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CubCrafters unveils Carbon Cub EX–2 engine upgrade

CubCrafters debuted its new EX–2, sporting the same 186-horsepower Lycoming as the EX–3 with a fixed-pitch propeller and gave AOPA an exclusive opportunity to fly the new EX–2 at a private grass strip just north of EAA AirVenture Oshkosh in Wisconsin, on July 28.

CubCrafters Vice President of Sales and Marketing Brad Damm said customers asked for a fuel-injected variant with a fixed-pitch propeller: “So, this is a new engine for us. Based on the previous IO-360 engine that we had. We’ve lightened it up a bunch and we’ve set it up for a fixed-pitch propeller instead of a constant-speed propeller.”

The EX–2 I flew was purchased by the company from a private owner to serve as the new engine’s proving ground. Having around 200 hours in an EX–2, I was excited to see if the engine upgrade made a noticeable difference.

Mike Sasser, the CubCrafters dealer for Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma, accompanied me on the short flight just north of Oshkosh. From start-up to touchdown, the pure power and raw energy exuding from the Lycoming engine were undeniable.

Although there were several noticeable differences—a shorter takeoff roll, steeper climb rate, and faster cruise speed—the aircraft retained the smooth, refined feel and responsiveness that Carbon Cubs are known for.

CubCrafters unveiled the Carbon Cub EX–2 on turf, though it's capable of more rugged runways. Photo by Josh Cochran.“I think demand is going to be huge for it,” said Damm. “Customers have been asking for it for a long time. We’ve had it out here all week. Lots of people have looked at it. Lots of people have been excited about it…We just can’t build airplanes quite as fast as people want to buy them.”

In addition to announcing a new Lycoming retrofit, CubCrafters also announced that as of July 25, investors can enter into a nonbinding reservation to buy shares of CubCrafters.

For the first time in the company’s 40-year history, public investment will be allowed under Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Regulation A. CubCrafters is expected to file with the SEC for qualification within weeks.

“With the significant increase in backcountry flying, demand for our aircraft continues to grow. We have a two year plus manufacturing backlog of orders, and there is no end in sight,” stated Patrick Horgan, CubCrafters president and CEO. “Our founder Jim Richmond initiated the plan to pursue a public offering with the intention to take CubCrafters forward to the next level and secure its future for generations of aviators to come.”

The engine upgrade improved takeoff performance. Photo by Josh Cochran.The Regulation A process allows qualified investors to reserve shares, unlike a traditional initial public offering. Investors need not meet certain wealth standards, though no accreditation is required. Investors who  reserve CubCrafters stock ahead of SEC qualification will have the first opportunity to purchase shares at the issue price.

Capital earned from investments will allow CubCrafters to accelerate manufacturing (resulting in shorter lead times), expand infrastructure, and pursue new aviation technologies at a faster pace.

Two days after the announcement, CubCrafters reported that more than 1 million shares had been reserved by potential investors—for a grand total of over $5million.

Those initial reservations amount to more than 10 percent of the company’s $50 million goal, which in only two days is just amazing,” said Damm. This level of interest from the aviation community and the general public tells us that they see real value in our company and want to help it grow.”

The Lycoming CC363i 186-horsepower fuel-injected engine on the EX–2 we tested is the same powerplant used by the heavier EX–3, but with a fixed-pitch propeller. Photo by Josh Cochran.

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