It must have been evident to William T. Piper that his company's popular line of affordable light aircraft was wearing a little thin at the marketplace in the mid-1950s. While buyers had welcomed the low-cost tube and fabric designs in the immediate postwar years when not much else was available, they began moving toward more sophisticated equipment as new and faster all-metal models were introduced by Beech, Cessna, Navion and a host of other manufacturers.
Not a deliberate innovator, Bill Piper first turned to existing models from freelance designers for inspiration. In 1952 he flew to Wichita and made an offer for the M-20 design by Al Mooney, but was turned down. He also expressed interest in John Thorpe's Sky Scooter and Fred Weick's Ercoupe, but there were no takers.
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