Aircraft Restoration
Backcountry flight in Idaho & Oregon

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1955 L-21B Restoration

Our venerable Cub is a 1955 model (built in 1954) L21-B, originally sold to the Italian Air Force under the Mutual Assistance Program. The civilian designation is a PA18-135. It was repatriated to the US in the late '70s and reassembled in the mid '80s.

 Training History

The Cub has definitely earned its keep, as it was used primarily for training in Italy and Boulder, Colorado, for nearly 4000 hours. It was later moved to Boise, Idaho, and was used for both pleasure and training. The Cub was taken out of service in 2002 after a minor groundloop. It was restored by 2009 as a custom classic aircraft.


Visually, without close study, the exterior is still classic L-21 (except for the tires). Close examination reveals a few exterior changes: VGs, baggage door, extended exhaust, no external oil cooler.

The Italians painted the plane light green and brown camouflage in the 70s. Embossed Italian text was visible on the overhead switch panel and the throttle panel. It is unclear what color the plane shipped from the factory. It is arguable that our Cub shipped in Army-Navy yellow, which its present color.

The original Italian squadron markings were measured and restored. The interior markings are now in English, as required on the Normal category type certificate.

Functionally, it is vastly improved from the factory configuration. Many modifications have been made to improve performance, utility, and safety.


In 2009, the Cub won the Outstanding Piper Award (other than J3) at the Experimental Aircraft Association Airventure in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.


160 HP O-320 engine
High performance exhaust (Atlee Dodge)
Roger Borer propeller
Thrustline (engine mount) modification
BLR vortex generators
Cleveland wheels and brakes
High pressure brakes
Strengthened fuselage and X brace
Fuel system mods (Cub Crafters)
Welded seat belt tabs
Extended baggage
Exterior baggage door
24 gal fuel tanks (Dakota Cub)
Smoked rear windows

Lightweight starter, battery and alternator
Underseat battery (Dakota Cub)
Twisted pair DC wiring, star ground topology
Beefy starter cables
Internal comm and ELT antennae
Modern radios in the instrument panel
Removable GPS in panel
Electrical and mag switches moved to the instrument panel
Internal intercom wiring
Beacon moved to rudder post
LED lights (AeroLEDs)
Kydex interior panels
Oregon Aero seats
Underseat storage



7154 W. State St. #254
Boise, Idaho 83703


Email: web@taildragon.com