Tn-2 Tn-1

Grasshopper - $3.95

This was basically, the Cub with more overhead windows allowing the pilot to check for traffic directly over the aircraft with minimal effort.It was used in the European and Pacific theaters doing any job assigned.In a few cases, they were actually credited with destroying enemy fighters

Piper L-4 Grasshopper


This was basically, the Cub with more overhead windows allowing the pilot to check for traffic directly over the aircraft with minimal effort.

It was used extensively in both the European and Pacific theaters doing any job assigned.

In a few cases, they were actually credited with destroying enemy fighters!


Piper L-4 GrasshopperPrimarily to serve at elimination training bases in World War II the Navy acquired 230 Piper NE-Is (26196-26425), basically similar to the Army L-4s with Continental 0-170 engines. Twenty NE-2s (29669- 29688) were similar.

The Navy also acquired, in 1942, 100 HE-I (30197- 30296) ambulance versions of the Piper 1-SC with Lycoming 0-235-2 engines and capable of carrying one stretcher plus the pilot. These aircraft were redesignated AE-l when the H designation was assigned to helicopters in 1943.

As war spread around the world at the beginning of the 1940s, the U.S. military, dominated by old soldiers who expected to fight the next war exactly as they fought the last one, had to be convinced that the requirements for certain weapons needed to be redefined. An example was the Army's observation airplanes, latter-day versions of the World War I deHavilland DH-4.

On the eve of America's entry into World War II, Aeronca, Piper, and Taylorcraft sent loaner airplanes to the Army to demonstrate maneuvers and prove the versatility of these little crafts. As a result, the North American O-47s and Curtiss O-52s-with 600 to 900 horsepower- would soon be replaced by 65-horsepower 0-57 T-Crafts, 0-58 Aeronca's, and 0-59 Pipers (later designated as L-2s, L-3s, and L-4s, respectively).

The many tasks performed by the little liaison airplanes during that and a couple of subsequent wars is another (proud) story. I mention them because they lead us to another, little-known, Piper.

The Navy's Piper Cruiser HE-i or also called AE-1


During World War II, other liaison aircraft appeared. The Vultee L-5, with 185 hp, had no civil sister, and the L-1-originally the 0-49-was a big 300-hp Stinson which also had no civil counterpart. The L-6 through L-13 were mostly prototypes, with power ranging from 65 to 600 hp. Which brings us to the L-14.

The Army ordered 850 Piper L-14s in 1945, but only five were produced before the war ended, and the remaining 845 were cancelled. These five were originally designated YL-14s, the "Y" (for service test) later dropped. Actually, the L-14, although often described as a modified J-5C, was a new design, and it received a new Approved Type Certificate, apparently in anticipation of entering the civilian market when hostilities ended. It did not. The new, immediate postwar Piper was the PA-12 Super Cruiser.

Grasshopper HG-1


The L-14 had a large "greenhouse" that extended halfway to the vertical tail, beneath which was provision for two litter patients- one above the other-when the craft was used as an air ambulance. The L-14's most distinctive feature was its main landing gear, with a 75-inch tread and a long shock strut (anchored to the upper longer on) that utilized rubber biscuits in compression. The L-14's new 125-hp 0-290-C engine, with electric starter, was fully cowled. This airplane was the first Piper with flaps, and a 14-gallon fuel tank was mounted in each wing, feeding to a two-gallon header tank in the usual Piper location-in the fuselage ahead of the windshield. Tires were 7.00 x 6. A wind-driven generator on the belly charged the six-volt battery. The L-14 seated two side-by-side in front, and could carry a second passenger in the rear if no litter patients were aboard.

The 0-290-C installed in the L-14 was rated at 125 lip at 2,600 rpm (130 hp at 2800 rpm for takeoff). Aircraft length was 23 feet 5 inches; wingspan, 35 feet 10 inches; and height, 7 feet. Wing area was 180 sq. ft. Empty weight was 1,000 pounds; gross, 1,800 pounds; maximum speed, 115 mph; cruise, 100 mph; and stall (no flaps), 48 mph. Flaps lowered stall to 40 mph. Initial climb was 600 fpm; service ceiling, 12,000 feet; and cruising range, 300 statute miles (at 8 gph).

Anthony Sanchez seems to have the right combination of real nice models and professional photos. Thanks Anthony!

Piper Grasshopper
Piper Grasshopper

A two place tandem cockpit, dual-control, modified J-3 civilian light plane built by Piper Aircraft Corporation, Lock Haven, PA. Military models were designated the L-4B, L-4H, L-4J. This lightweight aircraft was among the most useful tactical aircraft of WWII. Dubbed"Grasshoppers" for their ability to fly into and out of small spaces, this military adaptation of the famous Piper J-3 Cub became the center of the toughest inter service turf fights of the war. General George S. Patton, Jr. played a major role in their introduction, a fact often overlooked in light of his other major accomplishments.

