niceties of the EFIS included display of fuel flow and carburetor inlet temperature, plus up to 16 engine gauges. This signaled the beginning of many new options offered on the now hallowed Legend Cub.

MOAC, the Mother Of All Cubs, Scores Big at National STOL Competition

SULPHUR SPRINGS, TEXAS, DECEMBER 11, 2020 – American Legend Aircraft Company announced today the addition of two awards from the 2020 Central Florida Classic of the National STOL Competition Series. Challengers from American Legend placed second and fourth in the STOL event final held in Lakeland, Florida, on December 5th.

The National STOL series is an aviation event/activity—sport, one might say—that continues to grow enthusiastically. STOL competitions are where pilots compete on two primary skills related to backcountry flying, Short Take Offs and Landings. The activity dates back to the early 1980s, when Alaskan pilots were offered prizes for displaying their prowess at off-airport departures and arrivals. Similar events have become frequent at fly-ins around the lower 48 states, drawing crowds and building camaraderie among pilots at every skill level.

Pilots from American Legend performed at the Central Florida Classic, in the Experimental class, with their factory demonstrator Mother Of All Cubs, a.k.a. MOAC. The aircraft is an AL18 Legend Cub and a big brother to the Legend Cub S-LSA that first came to Florida in 2005. MOAC boasts a Titan engine beneath its closed pressure cowling. It also features leading edge slats, half-span wing flaps, and 36-inch tundra tires splayed out on a Shock Monster undercarriage from TK1 Racing. In the hands of two well-prepared pilots, MOAC showed once again to be a strong competitor.

The duo of American Legend challengers included John Wisdom who finished with a score of 284 feet and took 2nd place. John’s takeoff distance was recorded as 126 feet and his landing at 158 feet. Luke Spoor scored 336 feet total and took 4th place. Luke’s takeoff distance was 152 feet, and 184 feet in landing. Among pilots of the Legend Cub, these benchmark distances, while remarkable, are routinely achievable given the right wind and field conditions. Published specifications for the company’s Classic Legend Cub boast 210 feet in takeoff ground roll and 210 feet in landing distance. Final standings of the Central Florida Classic can be seen here.

The two Legend competitors flew the same aircraft, albeit in separate heats. (Note: The live streaming announcers were at least initially confused about whom was flying). Luke is the stepson of American Legend Aircraft Company owner Darin Hart. An accomplished youth who has mastered the Legend Cub platform, Luke has enjoyed easy access to the company’s aircraft. He soloed at the age of 16 and received his pilot license at 17. Luke has been flying for 10 years. John is a factory demo pilot and CFI who spends much of his time demonstrating the Legend lineup. John is graciously known as the company’s Chief Fun Instructor.

Darin commented on the Florida Classic, “The guys at did a great job hosting this event. We enjoyed sponsoring and being a part of the competition. It was an exciting weekend for me watching my son compete and do so well up against many great pilots. Luke added, “This was my first time competing in a STOL competition. I was excited when I qualified, and even more excited to learn I came in fourth place.”

The 2020 Central Florida Classic of the National STOL Competition Series was streamed live, and can be watched via replay.

Since their introduction of the Legend Cub, American Legend Aircraft Company has held strong among light aircraft manufacturers. MOAC, designed for personal and backcountry use, is a global phenomenon with standout features, including: Up to 208 horsepower, optimized wing and tail surfaces, Shock Monster TK1 front suspension, aft fuselage storage and turtle deck, seating for up to three, extended rear windows and skylight, doors on both sides, advanced avionics, and much more.

For further information on the Legend Cub, contact American Legend Aircraft Company at 1810 Piper Lane, Sulphur Springs, Texas 75482; call 903-885-7000, or log on to Follow us on and

– Legend Cub –

John Wisdom and Luke Spoor, STOL competition winners with MOAC.
Rachel Sword (CFI), John Wisdom (CFI), Luke Spoor, and Darin and Randi Hart at Central Florida Classic National STOL Competition.
MOAC on approach during STOL competition at Paradise Field, Lakeland, Florida.

Legend Cub Evolves to the Extreme with MOAC

SULPHUR SPRINGS, TEXAS, JULY 7, 2020 – American Legend Aircraft Company announced today its MOAC, a.k.a. the Mother Of All Cubs, a backcountry edition of the Legend Cub. While rooted in the legendary Super Cub, MOAC is a thorough remake and all new construction from the expert hands of American Legend. MOAC incorporates numerous performance enhancing features and is purposely built for the backcountry operations.

Since the wildly successful introduction and debut of the Legend Cub in 2005, successive models have continuously evolved and innovated. At first, the Legend Cub was all about modernity and weight savings. American Legend added strength while lightening the airframe and components. Options to improve pilot situational awareness and comfort followed in the cabin and cockpit. Today’s evolutions of the Legend Cub are again numerous. These include envelope expanding modifications with higher horsepower engines and adapting the airframe for access to remote terrain. Now, MOAC is the most exciting way to fly low, and slow, while driving performance to the extreme.

