Wings of Silver Piper J-3 Cub
For FSX Published by A2A Simulations
Reviewed by Rob Scott
February 2010

The J-3 Cub is an aircraft that most people will have flown in FS; it is included as a default aircraft and enables you to explore the world which FS has to offer at a leisurely pace. The Cub is one of my favourite aircraft to fly in FS because I love VFR low and slow flying. I don’t see the point in having fantastic freeware and payware scenery and zooming over it in a 747! I already own the Aerosoft Super Cub for FS9, so when I saw that A2A had released a cub for FSX with Accu-Sim (more on that later) I just had to get my hands on a copy.

The J-3 Cub is a small and simple light aircraft; it was built in the late 30’s and early 40’s and was used as a trainer for many military pilots. It has tandem seating (one seat behind the other) and as well as being a popular military trainer, it soon became one of the most popular light aircraft of all time. This was mainly due to the Cub’s simplicity and affordability. The Cub has been produced in many variants during its lifespan, but A2A have just focussed on the original J-3 model.

After purchasing the Cub from the A2A website (you will need to set up an account with them) you will be sent an email confirming your purchase. The download links can be found in your account page but make sure to download the installers ASAP because the links only have a lifespan of 3 days. The download size for the Cub package is 167mb and for Accu-Sim it is 99mb, which are very small downloads compared to some other add-ons available at the moment. Once the files are downloaded installation is quick and easy; run the installer and follow the instructions. After installing the add-on I would recommend making a back-up of the installer onto a CD/DVD.

If you are not using the Accu-Sim expansion (you’d be stupid not to) this is one of the few aircraft which you can just jump in and go. Just don’t expect to see a cockpit full of dials and needles to help guide you around the sky. The Cub has 4 gauges and a compass: Tachometer, oil temperature & pressure, airspeed indicator and an altimeter. Having so few instruments to look at during flight is fantastic; it means you can get on with the job of flying the aircraft and enjoying the experience.

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Once the Cub is installed you will have 4 variants of the Cub and 9 liveries to choose from. The variants included are the standard model, tundra tyres, float and ski models. On my system these were the first aircraft to show in the FSX aircraft selection menu, your system may differ dependent upon the other add-ons you have installed.

For an add-on which is as relatively simple as this one, I was surprised to see that a 128 page manual had been added to my hard-drive (Accu-Sim gets its own manual that is 48 pages long). However, anyone who is going to spend a lot of time in this aircraft, or has a genuine interest in the aircraft, should read through the manual. It may sound strange, but I enjoyed reading it! It is written in a fun and informative style and includes everything you could ever want to know about the Cub including how to perfect landings and how to perform aerobatics. Whilst flying the aircraft straight out of the box is easy, if you want to fly it well you should read the manual.

Accu-Sim adds another dimension to the Cub. In my opinion the 2 packages should come bundled as one as you are missing out on a treat it you don’t buy it. What Accu-Sim does is create a whole new environment to fly in including true wing, airframe, engine, ground, water, and internal systems behaviour. During flight if you are caught in a gust of wind you will be able to hear the airframe creak under the stress. If you open the window during flight you can hear the airflow coming through it, but if you close it slightly the pitch of the sound will alter. If you don’t want to fly alone then you can add Heidi to your flight. She is an intelligent passenger who is aware of her surroundings and will react to how you are flying. She will be able to point out other aircraft flying in the sky as long as she can see them i.e they are not obscured by clouds. She can be added to the cockpit as a fun, nervous or laid back passenger; the nervous one will scream if you start to throw the Cub about. When making steep climbs and turns Heidi will also hold onto the inside of the aircraft to steady herself.

Even though the engine is relatively simple, it too has been given the Accu-Sim treatment. Good piloting will prolong the life of the engine, you can hand start the engine on the ground and in the air. The engine even vibrates when it is in use! In the real world each type of tyre will react differently on different surfaces, the same is true with Accu-Sim. When moving over rough ground the airframe will sway and rock, so be careful! I really like the fact that A2A have managed to create the prop wake effect brilliantly. This is the first add-on I have owned that does this. When the aircraft is on the ground if you apply the brakes, add some throttle and push forward on the stick the Cub will raise its tail! Make sure that you don’t overdo it and cause a prop strike as this will destroy the propeller as the included image shows!

The flight characteristics of the J-3 Cub are absolutely fantastic, I really felt like I was in control of a light aircraft. Using Accu-Sim makes sure that you have to pay attention to what is happening to the aircraft; applying full throttle for prolonged periods of time will damage and/or shorten the engine life. To be honest, full throttle as opposed to 75% throttle doesn’t yield that big a change in air-speed. This aircraft is meant to be flown low and slow. If you want to climb to the Cub’s service ceiling of 11,500ft, be prepared for a long climb. I spent most of the time below 2,500 feet; I didn’t want to perform long cross country flights so there was no need to go any higher. Sometimes it’s easier, quicker and more fun to fly around a hill than over it! Taking off is a lot of fun; take-off into a strong headwind and you will be air-borne in a matter of feet! The Cub only needs gentle control inputs when moving around the sky, I found that after take-off I could climb to cruise height just using the trim wheel, there was no need to touch the stick other than to turn.

The Cub is not the best aircraft for long flights, although there is one user on the A2A forums who has flown around the world in his!

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It’s best suited to exploring small areas where there are lots of little airstrips to get in and out of. Although it did take me a while to perfect my landing technique as I’m not accustomed to flying tail-draggers. The tundra tyre variant can be a bit tricky to land, after a while I realised that applying the brakes after landing was a bad idea!

Soon after I downloaded my copy of the Cub A2A released an update, which among other things, added the ability to paddle your way to shore in the float version or drag the Cub around when on the ground.

The exterior modelling of the Cub is nothing short of breathtaking. Even though this is an aircraft with very few moving parts in comparison to commercial airliners, the attention to detail is fantastic. Even the wires inside the cockpit have been modelled with fine detail; they really do look like pieces of wire. The edges of the aircraft are silky smooth without any jagged edges, but despite this attention to detail the frame rates on my system were still through the roof.


After many hours flight in the J-3 Cub with Accu-Sim I can easily say that it is the best GA add-on around at the moment. Even though it is a simple aircraft to fly, to fly it well takes many hours of practice.

Accu-SIm adds a whole new dimension to your flights and creates a fantastic environment to fly in. The combined price for the Cub and Accu-Sim comes in at just under $40 which puts it in the territory of some of the high fidelity airliner simulations, and in my opinion it punches well above its weight.

A2A have taken a simple aircraft and made it into a fantastic add-on which will give hours and hours of enjoyment to anyone who purchases it. I cannot find anything wrong with this add-on which is why I am giving it a Mutley's Hangar score of 10/10. It’s simply brilliant!

/Rob Scott