Yakima Airplane Manufacturer is Getting Special Recognition - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Yakima Airplane Manufacturer is Getting Special Recognition

The Yakima Valley is known for its agriculture, but what about its planes? A local company that's been in business for more than a quarter of a century is not only doing business around the world, it's getting special recognition on the covers of aviation magazines. CubCrafters manufactures two aircraft, the Top Cub and the Sport Cub. The most popular is the Sport Cub. Both are manufactured in the CubCrafters facility at the Yakima Air Terminal/McAllister Field Airport. They're the kind of plane that let you open up the windows to feel the breeze and fly low and slow so you can check out the scenery and even land on a grass strip. Jim Richmond founded the company in 1980. He's not only an aircraft designer, he's also a pilot. For more than a quarter of a century, he's been rebuilding Piper Super Cubs, a plane designed in the 30's. When the F.A.A. created the "Light Sport Category," it inspired Richmond and CubCrafters to design and build an entirely new, modern airplane based on the Super Cub. With the release of the Sport Cub, CubCrafters is emerging as one of the leaders in the Light Sport Category. "It's much lighter, it's much stronger. It takes advantage of modern materials and modern assembly and machining techniques that weren't available in the 30's," said Jim Richmond, President and Founder of CubCrafters. CubCrafters is gearing up to be able to deliver two Sport Cubs a week by the end of the summer. With the popularity of the new category and CubCrafters being featured on the cover of a couple of aviation magazines like AOPA Pilot and Pilot Getaways the last few months, the company is having a hard time meeting demand. Combine this with the fact that CubCrafters still rebuilds, repairs and modifies Piper Cubs from all over the world, you can imagine this is a busy place. One Piper Cub being rebuilt is headed to Kenya. "Typically when an aircraft comes in we'll take it completely apart, every nut and bolt off it. Complete disassembled, sandblast it all the way down to the bare metal and then we'll start repairing, rebuilding, modifying," said Stan Franz, CubCrafter's Director of Rebuild and Modification. Jim Richmond says the phone at CubCrafters has been ringing steadily, but then again he says it's been ringing steadily for several years, and with his planes flying to air shows all around the country, this Yakima business is expected to grow even more. "I would like to say we've got a great team of individuals here helping us put together one of the highest-quality aircraft; tube and fabric out on the market," said Blake Maygra, Cubcrafter's Senior Production Manager. And another example CubCrafters is growing, a new building is being built to house Cub refurbishment operations.That'll give the company more room to manufacture Sport Cubs and Top Cubs.