Horsepower on the Legend Cub has more than doubled with MOAC and current availability of Titan engines from Continental. Up to 208 horsepower (187–195 continuous) results in remarkable takeoff and landing performance on its already strengthened airframe. A Cato fixed pitch, Whirlwind ground adjustable, and Hartzell constant speed are among the many propeller options.

Flaps comprise 20- and 40-degree full-span from wing root to aileron. Leading edge slats and aerodynamic square wing tips with optimized wing tip vortices also contribute to MOAC’s remarkable performance. MOAC can take off in its own length and behind all that thrust are balanced ailerons, highly effective with a light touch on the control stick. The tail surfaces on MOAC are sized to appropriately balance the aircraft’s higher power-weight ratio. “To appreciate these improvements alone, the aircraft must be flown, as simply watching in amazement does not complete the sensation,” stated John Wisdom, CFI and Legend demo pilot.

Perhaps the most critical component for backcountry pilots is landing gear performance. If you don’t remember the days of taxiing and landing on bungee gear and steel springs, your derrière and jarred teeth certainly do. The pinnacle of modern landing gear comes from TK1 Racing with its Shock Monster front suspension. Shock Monster is a nitrogen charged air/oil shock assembly. Designed for the harshest of bush flying zones, the oil dampened system eats up all the landing aircraft’s stored energy on compression. A dual shock setup delivers the security of redundancy, unbelievable cushioning and, best of all, zero bounce back. Shock travel of 4.50 inches equates to about 12–14 inches at the wheel. Combined with the Legend Cub’s custom extended cabane vee, the Shock Monster system summons the use of oversized tundra tires and high performance brakes. MOAC with Shock Monster nearly ensures pinpoint landings with a minimum of rollout.

Longer aircraft legs invariably mean a pilot wants to carry more stuff. MOAC features a turtle deck opening that gives access to extended aft fuselage storage. Cargo doors and a folding rear seat allow storage in the mid-fuselage area for unbelievable carrying capacity. A turtle deck hatch improves accessibility even more, offering two levels of storage and accommodation for longer items, such as a stretcher. The Legend Cub fuselage also allows for L-21 style extended rear windows and a skylight offering near 360-degree viewing.

Extra performance on MOAC also comes from 40-gallons-usable fuel tanks. The extra fuel capacity allows for longer roundtrip flights without a fuel stop, such as into and out of remote areas where fuel is not available. Since its introduction, only the Legend Cub offers doors on both sides of the fuselage for simplified ingress/egress and a full-open cockpit feel.

The cockpit on the Legend Cub has always been more extravagant than one would expect on a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants Cub, and MOAC is no exception. Most are equipped with Garmin G3X/G5 glass panels and iPad or handheld panel mounts. LED lighting and Lithium-ion batteries have become standard. Engine monitoring brings great awareness to what’s happening up front and an autopilot does the same outside giving the pilot more time to scan displays of traffic, terrain and weather. For today’s tablet, smartphone and other device equipped pilots and passengers, USB power ports and panel-powered headset jacks are available at all seats.

“After years of lessons learned, including an 80-year Piper history, we build our Cubs to alleviate potential problems,” stated Darin Hart, president of American Legend. “This includes fit-and-finish, engine performance, and control systems. Doors and trim fit to perfection, and we often use common PMA-standard parts for easy serviceability. Our engine choices provide hours of reliability and proven service. Placement of physical controls are optimized to ensure freedom of motion from stop to stop without annoying interference issues so often present in other designs,” Hart concluded.

MOAC can be certified to a gross weight up to 2,000 lbs. As much as 180 lbs of that weight can be placed in the third seat of MOAC as passenger or cargo. Three occupants makes MOAC three times as fun.

American Legend Aircraft Company continues to be one of the most successful manufacturers of aircraft for personal and backcountry use. The Legend Cub is sensibly modern, competitively priced, and built-to-last by a company renown for its exceptional product support. MOAC is the incomparable Cub, a Legend to the extreme.

For further information on the Legend Cub, contact American Legend Aircraft Company at 1810 Piper Lane, Sulphur Springs, Texas 75482; call 903-885-7000, or log on to Follow us on and

– Legend Cub –

All photos courtesy of Jim Wilson photography.

The power end of MOAC.
Tandem seating for three.
Turtle deck access to two levels of storage.
MOAC cockpit.
MOAC with autopilot and instrument navigation.
Heart of MOAC is the Titan engine.
MOAC side view with the ability to fly open cockpit.
Pre-flight instruction with MOAC.
MOAC as a glimmer.
MOAC departure.
MOAC in ground effect.
MOAC big wheels first.
MOAC low pass.
MOAC from below
MOAC formation flight.
MOAC over water.
MOAC liftoff.
MOAC wheels up.
MOAC flexing its muscle.
MOAC wheelie.
MOAC formation flyover.
MOAC formation flyby.

Cubs on Mars