The Full Story
Weaver’s Airfield is more than just a grass strip in the countryside. It is an airstrip for light-sport, full-scale airplanes as well as RC aircraft. It is a strip owned and built by Gary that includes a hangar, shops, and kitchen facilities. Gary generously shares his strip with his friends, family, and community. It is a haven for aviation enthusiasts of all persuasions.
Gary Weaver has an interesting aviation history, one that includes flying and building airplanes, RC models, as well as building an airstrip that is fun for all.
Gary started flying when he was 18, in the early 1970s. His father taught him the art of tailwheel flying in the family’s Super Cub while flying around his home state of Washington. As Gary tells it, “I learned to fly at a little strip that was about 600 feet long, with two huge trees at one end. It was one way in and one way out.
“Then my dad took me up to Wenatchee, Washington. Unbeknownst to me, he was going to solo me that night. Here’s this big, huge, wide, long runway, and I overshoot it!”
Gary soon completed his training and experienced all the joys of being young and flying a Cub, including the adventure of cross-country work in an airplane that didn’t even have a VOR. “It was strictly flying by the seat of your pants, and dead reckoning,” he says. “I think I spent more time getting lost than flying places.”
And so it went for the next dozen years. During that time, Gary flew a tricycle-gear airplane only once. Otherwise, he spent most of his flight time in the Super Cub, dropping into the many rugged grass strips peppered throughout the Northwest. It was flying for the sheer fun of it — pure, simple, joyful.
However, there were some “mountains of life” that needed to be cleared.
“In the early ‘80s, I was so broke getting my business started that I had to sell my Super Cub,” says Gary. “It was like selling the family dog.”
Gary was effectively grounded. It was a tough time. He tried to satisfy his love of flying with cheaper hobbies like model airplanes, but the itch wouldn’t go away. Flying was deep inside him.
Over the next decade his finances improved, and in 1999 he was able to return to flying. He built a Challenger ultralight, and then quickly sold it. “It wasn’t for me,” says Gary. Then he built a Just Aircraft’s Highlander, which finally returned him to flying a tailwheel machine.
But there was still something missing. Gary wanted his Cub back.
So in March 2014, Gary purchased a CubCrafter’s Carbon Cub EX kit. He immediately started the project build. Every evening, Gary would put time in his workshop to get his Cub assembled — weekends too.
“I was just really in shock and awe over the quality of the kit,” says Gary. “I just did not expect that. A Carbon Cub is just a pleasure to build. They’re a little bit more money, but boy are they worth it.”
Gary was lucky to have the help of his friends Steve Dentz and Dick Ovrid, who jumped in and lent a hand. That proved to be especially important when working with the kit’s color-coded wiring harnesses. “Being color blind, I had trouble wiring it,” says Gary. “My friends came over and helped me.”
After approximately 800 hours of work Gary’s Cub was complete. He says his finished plane turned out far better than what people imagine can be built in a home workshop. “They look at the inside and they go, ‘No, you didn’t build this. This is from the factory!’”
Gary flies his Cub to some of his favorite remote scenic strips, including Republic and Johnson Creek, Washington, and Cavanaugh Bay, Idaho. In addition, he’s always dreamed of flying Monument Valley.
Joining him as copilot will be Gary’s wife, Debbie. A flying enthusiast too, she was kind enough to let him spend every spare moment in his shop until the project was done — for which he can’t thank her enough.