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Tue, Aug 24, 2010

Building Hours Flying Across Canada

Teenager Delivers A J-3 Cub Over 3,200 NM

A Canadian teenager has delivered a 1946 J-3 Cub on a ferry flight of more than 3,200 NM for a $20 Per Diem and the chance to build up some hours.

Piper Cub File Photo

The white-and-red plane's new owner is 70-year-old Quebec pilot Serge Labreche, who bought the Cub sight unseen from a person in Whitehorse. But Labreche told The Victoria Times Colonist that, when he went to pick up his airplane, he quickly determined that several days in the cramped cockpit of the J-3 was not exactly his idea of a fun flying adventure, so he landed, flew commercial back to Quebec, and put the airplane back up for sale.

While he had inquiries, Lebreche found that no one was willing to fly the plane from the Yukon back to Quebec, and that a professional pilot would charge about $200 per day for a trip that could last as many as 20 days ... and then need a plane ticket home.

Enter 18-year-old Samuel Daigle. He called Labreche and told him he would deliver the Cub at a fraction of the cost.

Daigle learned to fly at 16, and at 18 has racked up about 260 hours and is working as a flight instructor in Laval, Quebec. Labreche agreed to pay Daigle $20 per day plus motel expenses to fly the Cub from Whitehorse to Quebec. Daigle estimated that the flight would add 60 hours to his logbook, for which he would normally have to pay about $120 an hour.

Daigle departed Whitehorse on August 6th carrying his belongings in the back and a 5 gallon can of avgas in the airplane's front seat.

Over the course of his flight, he battled 32 knot winds, had one of the vintage cub's windows fall into the plane on a departure, and a minor oil lead from one of the engine's cylinders. In the highest part of the Canadian Rockies, Daigle said he flew through the valleys between the peaks, following the highways. Sometimes he slept in airport terminals, but he was often welcomed into the homes of fellow pilots. And when he was grounded for several days by weather in Saskatchewan, local pilots gave the teenager the opportunity to fly six different types of aircraft.

Daigle completed his flight last Friday, greeted by television crews and other media on landing in Montreal. After the media gaggle had asked him all the questions they had to ask, he reportedly turned to Labreche, handed him the keys, and said "here's your plane."



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