Filed under: by Blair
Piper Aircraft started out in 1927 as the Taylor Brothers Aircraft Manufacturing Company, the same Taylor would give its name to the Taylorcraft, or T-Craft. These were pioneering days for aviation and for businessmen, and when the company, now called Taylor Brothers Aircraft Corporation, filed for bankruptcy in 1930, key investor William T. Piper bought it. A Harvard graduate, veteran of the Spanish-American War, veteran of WWI, and oil industry engineer, he would become known as the “Henry Ford of Aviation”. His first role at the new Taylor Aircraft Company was secretary-treasurer, and Piper kept Clarence Gilbert Taylor in the role of President. The two shared a dream to open up aviation to the average American. In 1930 they produced an aircraft intended to encourage the growth of private aviation: the E-2 Cub.
You read that correctly. It wasn’t until after Piper and Taylor parted ways in 1935, after a spat over modifications that produced a J-2 model, that the venerable J-3 Cub was produced. Taylorcraft Aircraft Company formed that year as well and would produce an aircraft that served with the J-3s in WWII, and under various reorganizations, continue to produce affordable small aircraft into the 2000s in exotic places such as LaGrange and Brownsville, TX. The J-3 however was a landmark aircraft that has been so loved that new variants are continuing to be produced as LSAs with modern touches.
Piper’s company was not without its own reorganizations, with its founder replaced in 1946 with Chrysler ex-exec William Shriver. William Piper would regain control of his namesake company in 1950 and re-energize it, helped by a new contract for Cubs for the Korean War.
By this time Piper Aircraft had acquired Stinson Aircraft and developed one of their designs as the PA-23 Apache. The Apache would start a trend that Piper is known for, honoring the great native peoples of the Americas by giving their names to craft that would cross the sky: Apache. Pawnee. Commanche. Cherokee. Aztec. Navajo. Cheyenne. Seneca.
The Cub line continued as the Super Cub, with aircraft such as the Caribbean, Colt, Pacer and Tri-Pacer deriving from it.
Don’t forget to purchase your chance to win your own Piper aircraft with our annual raffle! This year’s plane is a 1964 Piper Cherokee 180 which features a classic Piper paint scheme, full leather interior, as well as a full line of Narco avionics, and is fully IFR rated / capable.
Buy your tickets here: