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Piper

After being an investor in and later treasurer of that Bradford firm - the Taylor Brothers Aircraft Company - a local oilman named William T. Piper bought the company at a bankruptcy sale for $761. It was 1930, and C. Gilbert Taylor, the former company's designer and only surviving partner, was given half-in-terest in the new company, which he called the Taylor Aircraft Company.

About the time the J-2 rolled out, so did C.G. Taylor. There had been friction between Taylor and Piper for some time, so Taylor left and Jamouneau took over as chief engineer.

The company was beginning to see some improvement in its always precarious financial situation, and then, in 1937, the plant burned down. By 1937 the company was producing 18 aircraft a week, but fire destroyed the facility on St.Patrick’s Day that year. It was a severe financial blow to the company and to William T. Piper. But instead of being an excuse to quit, the fire only increased Piper's determination to prove his point. Refinancing was arranged, the name was changed to Piper Aircraft Company, and J-2 production was resumed in a vacant two storey Susquehanna silk mill conveniently located next to the Lock Haven, Pennsylvania airport. That same year, Piper changed the company name to the Piper Aircraft Corporation and assumed the presidency of the firm, making official a situation that had existed informally since the early 1930s.

In recog-nition of Walter Jamouneau's contribution to the E-2, subsequent models were called the J-2 and J-3.

The PA-11 followed next in the Cub line, and the PA-18 Super Cub-with essentially the same structural and aerodynamic configuration as the 1932 E-2 continued.

Initial production type was the Cub two-seat high-wing monoplane, of which 10,000 had been completed before the end of 1941.

In 1948 Piper took over the Stinson Division of Consolidated Vultee Aircraft Corporation and acquired the Stinson Voyager production rights, but production of this type was soon halted.

Piper's first twin was the four-seat Apache, which entered production in 1954. The later four-seat single-engine Comanche first flew in 1956. A whole line of light aircraft has followed the original Cub, from the Pacer/Tri-Pacer/Colt series of high-wing monoplanes to their successors, the Cherokee low-wing series, first of which flew in 1960. Piper produced the specialized Pawnee agricultural monoplane in 1959.

William T. Piper died in 1970.  

A series of twins developed from the Apache to Aztec, Twin Comanche, Seneca, and Navajo, plus other aircraft such as single-engined PA-38 Tomahawk. Company became subsidiary of Bangor Punta Corporation, then Lear Siegler Inc (1984), and later Romeo Charlie Inc (1987), finally with only Cheyenne and Malibu Mirage offered, but became insolvent early 1990s, though reduced-rate production continued while a buyer was sought.

The New Piper Aircraft Inc restarted production of Warrior, Archer, Arrow, Dakota, Saratoga and Seneca models at Vero Beach in June 1987 following the sale of the 50 year old aircraft company to Stuart Millar in May.

 

 


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