Lock Haven, PA

The Piper Aircraft Corporation at Lock Haven, PA
By Stephen F. Miller Jr.


In the early 1920's, William T. Piper, an oilman with no previous experience with airplanes, joined the Taylor Brothers Aircraft Company, located in Bradford, PA.

In 1931, after the Taylor Brothers Aircraft Company went bankrupt, Piper purchased the company's assets for $1,000 and quickly went about hiring a new engineer, Walter Jamouneau. Piper and Jamouneau developed the famous, bright yellow Piper Cub which went into production in 1934.


Piper Aircraft Corporation, Circa 1937

 
Following a devastating fire at the Bradford, PA plant in 1937, the company moved production to the old silk mill in Lock Haven and changed its name to the Piper Aircraft Corporation.

During World War II (1941-45), the Piper Cub was modified for military use. These planes were extensively used in training combat pilots with approximately four out of every five American World War II pilots getting their start with a Piper aircraft.

Just following WWII, sales of the Piper Cub and Super Cruisers soared however the market soon deflated by 1948 and many of aircraft manufacturers quit the field. Piper concentrated on the evolution of its popular Cruiser model, producing the Vagabond, the Pacer and then the TriPacer, which had a landing gear wheel on the nose, a departure for Piper from the conventional tail-wheel configuration.

Piper also developed the highly successful all metal, twin engine model, the Apache during this period. The Apache, built to meet the need of an aircraft with travel capabilities, could carry four and cover a respectable distance, even in adverse weather.


Piper Assembly Line at Lock Haven, PA


In 1984, Piper Aircraft Corporation closed its doors at its Lock Haven plant and moved it production to its Vero Beach, Florida facilities. Piper still manufactures planes at its Vero Beach facilities under the name The New Piper Aircraft, Incorporated.

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