A Piper Cub of the Royal Air Force (RAF) Benevolent Fund which had its
headquarters office in New York City.
They were used to help raise funds for British civilians affected by
the war (hospitals, orphans, homeless families, etc.)
C. Gilbert Taylor and
his brother had first established the Taylor Brothers Aviation
Corporation in 1929 to market the Taylor Chummy light plane. In 1931
the company was reorganised as the Taylor Aircraft Company, William T.
Piper Sr then being its secretary and treasurer. When the company ran
into financial difficulties, manufacturing and marketing rights for the
Taylor Cub, which had first flown in September 1930, were acquired by
William T. Piper who, in 1937, formed Piper Aircraft Corporation to
continue production of this aircraft. A braced high-wing monoplane of
mixed basic construction with fabric covering, the Cub had a
conventional tail unit, fixed tailskid landing gear (the main units
with wheels or optional floats) and an enclosed cabin seating two in
When first produced by
Piper, the Piper J-3 Cub was powered by a 40 hp (30 kW) Continental
A40-4 flat-four engine, but it was not long before the 50 hp (37 kW
A50-4 or alternative A50-5 with dual ignition system was introduced on
the J-3C-50 Cub. The resulting improvement in performance made this
already attractive light plane an extremely marketable commodity and
during 1938, which was the new company's first full year of production,
no fewer than 737 Cubs were built. The Continental A50 was a new
engine, early experience proving that it was reliable and had
development potential, and it was later re-rated at 65 hp (48 kW) at a
higher engine speed. Its introduction by competitors meant that Piper
had to follow suit, and in 1940 the J-3C-65 Cub appeared with the
Continental A65 engine. With alternative Franklin flat-four engines, 50
hp (37 kW) 4AC-150 or 65 hp (48 kW) 4AC-176, the Cub was designated
J-3F-50 and J-3F-65 respectively and, similarly, with the Avco Lycoming
50 hp (37 kW) O-145-A1 or 65 hp (48 kW) O-145-B the Cub had the
respective designations J-3L-50 and J-3L-65. Also built in
comparatively small numbers was a version designated J-3P-50, powered
by a 50 hp (37 kW) Lenape Papoose 3-cylinder radial engine.
Evaluated for the role
of artillery spotting and front-line liaison, as were the Aeronca L-3
and Taylorcraft L-2, four examples of the Piper Aircraft Corporation's
Cub Model J-3C-65 were acquired for this purpose by the US Army Air
Corps in mid-1941. These were duly allocated the designation YO-59 and,
almost simultaneously, 40 additional examples were ordered as 0-59s.
These were all delivered quickly enough for the US Army to employ them
on a far wider evaluation basis than had been anticipated, using them
in the field as if on operational service during annual manoeuvres held
at the end of 1941.
There was no doubt at
all after this very practical test that the little Cubs were of more
value than had been envisaged, and this useful experience made it
possible to procure a new version more specifically tailored to the US
Army's requirements. This, designated 0-59A, was of braced high-wing
monoplane configuration and was of composite construction comprising
wooden spars, light alloy ribs and fabric covering. The fuselage and
braced tail unit had basic structures of welded steel-tube and were
fabric-covered. Landing gear was of the fixed tailwheel type, and the
powerplant of the 0-59A comprised a 65 hp (48-kW) Continental 0-170-3
flat-four engine. Primary requirement of the 0-59A specification was
improved accommodation for pilot and observer, which was achieved with
a modified enclosure for the tandem cockpits to provide better
Orders for this version
totalled 948, but designation changes resulted in all becoming L-4As,
the previously supplied YO-59s and 0-59s becoming L-4s. Subsequent
procurement covered 980 L-4Bs with reduced radio equipment, 1,801 L-4Hs
which had only detail changes, and 1,680 L-4Js which introduced a
variable-pitch propeller that made a significant improvement to
take-off performance. In addition to the various L-4 Grasshoppers
procured specifically for the US Army, more than 100 were impressed
from civil sources and designated L-4C (J-3C-65 Cub Trainer), L-4D
(J-3F-65 Cub Trainer), L-4E (J-4E Cub Coupe), L-4F (J-5A Cruiser), and
L-4G (J-5B Cruiser).
