“Prior to the Carbon Cub EX, I had not built anything significant with my hands,” says Paul Borys, a slight accent betraying his Canadian roots. Paul works with his family in their construction business. What little building experience he had was in the context of business.
“I’ve always felt I was mechanically inclined, but I never applied myself to anything approaching the magnitude of building an aircraft,” Paul continues. “When I was young, the standing joke among my brothers was, ‘Paul’s going to build a go-kart or a tree house one day.’ With the EX complete, I went back to them to happily announce… ‘In a way, I’ve now built both.’”
We at CubCrafters would be the very last to take a smidgen of credit away from Paul. After all, an EX kit is comprised of over 8,000 parts. It’s a project usually undertaken by those with experience in mechanics, electronics, and maybe, kit building. His remarkable dedication and heretofore – underutilized talent were essential in completing the project. Still, Paul himself directs much of the credit to CubCrafters.
When Paul first considered an airplane kit, he paid a visit to Sun ‘N Fun 2012 in Lakeland, Florida. “I spoke with the principals of every eligible manufacturer, but CubCrafters was the only one that would discuss – in detail – builder support. In fact, the CubCrafters folks actually got a little excited when telling me about their Kit Program Manager, Mitch Travis.” It was that reassurance, along with a couple of demo flights (one in a Sport Cub, the other in a Carbon Cub) that convinced Paul to make the purchase.
Rather than working out of his hangar at nearby Falcon Field (FFZ) in Mesa, Arizona, Paul set up the “Cub Shop” in his 3-car garage at home. “I can’t emphasize enough what an advantage it was to me and the build process to have my EX in such close proximity. Ask my wife. Every day, I couldn’t wait to step into that garage and work toward turning another page of the instruction manual.” Paul completed the EX project in 1200 hours. He estimates that, had the project been located “off site,” it would have taken him far longer.
There were moments when Paul’s confidence was tested. “There were a few times when I would contact Mitch and just come right out and say, ‘I can’t do this.’ Mitch would calmly and gently contradict me, and then methodically lead me through the steps. He coached me through many procedures. Ironically, the phases of the build which, at first, seemed overwhelming ended up being the most enjoyable and rewarding. That was the case when I started on the World VFR panel. At first glance the complexity of the schematics was intimidating. The sum of my previous wiring experience was – no kidding – a Morse code transmitter for a 5th grade science fair project. Mitch told me, ‘Paul, let’s start with one wire. Everything has a label.’ In five days, I had the panel 90% completed. The wiring diagrams are excellent. The wiring harnesses supplied by CubCrafters are, in a word, amazing.”
Paul is hard pressed to pick a favorite phase of the build, but the painting of his aircraft was an absolute joy. “With a little research on YouTube, and a very supportive wife, I converted one bay of my garage/Cub Shop into a paint booth. I borrowed a wing rack from a fellow CCEX builder and began my very first spray-gun project. I went with the PolyFiber process, including PolyTone, for my finish coat. Possibly the single greatest highlight of the entire build was when I laid on the first coat of Cub Yellow.” Paul didn’t want the “wet look” but instead opted for a more classic satin finish. You can tell it turned out nicely when he tells you, “This paint job nearly glows in the Arizona twilight.”
Though Paul earned his pilot’s license in 1984, the subsequent responsibilities of family and business kept him grounded much of the time, until eight years ago, when he climbed back into a Cessna. Two years later he purchased a Cirrus SR22. Having logged all his hours in tricycle-geared 172s and the SR22, Paul tapped the good people at Chandler Air Service to help with his tail-wheel conversion.
Paul took his Carbon Cub EX on her maiden flight on January 16th of this year. His comments? “Every pilot will tell you, flying solo is an unforgettable experience. Flying solo in the plane you built is almost beyond words… an amazing experience. And the Carbon Cub flies like a dream! Even in almost calm conditions, it takes off in two or three plane lengths. As a first-time builder, what was especially gratifying was when I took hands and feet off the controls, and she flew straight and true.”
Just before landing for the first time, Paul got permission from the tower for a low pass and used the opportunity to show off his “Smoking Airplanes” smoke system, an option he was initially uncertain about… “until I watched the video later and heard the squealing and yelling of my friends on the ground. In that instant, I knew it was entirely worth it.”
Paul also chose the TruTrack Autopilot, the Long Range Fuel and Extended Baggage options to serve him during an upcoming trip that will have him looping up and across North America, catching Oshkosh on the return leg.
When asked about any other comments he might want to pass along to others considering an EX build, Paul replied, “You end up with much more than a great airplane. You will develop some lasting friendships with Mitch and the good people at CubCrafters, and other fellow-builders. You learn lessons about yourself. As my wife put it, “This project has revealed new depths to you.” I developed patience, a virtue that seemed to be in short supply most of my life, and I learned the importance, and satisfaction of doing things the right way, no matter how long it took. This has been an excellent chapter in my life.”