Aircraft Welding Diaries: History of Piper

Knisley Welding caters to the aircraft exhaust system for some of Piper’s aircraft. Let’s take a look into the brief history of Piper and how it has come about, how it has contributed to the aircraft industry, and how it is doing now.


Piper’s Foundation

Piper was founded by Clarence Gilbert Taylor and Gordon Taylor as the Taylor Brothers Aircraft Manufacturing Company in September of the year 1927, in Rochester, New York. By April of the year 1928, it was renamed Taylor Brothers Aircraft Corporation. Gordon died shortly thereafter in an aircraft accident.

Through William Piper’s financing, and a larger facility, the aircraft company was transferred to Bradford in Pennsylvania. The transfer was completed in September of 1929. William Piper is an oil industry engineer from Bradford.

William Piper takes over

Taylor Brothers Aircraft filed for bankruptcy in 1930. William Piper bought the assets of the company and renamed the company to Taylor Aircraft Company. Piper became the corporate secretary and treasurer while he retained Clarence Taylor as the President. Piper’s ideology for aircraft is that what will flourish are simple-to-operate and low-cost private airplanes. He believed that such a plane would shine despite the Great Depression. With this in mind, the E-2 Cub was created.

Taylor Aircraft becomes Piper Aircraft

Due to some feud with Clarence Taylor, William Piper bought out Taylor in December of 1935. Taylor left and formed the Taylorcraft Aircraft Company. A fire destroyed the factory in Bradford on March 16, 1937, so they relocated to Lock Haven in Pennsylvania. They then renamed Taylor Aircraft Company to Piper Aircraft Company.

Piper during World War II and the Korean War

During the 2nd World War, Piper manufactured L-4 Grasshoppers, a military variant of its J-3 Cub. Almost 6,000 of the US armed forces aircraft were made by Piper Aircraft. They also opened a new factory in Ponca City Oklahoma. Piper flourished in the creation of civil aircraft during the period as almost a quarter of all the civilian planes built in 1946 were from Piper.

The glory was not to be held by Piper for so long because, in 1947, production was less than half of just the previous year. This signaled the end of the general aviation boom brought about by the war. Due to the significant losses, the board of Directors of Piper Aircraft replaced William Piper with a former executive from Chrysler, William Shriver. During Shriver’s time, the PA-14 Family Cruiser and the PA-15 Vagabond were introduced.

In 1950, during the outbreak of the Korean War, Piper was tasked to manufacture lots of military aircraft again. William Piper was reinstated. They developed the PA-23 Apache during this time. In 1955, Piper acquired property rights at the Vero Beach Municipal Airport.

Significant Events from the 60s to the Present

A lot has happened from the 60’s until the present time. Some of these are:

  • Piper Aircraft was sold to Bangor Punta Corporation
  • The Lock Haven facility was nearly destroyed by Hurricane Agnes in 1972.
  • Bangor Punta was acquired by Lear Siegler in 1984.
  • Forstman Little acquired Lear Siegler in 1986.
  • Forstman Little sold Piper Aircraft to M. Stuart Millar in 1987.
  • Piper filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy then emerged as the New Piper Aircraft Company in 1995, and was sold to Newco Pac, inc.
  • 94% of Piper’s voting equity was bought by American Capital Strategies in 2003 and dropped the “new” in the name.
  • In 2009, the company was sold to Imprimis, a Singapore-based investment strategy funded by the Government of Brunei.

For more information regarding Piper aircraft, or if you are in need of aircraft exhaust systems, aircraft exhaust parts, or aircraft exhaust repairs for a Piper plane, just give Knisley Welding a call and we will give you just what you need!