Monday, November 30th, 2015

Piper Cub: An American Icon


As we celebrate the 4th of July this week, we thought it would be appropriate to pay homage to a truly American aviation innovator: Piper Aircraft. Independence Day focuses on the freedoms all Americans enjoy and have enjoyed for 236 years, and there’s nothing more representative of individual freedom than the ability to fly.

Piper has played a major role in the history of American aviation. In 1930, William T. Piper purchased the assets of Taylor Brothers Aircraft Corporation for $761, and renamed the company Piper Aircraft Corporation in 1937. Piper’s vision was that everyone should be able to fly.

The most widely known Piper Aircraft is the J-3 Cub. Its first flight was in 1938, and the company built 19,888 of these single-engine, high wing cabin monoplanes. These aircraft were an integral tool during World War II. With a fresh coat of olive drab paint and green plexiglass skylight and rear windows, the civilian J-3 Cub became the military L-4. The L-4s were all over the newspapers and newsreels, and distinguished people like First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and General Dwight Eisenhower were seen flying in them. Additionally, during the war, the J-3 Cub was the training aircraft for the Civilian Pilot Training Program. By the end of the war, 80 percent of the U.S. military pilots had been trained in a Piper Cub.

This year, Piper celebrates 75 years. Congratulations, and thank you! Find out more about their many celebrations this year, and watch a video of the Piper Cub here.

“From the head office to the factory floor, there is an understanding that we at Piper are not just making a thing – we’re making magic. We’re making freedom.”


One Response to “Piper Cub: An American Icon”
  1. Shortly after Pearl Harbor-December 7, 1941-the piper Aircraft corporation received the first Army order for 40 Cubs, which was soon followed by a second order for 750. During World War II the government purchased a total of about 6,000 airplanes from Piper. Surprisingly, the bulk of Piper’s wartime production was not airplanes at all, but steel radar masts! The Piper cub was used in almost every theater of the war by both the Army and, the Navy and by governments for a vast variety of jobs. Cubs were used for artillery fire direction, liaison, as transports, for reconnaissance, aerial photography, and as ambulances. In some invasion operations, Piper Cubs were launched from special decks constructed on LST’s and during the Normandy invasion over 1,000 “Grasshoppers” were flown from England directly to fields in France. Many Cubs were shipped into the combat zones in cargo planes and assembled at the scene of operations.

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