The Duflunkee Cub

Owner/restorer/pilot Jim Thomas in front of his unique Duflunkee Cub.

Out on Row 321, in Homebuilt Camping, there is a modest little plane painted white with brown and gold and strutting 31” tundra tires. It has an interesting history and a friendly owner happy to share the story. The Duflunkee Cub, N41LD, was a scratch-built, one-off design that seems to have resulted from mating a Super Cub with a Pacer. It is a side-by-side, four-seat (kinda), high-wing, potentially back country plane originally built in 1989 by Lee Dulin of Poole, Oklahoma. It was built with a Ford Taurus V-6 engine and Dulin flew it 168 hours before he passed away in his sleep the following year. The family then put a lock on the hangar and left it sitting for the next 29 years.

The original build had a scoop for the radiator on the top of the tailcone but was removed during the restoration. Thomas used the removed fabric to test its strength and determined that he only needed to put a patch on this one area, avoiding the expenses of re-covering and painting the plane during restoration.

In 2019, Jim Thomas, a retired A&P about 40 miles away with a history of restoring old planes, learned about the orphaned airplane sitting in a dark hangar and became intrigued. He tracked down the family through a mutual friend and negotiated a purchase. He began the restoration by building a new engine mount and installing a Lycoming O-360 to replace the old automobile engine. The radiator came out. He also mounted a McCauley constant-speed prop. He kept the 32-foot wing span and even the original, Poly-Fiber covering and paint. One benefit of sitting in the dark for 19 years is a well-preserved fabric. The interior was stripped out and replaced with the lightest options he could find and in June 2020, the restoration was completed. After trying a couple different size wheels to replace its previous small wheels with wheel pants, he ultimately settled on 31” tundra tire. The plane now has a gross weight of 2200 lb, an empty weight of 1212 lb, and a fuel capacity of 36 gallons.

The restored front panel is mostly old-school, round gages with a few modern touches.

Nervous about the first flight of this unique design and with no one available to give a pre-flight briefing on its flying characteristics, Thomas was delighted to find it flew straight and stable with benign flight characteristics. It comfortably cruises at about 128 mph but he prefers to pull back to 100 mph and burn about 6.5 gph. Over the last three years, he has flown the Duflunkee Cub 450 miles, including two trips into AirVenture. His goal is to fly it to Alaska next year.

A nice, 11-minute, summary video of the restoration of the Duflunkee Cub from its condition coming out of dark seclusion through its successful, second first flights:


  1. Beautiful little plane is that a two-seater or 4 seater I would imagine it’s small so it’s probably only a two-seater but it’s a nice looking kid playing hard to believe looks like it flies very smoothly


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