Originally founded as
the Taylor Brothers Aircraft Manufacturing Company in September 1927
by Clarence Gilbert Taylor and Gordon A. Taylor in Rochester, New
York. The company was renamed to Taylor Brothers Aircraft Corporation
in April 1928, shortly before Gordon Taylor died in a plane crash on
April 24, 1928. The company was enticed to move to Bradford,
Pennsylvania with the promise of larger facility and investment
capital from local businessmen, including an initial investment of
$400 from local oilman William T. Piper. The move was completed in
In late 1930 the company filed for bankruptcy and William T. Piper
purchased the assets of the company for $761. Reorganized as the
Taylor Aircraft Company, Piper effectively took control of the firm
when he assumed the position of corporate secretary-treasurer,
although he retained C. G. Taylor in the role of president. Piper,
often called the "Henry Ford of Aviation", firmly believed that a
simple-to-operate low-cost private airplane would flourish, even in
the darkest depths of the Great Depression.
In December 1935, after a series of clashes, William Piper bought out
C. G. Taylor, who left the company and went on to form the
Taylorcraft Aircraft Company. On March 16, 1937 a fire destroyed the
Bradford factory and Piper relocated to an abandoned silk mill in
Lock Haven, Pennsylvania. By November, 1937, all traces of Taylors'
involvement with the company were erased when it was renamed to Piper
Manufacture ceased in the mid 1980's when, together with other
sellers of light aircraft in the USA, increasing insurance premiums
made continued operation financially impossible. Upon limitation of
liability provided by new legislation in the early 90's,
manufacturing re-commenced in 1995. The firm was re-branded New Piper
Aircraft at that time.
As of July 2003, American Capital Strategies, Ltd. owns 94% of
Piper's voting equity.
In August 2006 the firm dropped the "New" from its name, reverting to
Piper Aircraft. Also in that month, a partnership with Honda was
announced to market the new HondaJet.
In response to the economic situation the company announced in
November 2008 that it was reducing its work-week to save money while
avoiding lay-offs. Piper is party to an agreement with the state of
Florida that will see the company benefit from USD$32 million in
incentives in exchange for increasing its work force to 1400 people
plus building the PiperJet in the state.
In December 2008 the company announced that it will defer the USD$10M
incentive that would have required it to hire 400 new workers by 2012
for the PiperJet project and retain 1,417 employees through 2015. The
company stated that the move was precautionary. Piper spokesman Mark
Miller said: "While this year has been a good one for Piper, we have
taken measures to keep the company healthy and to weather any future