In 1942 Piper was
requested to develop a training glider from the basic L-4 design, this
involving the removal of the powerplant and landing gear. In its
modified form it had a simple cross-axle landing gear with hydraulic
brakes, and the powerplant was replaced by a new front fuselage to
accommodate an instructor, and he and both pupils were provided with
full flying controls. A total of 250 was built for the the USAAF under
the designation TG-8, plus three for evaluation by the US Navy which
designated them XLNP-1.
Apart from the three
XLNP-1s which the US Navy acquired for evaluation, this service also
procured 230 NE-1s, basically similar to the US Army's L-4s, and these
were used as primary trainers. Twenty similar aircraft procured at a
later date were designated NE-2, and 100 examples of the Piper J-5C
Cruiser which were acquired for ambulance use (carrying one stretcher)
were originally HE-l. When, in 1943, the letter H was allocated to
identify helicopters, the HE-ls were redesignated AE-ls.
After the war improved
versions were built under the designations YL-14, L-18B, L-18C, L-21A,
L-21B and TL-21A.
Piper J-4 Cub Coupe
To compete with the
expanding range of light planes offered by other aircraft
manufacturers, Piper produced in 1938 the Piper J-4 Cub Coupe.
Retaining basically the same airframe as the J-3 Cub Trainer, this had
a small increase in wing span and introduced improved landing gear with
a fully-castoring tailwheel, hydraulic brakes and Speed fairings for
the wheels and it first introduced a fully cowled engine. As powered
initially by a 50 hp (37 kW) Continental A50-1 it had the designation
J-4, but the introduction of the 65 hp (48 kW) Continental A65-1 or -8
engine in 1940 brought the redesignation as the J-4A, and later of the
75 hp (56 kW) Continental A75-9 as the J-4E. In 1939 Piper introduced
the J-4B, differing only in powerplant which initially, was a 60 hp (45
kW) Franklin 4AC-171, but that was soon replaqed by the 65 hp (48 kW)
Franklin 4AC-176-B2 without any change in designation. Last of the J-4s
was the version powered by Avco Lycoming engines, the 55 hp (41 kW)
O-145-A1 or -A2, or the 65 hp (48 kW) O-145-81, both of these Cub
Coupes having the designation J-4F. Production of J-4s reached 1,250,
and during World War II 17 J-4Es were impressed for service with the
USAAF under the designation L-4E.
Piper J-5 Cruiser
A modest expansion in
the capabilities of the J-3 and J-4 range was achieved with the Piper
J-5 Cruiser which, although basically similar to the J-3, had a minimal
increase in fuselage width to provide three-seat accommodation. First
seen in early 1940 as the J-5A Cruiser with a 75 hp (56 kW) Continental
A75-8 engine, it became available subsequently as the J-5B with a
similarly powered Avco Lycoming GO-145-C2 engine, then being designated
J-5C with the installation of a 100 hp (75 kW) Avco Lycomlng 0-235-C.
Civil J-5A and J-5B aircraft were impressed for service with the US
Army during World War II under the designations L-4F and L-4G
respectively, and the US Navy procured 100 aircraft similar to the J-5C
under the designation HE-1. These had the 100 hp (75 kW) Avco Lycoming
O-235-2, and a hinged top decking to the rear fuselage to allow the
loading and unloading of a stretcher. In 1943, the designation letter
'H' was allocated to identify helicopters and the HE-1s were
redesignated AE-1. When production ended a total of 1,404 J-5 Cruisers
had been built.
Piper YO-59/O-59 (L-4)
- In 1941 the US Army selected this aircraft for evaluation in
artillery spotting/direction roles receiving four aircraft designated
YO-59, and shortly afterwards ordered 40 similar aircraft under the
designation O-59. These aircraft were used by the US Army under
virtually operational conditions during annual manoeuvres at the end of
1941, and it was very soon discovered that the little Cub had far wider
applications than at first anticipated. The YO-59 and O-59 aircraft
were redesignated L-4, and the type later received the name
Piper O-59A (L-4A) -
This practical experience enabled the US Army to obtain an improved
0-59A which, powered by a 65 hp (48 kW) Continental O-170-3 flat-four
engine, had better accommodation for the pilot and observer with an
enhanced all-round view. Orders for O-59As totalled 948, but as a
result of designation changes they entered service as L-4A aircraft.
Most did not have any radio equipment.
Piper L-4B - Subsequent
procurements of the aircraft covered 980 of the L-4B version with
reduced radio equipment.
Piper L-4C - Eight
J-3C-65 Cub Trainer civil aircraft impressed into military service
powered by a Lycoming O-145-B1 engine.
Piper L-4D - Five
J-3F-65 Cub Trainer civil aircraft impressed into military service
powered by a Franklin 4AC-176-B2 engine.
Piper L-4E - Seventeen
Piper J-4 Cub Coupe civil aircraft impressed into military service
powered by a 75 hp (56 kW) Continental A-75-8 4-cylinder engine.
Maximum speed 100 mph (160 km/h); cruising speed 96 mph (150 km/h);
service ceiling 12,000 ft (3660 m); initial rate of climb 450 ft (138
m) per minute; landing speed 40 mph (64 km/h).
Piper L-4F - Piper J-5A
Cruiser civil aircraft impressed into military service powered by a 75
hp (56 kW) Continental A-75-8 4-cylinder engine.
Piper L-4G - Piper J-5B
Cruiser civil aircraft impressed into military service powered by a 75
hp (56 kW) Lycoming GO-145-C2 4-cylinder engine.
Piper L-4H - Similar to
the L-4A and L-4B variants with only minor detail changes (1,801
Piper L-4J - A variant
which introduced a variable-pitch propeller had greatly enhanced the
aircrafts take-off performance (1,680 aircraft).
Piper TG-8 - Piper was
then requested to develop a training glider from the L-4 design and
this, with the powerplant removed and the forward fuselage redesigned
to accommodate an instructor and two pupils, was built for the US Army
under the designation TG-8 (250 aircraft).
Piper XLNP-1 - Three of
these gliders were acquired for evaluation by the US Navy under the
Piper NE-1/NE-2 - The
US Navy also procured 230 aircraft which were basically similar to the
standard US Army L-4 for use as trainers. At a later date twenty more
aircraft were acquired for the same use and designated NE-2. Although
intended as training aircraft, some were assigned to squadrons as
liaison or personnel transports.
Cruiser) - 100 aircraft acquired by the US Navy for ambulance use
(carrying one stretcher) were originally designated HE-1. When in 1943
the letter 'H' was allocated to identify helicopters, the HE-1 was
re-designated AE-1. Powered by a 100 hp (74.6 kW) Lycoming engine. The
deck of the fuselage from the trailing-edge of the wing to the fin is
arranged to hinge up to permit the loading and unloading of a US Navy
standard stretcher. Weight empty 906 lbs (411 kg) with a maximum
take-off weight of 1,426 lbs (647 kg); disposable load 690 lbs (313
kg); wing loading 8.5 lbs/sq ft (41.5 kg/sq m); power loading 15.5
lbs/hp (7.0 kg/hp); maximum speed 110 mph (176 km/h); cruising speed 90
mph (144 km/h); landing speed 45 mph (72 km/h), initial rate of climb
600 ft (183 m) per minute; service ceiling 15,000 ft (4575 m)
Type: Two Seat
Light Liaison, Observation/Reconnaissance & Ambulance
Pilot and an Observer in an enclosed cabin seating two in tandem with
dual controls. Observer's seat may face forward or aft and when in the
latter position a small table for maps, etc. is provided.