The L-4 had a 35 foot 2 inch wingspan, was 22 feet 3 inches long and 6 feet 8 inches high. It weighed about 760 lbs empty and 1,170lbs fully loaded. It was powered by a Continental 65 hp series A-65 four-cylinder horizontally opposed air-cooled engine. It carried 12gallons of high-grade automotive gasoline that gave it a range of 260 miles. Its maximum airspeed was 86 mph, and its operational ceiling was 12,000 feet.

The L-4 had a fabric-covered frame with wooden spar, metal-rib wings, a metal-tube fuselage, and a metal-tube empenage. Its fixed landing gear used "rubber-band" bungee cord shock absorbers and had hydraulic brakes and no flaps.Piper Grasshopper

The aircrafts flight instruments included an airspeed indicator, and altimeter, compass, and simple turn-and-bank indicator. It was equipped with a two-way radio, powered by a wind-driven generator.

The prototype L-4B flew in late 1941. At least 5,703 aircraft were built for military use with approximately 14,125 being built for civilian service. A few of these L-4B versions were field modified and fitted with bazooka anti-tank rockets. Major Charles Carpenter of the U.S. Fourth Army Division fitted six of these weapons under the wings of his L-4B and destroyed at least 5 German tanks.

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 reorganized as the Taylor Aircraft Company, W. 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 September1930, were acquired by W.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 tandem.

The TG-8 piper training gliderWhen first produced by Piper, the Piper J-3 Cub was powered by a 30-kW (40-hp) Continental A40-4 flat- four engine, but it was not long before the 37-kW (50-hp) ASO-4 or alternative A50-5 with dual ignition system was introduced on the .1-SC-DO 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 48-kW 165-hp) 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 alterative Franklin flat-four engines, the 37-kW (50-hp) 4AG-150 or 48-kW(65-hp)4AC-176, the Cub was designated J-3F-BO and J-3F-fi5 respectively and, similarly, with the Avco Lycoming 37-kW (50-hp) 0-145-Al or 48-kW (65-hp) 0.145-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 37-kW ISO-hp) Lenape Papoose 3-cylinder radial engine. Sales began to soar, and then in 1941 the US Army selected this aircraft for evaluation in artillery spotting/direction roles, and shortly afterwards ordered 40 similar aircraft under the designation 0-59. These aircraft were used by the US Army under virtually operational conditions during annual maneuvers at the end of 1941, and it was very soon discovered that the little Cub had far wider applications than at first anticipated.

Piper Grasshopper

This practical experience enabled the US Army to obtain an improved 0-59A which, powered bya48-kW(65-hpl Continental 0-170-3 flat-four engine, had better accommodation for the pilot and observer with an enhanced all-round view. Orders for O-59As totaled 948, but as a result of designation changes they entered service as L-4A aircraft, the earlier YO-59 and 0-59 aircraft then being redesignated L-4, and the type later received the name Grasshopper.

Subsequent procurements covered 980 of the L-4B version with reduced redlo equipment, 1,801 of the L-4H variant with only detail changes, and 1,680 of the 1-4.1 model which introduced a variable-pitch propeller. Civil Cubs impressed for Army service at the beginning of World War II included eight J-3C-65s and five J-3F-65s which were designated L-4C and L-4D respectively.

Piper was then requested to develop a training glider from the L-4 design and this, with power plant removed and the forward fuselage redesigned to accommodate an instructor and two pupils, was built to a total of 250 for the US Army under the designation TG-8. Three of these gliders were acquired for evaluation by the US Navy under the designation XLNP-l and this service also procured 230 NE-i aircraft which, basically similar to the US Army's L-4s, were used as primary trainers: 20 similar aircraft procured at a later date were designated NE-2. When, post-war, production was switched to the further improved Cub J-4 Coupe, Piper had built a total of 14,125 civil and 5,703 military.

Piper Grasshopper

The L-4 is the champion when it comes to both the numbers produced and those still surviving. It's impossible to disguise its Piper Cub roots, as the only noticeable alteration the military made was the addition of the glass down the sides and up over the top of the fuselage. Other than that, it's a stock J-3 Cub.

For that reason, it didn't pick up as much weight as the others and so flies noticeably better. Thousands of L4s were built and many were re windowed as J3s after the war. What can be said about a 1-3/L-4 that hasn't already been said a thousand times? With 65 hp, it's a great flying airplane although, as you'd expect. with two bodies on board it gives up a tremendous amount of performance.

All of the little L-birds land like feathers, but the L-4 is the easiest and softest to land. Put 10 knots of wind on the nose, and all of them seem to come to a halt before gently touching down.

The L-4 retained the metal ribs of the Cub, so only the spar is made of wood. The ribs, however, are trusses of T-sections formed of thin aluminum riveted and screwed together. If poorly treated, these rib trusses are easily damaged and attract corrosion in the corners.

Every part of the airplane is available from someone in new or restored condition, so keeping one flying is easy, but not cheap. The popularity of the airplane has made it the most expensive of the 65 hp Lbirds. They'll generally fall in about the same price range as good Cubs-$20,000 to $30,000.


Three view of the Piper L-4 Grasshopper in a delightful pink shade

Piper L-4