“CubCrafters is really a family. Jim’s loss is felt by our employees, customers and affiliates all, ”said Pat Horgan, current President and CEO of the company. “In everything we do in the future, Jim will be with us. It was his stated intention that CubCrafters continue to be the market leader in the design and manufacture of the best backcountry aircraft in the world. Jim’s family and the CubCrafters management team are fully committed to continuing to develop the aviation legacy that Jim began.
Richmond began modernizing the iconic Piper Super Cub in 1980, launching CubCrafters that same year. As an innovative engineer and A&P mechanic, Richmond believed that the Super Cub was capable of much more than Piper initially expected. He was always looking for ways to breathe new life into these vintage planes. Richmond’s constant desire for innovation has led to the brand of aircraft synonymous with adventure, safety and modernity. Although Richmond stepped down from running the company, he remained active in strategic and creative leadership until his death.
“Essentially picking up where Piper left off over four decades ago, Jim combined renewed design thinking with the latest technologies and innovations in engineering and materials to reinvent what many thought was a cell that had reached its limits. Instead, the result was STCs on the original PA-18 family of aircraft first and later, of course, the all-new game-changing CubCrafters planes, ”said Todd Simmons. , who served as President of CubCrafters from 2005 to 2008 and is now President of Customer Experience at Cirrus Aircraft.
In 2004, Richmond introduced CubCrafters’ first certified aircraft, what the company dubbed a “modern iteration of the Super Cub” known as the Top Cub. Since then, around 1,500 planes, including seven variations of the modern Super Cub, have redefined what it means to be a Cub pilot. One variant in particular – a front wheel, XCub convertible rear wheel – made the backcountry accessible to more riders.
“We love to talk about technology in aviation, things like weight, speed, climb and distance, but Jim deeply believed that more than the hardware it was about the pilot’s experience, especially in off-road aviation, ”said Brad Damm, vice president of CubCrafters. president of sales and marketing. “He was always looking for a better experience for our customers, and that gave the direction for innovation. [that] CubCrafters is known for. ”
“Jim was an innovator, it was well known, but he was also very humble. He was the first to thank the others for their hard work and quickly thank the entire CubCrafters team, ”said Laceigh Nelson, former CubCrafters Customer Experience Manager. “He always stepped in to help, even at midnight wrapping planes with blankets and cellophane, until making sure we had a box of whipped cream in the fridge for our morning coffee before heading to the stand. ”
In a video shared by Nelson, Richmond was captured thanking his dedicated team at the end of the EAA AirVenture Oshkosh last summer. Richmond said, “I get a lot of credit, but it’s because of you. Everyone always tells me what a great organization I’ve built, but I didn’t have much to do with it other than picking the right people to lead… and we’re making history and we’ve come a long way in not much time. time and I just want to say I appreciate it.
In a November 22 press release, the company said Richmond “will be sadly missed by family, friends, customers and co-workers.” A memorial service is scheduled for December 4 at the CubCrafters plant in Yakima, Washington. The family is asking for donations to be made on their behalf to the Idaho Aviation Foundation in lieu of flowers.