Filed under: Blog entry (Home Page), News, Wings & Wheels by rich
Come on by the 1940 Air Terminal Museum at Houston Hobby Airport on Saturday, April 20 and join us for another Wings and Wheels! This month we are calling all Pipers for Piper Day!
We’re expecting several planes to visit from members of Cherokee Chat, where owners share tips and advice on maintenance and upgrades. A bunch of Cherokee Chat members will head to Oshkosh in July – if you’d like to join them, visit the Cherokees to Oshkosh site.
Also joining us may be some members of the Piper Owner Society, another great resource for owners of all types of aircraft proudly bearing the Piper badge.
Piper Aircraft started out in 1927 as the Taylor Brothers Aircraft Manufacturing Company, the same Taylor that 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. Seminole.
The Piper Tomahawk was a popular alternative to the Cessna 152 in the flight training market. Today’s Archer and Arrow derived from the Cherokee, which also produced two twin-engine lines: the Seminole and the six-place Seneca.
The Cub line continued as the Super Cub, with aircraft such as the Caribbean, Colt, Pacer and Tri-Pacer deriving from it.
For a very short time Piper entered the LSA market by partnering with Czech Aircraft Works to import the PiperSport LSA (still available from CZAW as the SportCruiser). Piper continued to generate excitement in general aviation by developing the technically successful but cancelled PA-47 PiperJet (Altaire) project.
However, Piper’s own designs have continued to prove their longevity, and remain among the manufacturer’s current offerings: the Seneca V, Seminole, Arrow, Archer, and the Malibu aircraft line, including the Matrix, Meridian, and Mirage.
Our own Raffle Plane, the Museum’s sixth giveaway of a wonderful vintage airplane, is a beautifully maintained 1969 Piper Cherokee 140. N95244 may be our first to sell out tickets, thanks to the hard efforts of our volunteers to promote the aircraft, the excellent quality of the plane inside and out, and healthy online sales that were not possible until this year.
You can buy your raffle ticket, or make a donation to the Museum, online via our website!
Wings and Wheels is from 11 am to 3 pm the third Saturday of each month and has a different theme each month.
Admission is $7 for adults and $3 for children, and includes access to the Museum, static aircraft and vehicle displays, and supervised access to the ramp. Admission is waived for visitors who fly in, or who drive in with a classic car. Lunch is available from a local mobile food vendor.
Flaming Patties will be onsite with their delicious gourmet burgers and grilled cheese sandwiches! Find out more at their Facebook page or follow them (around town!) on Twitter.