Piper J-3 Cub airplane model. The simple and economical Cub is one of the most well loved light aircraft of all time, and helped make flying an affordable pastime for thousands of pilots in the years surrounding World War 2.
The Piper Cub began life as the Taylor E2 Tiger Kitten, which was powered by a tiny 15kW (20hp) Brownbach engine. The Tiger Kitten was grossly underpowered and the Taylor Brothers' Airplane Company went bankrupt before a more powerful engine could be found. Businessman William Piper, who had made large profits from the oil industry, purchased a majority holding in the Taylor company in 1931 for $US1000. The company continued building derivatives of the E2 under the Taylor banner through the 1930s. The first aircraft to be called Cub was the E2 powered by a Continental A40. Small numbers were built from 1931.
In 1937 Piper adopted his own name for the company, and the first J3 Cubs were built. The J3 was an improved J2, resulting from a redesign of the three cylinder radial powered H2 by Walter Janouneay. The affordable J3 Cub became a runaway sales success and several thousand were sold before the USA's entry into WW2 saw all J3 production built for the US Army as the L4. Prewar Piper also built the J4 Cub Coupe with side by side seating and the three seat J5 Cub Cruiser.