Piper Aircraft Co

Bradford, Pennsylvania, oilman Bill Piper had no experience with airplanes when he joined the Taylor Aircraft Company's board of directors in the early 1920s. The Taylor brothers had developed a small, light monoplane powered by a 20hp Brownbach Tiger Kitten engine. It was in this machine that the Cub took its roots.



World War II made demands on civilian aircraft manufacturers, and Piper answered the call by modifying its J-3 designs for military use. The resulting changes, most notably the L-4 model, saw extensive use in training combat pilots. Nearly 6,000 of the L-4s saw service and four out of every five American World War II pilots got their start in these dependable airplanes.


This kind of advanced thinking in Vero Beach led to the expansion of manufacturing facilities in Florida, and the introduction of another airplane that was to be the forerunner of a whole family of successful, innovative aircraft. The PA-28 Cherokee was designed there and FAA-certified in October of 1960. It went into production in Vero Beach in January, 1961.

The single-engine, four-place Cherokee design became the basis for more than half of Piper's aircraft in the decades to follow. Subsequent models, including the Warrior, Archer, Dakota, Arrow, Seneca and Saratoga were all based on this ground-breaking design.

The PA-32, or Cherokee Six, series came out in 1965 showing off a new stretched cabin that could accommodate six people. Their luggage could be stowed in a new forward baggage compartment, and they enjoyed a larger cabin interior. There was even a rear door to make it easy for passengers to be seated comfortably. The most recent addition to the PA-32 family tree is the Saratoga II TC, introduced in 1997.

In 1967 the twin engine lineup was enhanced with the introduction of the PA-31 Navajo. This powerful, cabin-class twin was designed to meet the growing demands for business travel. From the original, a series of relatives evolved. There were the Navajo Chieftain and the Mojave, followed by a lineup of twin turboprops, the Cheyenne I, the Cheyenne II and the Cheyenne IIXL.





In 1983, when many manufacturers were pulling back or calling it quits, Piper introduced a totally new aircraft design. The PA-46 Malibu revolutionized personal aviation and came at a time when the industry truly needed a boost. It took three years of study and dedication to get the first Malibu into the air, but this pressurized, six-place, single-engine aircraft provides the creature comforts and amenities of many small business jets, but for a fraction of the price and operating cost. It immediately captured the imagination of owner-pilots, especially those who used their own aircraft for business. In 1988 an up-graded version, the Malibu Mirage was introduced. It's 350hp turbo-charged Lycoming engine immediately pushed it to the forefront of the industry.

Along the way, New Piper has introduced improved versions of all models, including its venerable Seneca with the improved version, Seneca V. While every model benefited from the improvements made available by the latest in technology, New Piper also added new models, including a turbo-charged model to the Saratoga lineup - the Saratoga II TC

The New Piper has built on the solid foundation established in Pennsylvania almost 80 years ago, and is taking the Piper name to new heights. Eight decades of history, and yet, the most exciting time is still ahead. With the Malibu Meridian and the Piper 6X & 6XT a new era has again taken shape.



When Gilbert Taylor left the company, Bill Piper brought in a new chief engineer, Walter Jamouneau, and under his direction the original Cub was modified to its historic, bright yellow J-3 version.

In 1937, a fire in the original Bradford factory devastated the organization, and the company was moved to an old silk mill in Lock Haven, Pennsylvania. When the company moved to Lock Haven, it became The Piper Aircraft Corporation.


In the post-war period, civilian aviation again took on rapid growth, and advances in technology kept pace with demand. After building tube frames and fabric-covered aircraft for 17 years, Piper introduced its first all metal plane, the Apache, in February of 1954. It was also Piper's first twin engine model and the first in a series to be named after an American Indian tribe (as a salute to Piper's own American Indian heritage).

With the success of the Apache, Piper saw the bright future for General Aviation and expanded its research and development capabilities, as well as its manufacturing base. In 1957 it built a new R&D facility at the old Naval airbase in Vero Beach, Florida. The Sunshine State proved to be an excellent site for experimental flight testing. The first accomplishment of the new facility was the introduction of the PA-25 Pawnee, an agricultural spraying aircraft.


As the progression in the turboprop field continued, Piper introduced the Cheyenne III in 1979 and later upgraded it to the Cheyenne IIIA. These powerful aircraft had seating for up to 11 and were able to cruise at 300 knots with a range of up to 2,000 statute miles on the thrust of two 720hp Pratt & Whitney engines.

While they targeted the executive market, the Cheyennes also found their way into many training programs, and were used to train pilots in such organizations as Lufthansa Airlines, Alitalia Airlines, Korean Air, All Nippon Airways, Austrian Airlines, and the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC).

While the company was built on the strength of its single engine aircraft, it excelled in development of twins. In 1971 the PA-34 Seneca was introduced. This six-place light twin was built around the Cherokee Six frame. Since its inception, the Seneca has seen duty around the world as an air taxi, a reliable charter aircraft, a dependable trainer for pilots stepping up to advanced multi-engine classes, and as a popular choice of the owner-pilot. Today's Seneca V still fits into each of these categories.


The New Piper Aircraft, Inc. became a reality in the summer of 1995 when President/CEO Charles Suma, and a nucleus of employees took over the assets of the Piper Aircraft Corporation. There were fewer than 100 employees in that first year but they embarked on an exciting assignment.

The task was not an enviable one: Take on all the competitors and bring the Piper name back to the forefront of General Aviation. But this cadre of dedicated people was up to the challenges.

Engineers were challenged to create an aggressive research and development program to bring new, innovative aircraft to market. Customer service professionals from a variety of industries were tapped to create a system that provides the best service possible to every customer around the world. The organization embarked on a campaign to recruit the best distribution professionals around the globe. And the marketing and sales staff recommitted itself to making New Piper the leader not only in the owner-flown segment of the General Aviation market, but the leader when it comes to supplying the best training aircraft in the world, as well.