Piper Cub and the Reed Clipped Wing ConversionWritten by Frank Baldwin
In the early 1930s businessman William T. Piper became involved with the Taylor Aircraft Company. C.G. Taylor designed a light aircraft with steel framework, tubular struts, rubber shock cord landing gear and wood wings with spruce spars.
The first production Cub, called the E-2, was soon flying with the A-40 Continental engine of nearly 40 horsepower. With a gross weight of 925 pounds, it took off in a few hundred feet and flew at nearly 75 miles per hour. The flyaway price was $1,325 and was licensed by the Department of Commerce in 1931.
The ubiquitous J-3 appeared in 1937 sporting an improved 115 cubic inch A-40 with the full 40 horsepower, balanced rudder, more instruments and an aluminum sleeve around the exhaust stack to provide some heat for the cabin and carburetor. Brakes and a steerable tailwheel soon appeared and the familiar "Cub Yellow" paint with black trim.
Engines were being improved, new designs from Franklin and Lycoming were providing from forty to fifty horsepower. By 1939, all three engine manufactures were producing 65 hp engines which made the stock Cub, as we usually see it today.