Shane Madsen hails from secluded Westlock, Alberta Canada and says he’d like to be the Jesse James of airplanes. He’s off to an honest start, having the grit of the Alberta oil fields and his own Harley customization shop under his fingernails. A gentle artist at home in a leather welding apron he prefers working with his hands over programing a CNC machine and has settled into a one-man rag-and-tube factory servicing the Canadian west.
Needing an attention getting airplane to promote his Mad Custom Inc. business, along with finally keeping one of his builds for himself, Shane has elevated this once innocent J-3 Cub to bush flying showcase. The plane had long ago moved from a straight J-3 to Super Cub status when Sam Johnson began modifying it into a serious Apex-powered hot rod. Sam had Shane helping with the welding when Sam unexpectedly passed away from a brain aneurysm. Sam’s father wanted the build to continue in honor of his son so Shane took over the project as his own.
Always wanting a round motored Cub, Shane hung a 158 hp Verner 9S and Sterna ground adjustable prop out front, serious Acme suspension main gear underneath and a passel of custom touches both arty and functional to arrive at the airplane seen here. The aerodynamics are provided by an older D&E wing plus a set of Randy Apling’s Carbon Concept flaps. These are stiff carbon fiber units with a more flexible Kevlar strip running chord-wise. It says in the brochure this lets the flaps change camber with load.
Some of Shane’s upgrades are added X-bracing throughout the fuselage along with beefed chrome-moly longerons (some of the early Piper mild steel pieces were easily too thin for heavy duty work). Still a work in progress, the next mod is a much needed move away from the original diaphragm heel brakes to Beringer units.
As for the rat rod finish, that’s 100 percent Shane playing with a wire brush on the aluminum and an air brush on the spare Ceconite he had on hand when it came time to cover. Look for Shane and his custom Cub at select STOL events including the High Sierra Fly-In next October.