Short Final: Cub Comedy


While doing some pattern work recently at our small rural airport in Pella, Iowa (KPEA), I was practicing wheel landings and three‐point landings with my 1946 Piper Cub when on the CTAF I heard a local business’ Lear‐45 announce their approach to the airport from five miles to the south. Though the corporate pilots know me and are generally very courteous, I knew that I was somewhat of a nuisance to them in the pattern and would be hard to identify. I chose to climb to 1000 feet above pattern altitude and make a broad circle over the airport, trying to visualize the jet and stay out of their way. I don’t know what possessed me, but as they made their call for downwind, I announced, “Learjet 1234 on downwind, use caution, Cub wake turbulence on one‐six!”

I waited a few seconds and when I heard their call for final to one‐six, I could hear laughter in the background, obviously acknowledging my mischievous behavior. I think it made their day!

Dave Barnes, Pella, Iowa


  1. Nice airport. I have flown over it numerous times, but never have landed there. My usual fuel stop is Red Oak.

  2. Beating up the C-17 pattern as the base converted to the airframe, I recognized a co-worker’s voice and Cessna 210 checking in with tower.

    One base north we’d been maintenance officers a generation previous. Same plane and paint job from way back.

    I requested a delay to allow the inbound “heavy” Cessna the next landing.

    Tower had been briefed on some of our pattern differences before this second ever, to them, flight. They didn’t know what to make of the request, but approved.

    The Mx officer’s moment of clarity came a few days later when seeing me at a meeting.

    • I worked a “heavy” Cessna once. A coworker (non-pilot) was out flying with his friend and he was working the radio. This coworker was six feet tall and just over 300 lbs with not an ounce of muscle on him! After I recognized his voice I started calling him Cessna one two alfa bravo heavy. He was not a happy camper the next time I saw him.

  3. Back in the mid-80s, I was a check airman at McGuire in the C-141. We flew locals every day to fill training requirements. When the winds/weather would get too miserable there for effective training, I used to go up to Rochester (KROC) to work the pattern there. They had all the various approaches we needed and really liked having us there as we would do ASR approaches for their practice and would add to their traffic count. Their mid-day airline flow was minimal and we would gladly stay out of their way. The local light aircraft count wasn’t very high during the week but they would often verbally wonder what we were and why we were there. It didn’t hurt that by original home was a few minutes west of the airport and my Dad and the ot56her neighbors would love it when we would make a short side trip out their way while changing seats for the “students”. Fun times.

    • Guess I should read a little closer to what I typed. Wish this block had an edit feature so I could fix what my fat fingers did vice what my mind thought they were doing…