Gilbert Taylor of The Taylorcraft Aircraft Corporation of America
(formerly Taylorcraft Aviation Company). At that time William T. Piper
was the company's Secretary and Treasurer. In 1935 the company ran into
financial difficulties and William T. Piper bought the manufacturing
and marketing rights for the Taylor Cub. In 1937 he formed the Piper
Aircraft Corporation to continue to produce the aircraft.
The Piper Aircraft Corporation at Lock Haven, Pennsylvania.
65 hp (48 kW) Continental (A-65) O-170-3 4-cylinder horizontally
opposed air-cooled piston engine.
(L-4A,4B,4C,4D,4H/J-3 Cub Trainer) Maximum speed 87 mph (139 km/h);
cruising speed 75 mph (120 km/h); service ceiling 11,500 ft (3510 m);
initial rate of climb 450 ft (140 m) per minute; stalling speed 39 mph
Fuel: (L-4A,4B,4C,4D,4H/J-3 Cub Trainer) 12 US gallons (45.42
liters) in the fuselage behind a fireproof bulkhead. (L4-E/J-4 Cub
Coupe) 16 US gallons (60.56 litres) in the fuselage. (L-4F,4G/J-5
Cruiser) 25 US gallons (28.8 litres) in the fuselage.
(L-4A,4B,4C,4D,4H/J-3 Cub Trainer) 260 miles (416 km) with internal
fuel. (L-4E/J-4 Cub Coupe) Cruising range 455 miles (735 km) with
internal fuel. (L-4F,4G/J-5 Cruiser) Cruising range 450 miles (720 km)
with internal fuel. (HE-1,AE-1/J-5C Cruiser) Range 264 miles (422 km).
(with optional radio) 740 lbs (336 kg); empty (without radio) 695 lbs
(315.5 kg) with a normal take-off weight of 1,220 lbs (554 kg). Wing
loading 6.7 lbs/sq ft (32.7 kg/sq m); power loading 18.7 lbs/hp (8.5
35 ft 2 1/2 in (10.70 m); length 22 ft 4 1/2 in (6.83 m); height 6 ft 8
in (1.90 m); wing area 178.5 sq ft (16.5 sq m).
J-3 Cub, J-3C-50 Cub, J-3C-65 Cub, J-3F-50, J-3F-65, J-3L-50, J-3L-65,
J-3P-50, YO-59/O-59 (L-4), O-59A (L-4A), L-4B, L-4C (J-3C-65 Cub
Trainer), L-4D (J-3F-65 Cub Trainer), L-4E (J-4E Cub Coupe), L-4F (J-5A
Cruiser), L-4G (J-5B Cruiser), L-4H, L-4J, TG-8, XLNP-1, NE-1, NE-2,
HE-1/AE-1 (J-5C Cruiser).
Standard communication equipment in all except the L-4A (which had
none) and the L-4B (which had reduced radio equipment).
Unit: High wing braced monoplane with the wings attached direct to
the built-in centre-section on top of the fuselage abd braced to the
lower longerons by steel-tube Vee struts. Wing structure consists of
spruce spars and aluminium-alloy type ribs, with the whole structure
being covered with fabric. Frise-type ailerons operated by cables. The
fuselage was a rectangular structure of welded steel tubes with fabric
covering. The Tail Unit was a normal monoplane type with welded
steel-tube framework covered with fabric.
Divided non-retractable type, consisting of two side Vees and two
half-axles hinged to cabane below the fuselage. Rubber cord springing
at top anchorages of axles. Wheel landing gear may be replaced by twin
Edo all-metal floats.
delivery (J-3C-65/YO-59/O-59) early 1941.
United States (USAAF, USN, USAAC). Many countries used the aircraft
post-war with Piper building military and civil types until 1981.