Neal LaFrance and his restored Culver Cadet.
In 1950, I purchased a Cadet, and after a year of restoration with a lot of work on the wood structure, the
plane was finally airworthy. Cruising cross-country at
125 mph on 4 gallons per hour suited my wallet just
right. The Cadet always got its share of attention no
matter where I went, especially from the old-timers who
would talk wistfully about flying the Cadet. But the
wood fuselage was showing its age so I decided to sell
while it was still airworthy.
After retiring from Boeing Aircraft Company in 1989,
I needed a project. When I sold my Cadet I knew that
someday I would have to own another. The search was on.
FAA aircraft registered listings in 1989 showed about 90
airplanes still in existence with about 20 still flying. I sent
postcards to all owners informing them I was looking for
a Cadet. After reviewing all that were available, it turned
out two were basket cases that fit my budget. I purchased
serial number 148 from a gentleman in Iowa. I trucked
the parts home and started a project that has consumed
nine years, producing a finished airplane and a set of
drawings to reproduce the Cadet.
My new Cadet airplane, Model STF, serial number 001,
is an FAA-registered experimental homebuilt, N46TY.
The old wood fuselage has been replaced with 4130 steel
tubing, the wing slots have been removed, and a new
cowling has been added around the 100-hp Continental
engine. The Cadet is again a flying beauty that will turn
the heads of many young aviators.
Photos courtesy of Neal LaFrance