- CubCrafters recently announced that the US Department of Agriculture Wildlife Service had selected its flagship FAA-certified CC19 XCub for a new government aircraft-fleet-modernization contract
- The contract extends a long-term working relationship that has seen CubCrafters supply aircraft to various federal agencies since 2003
- CubCrafters aircraft have a lower operational cost than helicopters in addition to being reliable and safe with much of the same capability
- According to CubCrafters, the aircraft fleet modernization contract is important not only to the company as a supplier but also to investors participating in its ongoing public offering, which was recently qualified by the SEC
For close to two decades now, CubCrafters, a Yakima, Washington-based designer and manufacturer of Part 23 Certified, Experimental, and Light-Sport backcountry aircraft, has supplied aircraft to various US Federal Government agencies, including the US Air Force Research Laboratory, the US Air Force Flight Academy, the US Department of Agriculture (“USDA”), the US Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”), and the US Department of the Interior (“DOI”).
“Our long relationship with the US Government is a strong testament to our ability to design and manufacture exceptionally rugged utility aircraft for backcountry missions,” says CubCrafters President and CEO Patrick Horgan of the relationship that began in 2003 (https://ibn.fm/Wz3RQ).
Typically, federal civilian agencies use CubCrafters aircraft for aerial survey missions, natural resource management, patrol, surveillance, and search and rescue, while the US Air Force uses them for flight-testing various sensors and glider towing. For its part, the USDA uses single-engine airplanes as well as turbine-powered helicopters to aerially apply herbicides, fertilizers, and insecticides, survey crops and wildlife, feed fish, support wildland fire-fighting services, and apply seed in remote areas.
The consistent appeal of CubCrafters’ aircraft stems from the fact that they have significantly lower operational costs compared to helicopters and other more expensive fixed-wing aircraft. In fact, according to CubCrafters Vice President of Sales and Marketing Brad Damm, who is quoted in a recent article in Flying Magazine, the operational cost of one of the company’s Cubs is “about $250 per hour while a turbine-powered helicopter runs approximately $2,500 per hour” (https://ibn.fm/j7Mqq).
In addition to the lower operational cost, CubCrafters aircraft boast unrivaled safety, performance, and reliability. Combined, these attributes help explain the motivation behind a recent move by the USDA Wildlife Service to select CubCrafters’ flagship FAA-certified CC19 XCub aircraft for a new government aircraft-fleet-modernization contract. These XCubs are intended to replace USDA’s current fleet of legacy Piper PA-18 Super Cubs, which are more than 30 years old.
Launched in 2016, the same year it received the FAA Type Certification, the XCub is lighter, faster, and stronger than any aircraft in its category. It also offers greater range and a larger payload, according to the news release announcing the launch (https://ibn.fm/lMXrY). Since its debut, the XCub has received a few upgrades, with the most notable centered around its engine.
When the XCub was first launched, it sported a 180-horsepower Lycoming engine. But in 2019, this engine was replaced with the more powerful CubCrafters CC393i, a lightweight four-cylinder 215-horsepower fuel-injected engine developed for the XCub by CubCrafters in collaboration with Lycoming (https://ibn.fm/NlNxP). It is this engine that will power the new XCubs to be added to USDA’s fleet.
“The first two aircraft [for the USDA] are in production now and scheduled for delivery in August and September of 2023,” comments Damm. “Under the contract, they have fixed price options to purchase additional aircraft in both 2024 and 2025. Our goal here at CubCrafters is to provide them with such a good platform (an aircraft that is more capable, more cost effective, and safer) that they ultimately replace their entire current fleet of around 40 legacy aircraft with the XCub.”
The modernization contract boosts the company’s outlook among existing and prospective investors, especially since it follows recent news that the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) had qualified the company’s public stock offering via the Regulation A+ exemption (https://ibn.fm/R3AlI). The offering, which marks the first time in its 42-year history that the company is allowing outside investment, is intended to raise $50 million. CubCrafters aims to channel the capital raise toward reducing its order backlog, which has seen it fully booked into late 2024, and improving its customer service.
“This contract is not only important for us as a supplier for the US government, but also for investors participating in our ongoing public offering,” a recent article in General Aviation News quotes Patrick Horgan as saying (https://ibn.fm/bpZLJ). “This sale demonstrates that our newest generation of fully certified modern utility aircraft can replace the aging fleet of legacy aircraft now in service. It shows that there is a very bright future for our fleet sales program.”
For more information, visit the company’s website at www.CubCrafters.com.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to CubCrafters Inc. are available in the company’s newsroom at https://ibn.fm/CUB
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