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Piper Aircraft - 75 Years Young

Written by  Roger Pepperell
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November 2012


It started back in the mid-1920s when brothers Gilbert and Gordon Taylor (along with their father, Arthur) purchased a surplus Curtiss JN-4 aircraft and learned to fly. The Taylors started a barnstorming business, the North Star Aerial Service Corp. in Rochester, N.Y.

In 1927, the Taylors were in the aircraft manufacturing business. Their first aircraft was a two-seat (side-by-side) monoplane known as the A-2 Chummy. Unfortunately, Gordon was killed during an airshow in 1928, but Gilbert vowed to continue in the aviation business.

He built a new model—the B-2 Chummy—and named his business the Taylor Brothers Aircraft Co. Thinking of aircraft production, Gilbert realized that the Rochester facility was too small and looked for larger premises.

In the winter of 1928 he moved to Bradford in northern Pennsylvania. Bradford had been an oil-rich town, so new businesses were welcomed. On the town council was a certain William Thomas Piper, who joined the board of Taylor Brothers.

In 1929, Gilbert entered the Guggenenheim International Safe Aircraft Competition with a reworked Chummy, the C-2. The C-2 had variable-incidence wings. (This design feature is also called a variable-sweep wing, swept wing, or “swing wing.” —Ed.)

The B-2 Chummy did not sell well—it was heavy and expensive—and Taylor Brothers Aircraft Co. went bust in the summer of 1930.

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