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American Legend Aircraft Company Teams with High School STEM Program

McKinney High School Is Building a Legend Cub

American Legend Aircraft is participating with McKinney High School students and local STEM project organizers to build a Legend Cub two-place airplane. Organizers state that the project represents the team's first time building a Legend Cub. The project is currently underway at McKinney National Airport (KTKI), a short distance from the Dallas-area school, and 49 nm due west of Sulphur Springs Municipal Airport (KSLR), home of the Legend Cub.

The Legend Cub is a recreational aircraft manufactured from tubular steel and covered in fabric. The design takes its cues from one of the world's most recognized small airplanes, the Piper Cub. The first Legend Cub was manufactured in 2005.

The impetus for the Legend Cub student build project began when organizers of separate projects were discussing future options. One casually suggested, "Why not replace your Cub?" The Legend Cub is well-regarded among pilots whom often volunteer their time on similar projects. The lead volunteer/mentor at McKinney High School, Phil Campbell, had previously built ten other aircraft under the program. Campbell's friend Ernie Butcher, in the Houston area, had worked on an estimated 24 builds. Campbell was aware that Butcher enjoys flying his Legend Cub.

Butcher serves as president of Eagle's Nest Project, a national organization providing STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education experiences in aviation. According to Campbell, "The program we have devised is not directed at luring kids into aviation. Rather, aviation is the hook to get them involved in STEM studies." The two leaders contend it works both ways, and added that the majority of student participants do tend toward a career in aviation.

Butcher co-owns a Legend Cub that logs much of its time training new pilots, and it's a very high-time airplane. The other owner is Bruce Bohannon, a racing performer also known for his many record-setting altitude and time-to-climb flights. Bohannon currently devotes much of his time training others to fly. The "replace your Cub" suggestion by Campbell mushroomed into, "This time let's build a Cub," by Butcher.

The Legend Cub's reinforced tubular frame, numerous integrated components, and lightweight covering system present a hands-on approach to fabrication. Each airplane is built by teams of workers, where in a factory setting the hours add up quickly. Giving others the opportunity to build a Legend Cub, from a kit and outside a factory setting, naturally lends itself to STEM and hands-on learning. In a student environment, where classroom time stretches across weekends, semesters and summers, participants become "owners" as well as masterminds of the project.

Approximately 80 Legend Cubs have been completed and approved from kit form. Considerations for STEM students as well as builders outside the factory include customized tools required in the manufacture of aircraft. A Legend Cub kit eliminates the need for many specialized tools and fixtures. Each airframe is fully welded and sealed for corrosion protection, and the all-aluminum wings are fully riveted at the factory. Assembly of components, finish details, and installation of nuts, bolts, etc. during fabrication requires only common hand tools.



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