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.
“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.”