Marv’s PA-18 Project / Learn to Weld!

I find it fitting to have this be the very first post in our new site’s “build projects” channel. Marv Hoppenworth, one of our founding members and current technical counselors, has very generously offered to donate to our Chapter many of the parts, supplies, and know-how needed to build a PA-18 Super Cub!

The original thought was to build a plane that the Chapter (or a side-organization) could fly, but for a number of reasons (both legal and financial), that may not pan out. In fact, we’re still trying to figure out what exactly we want to do with this airplane when it is complete. One of the ideas now is to perhaps just build the parts of the plane that we can, perhaps in a sort of “cutaway” or “progress” type of fashion, and donate it to be hung in either the Eastern Iowa Airport or some other prominent location, as a form of advertisement and exposure for our Chapter and EAA… with a handful of us being able to learn a number of important plane-building skills along the way!

While we figure that out though, we can proceed with the first part of this project, which is actually Marv’s second incredibly generous offer: to teach a select group of Chapter members how to weld, for free!

Here’s the details for the welding class:

  • We are looking for candidates involved in EAA and truly motivated to learn to weld, not just for fun, but who will be able to use that knowledge in their own aviation projects, chapter projects, and most importantly be willing and able to teach others in the future. There is no charge for the course, but we instead ask for your commitment and dedication to Marv and the Chapter, described as follows:
  • These candidates will be needed for work on the Chapter PA-18 project when it commences. As stated above, the details on this project are still fuzzy but let’s start with the understanding that no financial commitments will be necessary… only your time in helping the project along will be needed.
  • Marv will host two sessions of two students each, three days a week for 3 hours in the evening (e.g. MWF 6p-9p, or other agreed upon schedule).
  • Course duration is expected to require about 40 hours to “graduate” (~1 month per session). Anticipated sessions are June and July, with a possible break in the second session around AirVenture. Exact dates TBD.
  • Marv has set up a gas welding workstation at his home in SW Cedar Rapids capable of hosting two students– he has even already purchased the necessary dividers and regulators just for this purpose!

I recently visited Marv’s shop, and was humbled and amazed by what he has put together and is offering the Chapter. I think this is a truly once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a small group of Chapter members to learn a high-value skill from someone who quite literally has handfuls of his work hanging in museums.

If you are interested in being one of Marv’s students, please email me at with the following information:

  • Name / contact info
  • Date range available for course (keeping in mind the proposed June and July session periods)
  • A brief description of what you plan to do with your acquired welding skills

Thanks guys, and I look very much forward to seeing this project come together! -Mike