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Thread: Vintage wing markings?

  1. #1
    cub builder's Avatar
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    Vintage wing markings?

    Our EAA Chapter is restoring a pre-war J-5 and have decided they would like to paint the registration numbers on the wings as they would have originally appeared using the NC registration number on the bottom of the left wing and top of the right. We are having some difficulty finding the size of the font originally used on aircraft of that size and vintage. As best I can recall, I believe they were painted on the wings with a 24" font, but can't cite any source as proof. The current international standard is 50 cm (19.6"), but we are looking to display the numbers as originally marked.

    Thanks for any assistance.

    -Cub Builder

  2. #2
    Airmutt's Avatar
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    There is a thread on the supercub.org BB on Cub marking. Wing N numbers were 24x16 with a 4 inch character. I tried posting a copy but I keep losing it.
    Dave Shaw
    EAA 67180 Lifetime
    Learn to Build, Build to Fly, Fly for Fun

  3. #3
    cub builder's Avatar
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    Thanks. I'll go search that out on SuperCub.org. I'm on that forum as well. Thank you.

  4. #4

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    Name:  8B2A430A-939A-49D3-B067-2C718FAE8CFA.jpg
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    this is something I found and saved for future reference

  5. #5
    rwanttaja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by painless View Post
    Name:  8B2A430A-939A-49D3-B067-2C718FAE8CFA.jpg
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    this is something I found and saved for future reference
    Interesting. What nearly everyone calls "Cub Yellow" is labeled as "Lock Haven Yellow."

    Ron Wanttaja

  6. #6
    Airmutt's Avatar
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    This should help…
    “Piper originally used nitrate dope for the J3. This is the darker, more orange shade that Piper called "Lock Haven Yellow". Some time after the [Second World War], when the supply of nitrate dope was dwindling, bids went out from Piper for a paint manufacturer to come up with a pigmented yellow butyrate dope that would as closely match the nitrate shade as possible.
    None of the companies could match the Lock Haven Yellow exactly, but [Randolph Products Co. in Chicopee, Massachusetts] was the closest and thus was awarded the contract. This butyrate yellow was a little brighter and more a pure yellow and though Piper continued to refer to it as Lock Haven Yellow, Randolph dubbed it "Piper Cub J-3 Yellow". [Alas, I searched the Randolph website in vain for any trace of Cub Yellow. -- DF]
    So, all J3s up until the change of dope during 1946 was painted with the darker shade which Randolph refers to as "Lock Haven Yellow" (#M-9521), while the butyrate doped J3s and ALL PA-11, 15, 17, 18 and PA-20/22 aircraft were finished with the light butyrate, Randolph's "Piper Cub J-3 Yellow" (#F-6285). [Similarly, when I searched for #M-9521 and #F-6285, the Randolph website replied: "Sorry, no content matched your criteria." -- DF]
    A nice detail: After changing to butyrate dope, Piper couldn't use dope for the boot cowl. The boot cowl had to be painted with enamel, and that is why the butyrate doped J3s (especially from Ponca City, Oklahoma) had a shorter black lightning bolt, ending (starting) behind the boot cowl.
    Best regards,
    Magnus”
    Dave Shaw
    EAA 67180 Lifetime
    Learn to Build, Build to Fly, Fly for Fun

  7. #7
    bigdog's Avatar
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    I'm making paint masks with my vinyl cutter. What is the font typically used for vintage N-numbers. Back in the day they all seemed to use the same simple style. Should be easy but I'm lost in the morass of specialty fonts. This is what I'm looking for.
    Name:  s-l300.jpg
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    Regards,
    Greg Young
    1950 Navion N5221K
    RV-6 N6GY - first flight 5/16/2021
    1940 Rearwin Cloudster in work
    4 L-2 projects on deck

  8. #8
    Dana's Avatar
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    I understand and approve of building a historically correct restoration, but in this day and age I'd be nervous about flying a plane with such large numbers when every Karen on the ground is ready to report you for some perceived violation.

  9. #9
    bigdog's Avatar
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    Yeah, I'll probably not do the wing markings for that reason but I still want the right font for the tail numbers. I've found a font that is pretty close and may use it if nothing better presents itself. This is for sizing with 3" letters.
    Name:  Rearwin tail nmber.jpg
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    Regards,
    Greg Young
    1950 Navion N5221K
    RV-6 N6GY - first flight 5/16/2021
    1940 Rearwin Cloudster in work
    4 L-2 projects on deck

  10. #10

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    There are lots of antique airplanes flying with the large, historically correct, markings. I would not worry about a "Karen". We deal with them and FAA gets to handle them and explain that their fears have no basis in reality. Unless of course you actually plan to be flying under bridges...

    The folks at EAA Antique Classic, or the Antique Airplane Association can likely give you the info that you want. Or maybe the Smithsonian. I have gotten drawings from the Smithsonian Air & Space folks. You have an excuse to meet new peers in the aviation world. No need to be bashful.

    Best of luck,

    Wes

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