Piper  Aircraft Maintenance and History

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Piper Aircraft, Inc., is a manufacturer of general aviation aircraft, located at the Vero Beach Municipal Airport in Vero Beach, Florida. Along with Beechcraft and Cessna, it is considered one of the "Big Three" in the field of general aviation manufacturing. Between its founding in 1927 and the end of 2009, the company had produced 144,000 aircraft in 160 certified models, of which 90,000 are still flying.

The company was 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 Taylor Brothers Aircraft Corporation in April 1928, shortly before Gordon Taylor died in a airplane 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 oil industry engineer William T. Piper. The move was completed in September, 1929.

In late 1930, the company filed for bankruptcy and William T. Piper purchased the assets of the company for $761.[3] 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.[3] Piper, often called the "Henry Ford of Aviation", firmly believed a simple-to-operate, low-cost, private airplane would flourish, even in the darkest depths of the Great Depression.[4] This aircraft was the E-2 Cub.

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 the company relocated to an abandoned silk mill in Lock Haven, Pennsylvania. In 1937, it was renamed Piper Aircraft Corporation.

Piper continued operations in Lock Haven throughout World War II, building military versions of its J-3 Cub as the L-4 Grasshopper. A total of 5,941 powered aircraft were built by the company for the US armed forces during the war, as well as training gliders, and aircraft components for other manufacturers, but its main contribution to the war effort was in the fabrication of steel masts for mounting radar antennas. In 1946 the company opened a new factory in Ponca City, Oklahoma and transferred production of the Cub from Lock Haven. That year Piper led the American industry in light aircraft production. Almost 7,800 of the 35,000 civil aircraft built in the United States that year were Pipers, but a strike led to a shortage of steel tubing, interrupting production, and 1,900 workers had to be suspended as a result.

The following year the postwar general aviation boom ended. Piper's output reached 3,500 aircraft, less than half its 1946 total, and the company suffered an operating loss of more than $560,000. The board of directors replaced William Piper with William Shriver, a former Chrysler executive. Under Shriver the product line was expanded with the introduction of the PA-14 Family Cruiser and PA-15 Vagabond. In 1948, with two thirds of its workforce laid off, Piper only lost $75,000, but it found itself no longer the leader in a shrinking market, falling behind Cessna, which itself only delivered 1,600 aircraft; the Ponca City factory was closed. At the end of 1948 Piper bought the Stinson Aircraft Company for $3 million and Shriver left the company.

Reference: Wikipedia

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