Each year thousands of airshow spectators around the nation thrill at the chance to see Roger Lehnert, a unique and entertaining performer. Roger is widely regarded as one of the finest Piper J-3 Cub pilots in the air today. He is based at New Garden Airport and lives nearby, and his performance is a staple of the annual Colonial Flying Corps Museum benefit airshow held at the airport every June.
The Piper J-3 Cub
The Cub's dependability and flyability, especially at low speeds, make the J-3 a natural for the climax of Roger's show: the exciting rooftop landing atop the "Teeny Weeny Airport," a Ford pickup truck modified with heavy-duty suspension and steel platform above the roof. After a successful car-top landing (and a careful drive to the take-off end of the runway), Roger then flies the cub off the roof of the speeding pickup. The Teeny Weeny Airport is driven by fellow pilot Stanley Mann.
The classic shape of the yellow Piper Cub has graced the skies for over 50 years. Designed as an inexpensive, simple, and dependable "everyone's airplane," the Cub was produced for many decades. Over 15,000 were built. At one time, a new Cub flew off the mile-long Piper assembly line every 70 minutes.
The Cub was designed to take off from short, grass runways, typical of the airports of its day. It becomes airborne at 40 mph, cruises at a leisurely 70 mph, and can fly as slowly as 30 mph.
Roger Lehnert's flying career
Roger's love of flying dates to his childhood years. As a youngster, he would ride his bicycle to a nearby airport to watch the planes and dream of the day when he too could soar like a bird. On rainy days, Roger spent his time building light-weight balsa model airplanes. In high school, he built intricate radio-controlled models.
About this time, he took the first steps to realizing his dream. He got a job as a "line boy" at the local airport, and began taking flying lessons. Roger soloed at age sixteen. After high school, he worked as a Titan missile mechanic for four years in the Air Force, and then attended Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. It was there that he earned his Airframe and Powerplant license.
Roger's first plane was a 1930s vintage Taylor J-2 Cub, which he found abandoned in the back of a barn among various discarded farm implements. Since then, he has owned several airplanes, including a kit-built Pitts Special aerobatic bi-plane that he flies in International Aerobatic Club competitions. He has restored three Piper J-3 Cubs over the years, one of which he uses in his airshow routine.
When he is not thrilling audiences, Roger is working on several Cub projects. His craftmanship has been recognized at Sentimental Journey with a Grand Champion J-3 Cub and another one of his Cubs is on display at the Piper Museum in Lock Haven, He flies his first Cub in his Air Show Comedy Routine and Car top Landing.
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ROGER LEHNERT -- One of the finest Piper J-3 Cub airshow pilots in the air today calls N57 home.
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