Piper Aircraft, known for its long history of producing iconic airplanes, has played a major role in shaping general aviation by introducing innovative aircraft designs that have made flying accessible for every type of pilot. MotoArt is honored to partner with Piper Aircraft to introduce a trio of PlaneTags that pay homage to 85+ years of aviation history. Introducing the Piper Aviation PlaneTags series, beginning with the PA-28 Cherokee, PA-30 Twin Comanche, and PA-36 Pawnee Brave.
Piper Aircraft is a renowned American aircraft manufacturer that has left an indelible mark on the aviation industry. The company was founded by William T. Piper, an influential figure in the field, who played a pivotal role in making private aviation more accessible to the masses.
By National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution - Smithsonian Archives, Photo ID:SI-2004-11311, Public Domain, Link
William T. Piper, born in 1881, had a deep passion for aviation and recognized the immense potential of private aircraft. In 1927, he acquired the assets of the bankrupt Taylor Brothers Aircraft Corporation, a small aircraft manufacturer based in Bradford, Pennsylvania. Piper transformed the company into his vision and renamed it Taylor Aircraft Company.
Under Piper's guidance, the company introduced a series of light aircraft that became highly popular. One of their notable early designs was the E-2 Cub, which made its debut in 1930. The E-2 Cub was a two-seat, high-wing monoplane that offered exceptional performance, affordability, and ease of use. It quickly gained recognition and became synonymous with the Piper brand.
From Piper Aviation Museum archives
In 1937, Taylor Aircraft Company went bankrupt due to financial difficulties, but Piper was determined to keep his dream alive. He purchased the company's assets at auction and formed the Piper Aircraft Corporation. The newly established company continued the production of the successful E-2 Cub and introduced improved versions such as the J-2 and J-3 Cub.
During World War II, Piper Aircraft played a crucial role in supporting the war effort. The company produced various aircraft for military purposes, including the L-4 Grasshopper, which served as a liaison and observation aircraft. The L-4 Grasshopper's outstanding performance and versatility earned it a distinguished reputation.
After the war, Piper Aircraft resumed civilian production and experienced significant growth. The post-war era saw the introduction of several iconic models, such as the PA-18 Super Cub and the PA-23 Apache. These aircraft showcased Piper's commitment to innovation, safety, and reliability, further solidifying their position in the aviation market.
Over the years, Piper Aircraft continued to expand its product line, introducing new models like the popular PA-28 Cherokee and the PA-34 Seneca. The company became synonymous with producing high-quality, affordable aircraft that appealed to private pilots, flight schools, and aviation enthusiasts worldwide.
Today, Piper Aircraft remains a prominent player in the aviation industry, continuing to develop and manufacture innovative aircraft. With a rich legacy and a commitment to excellence, the company's founder, William T. Piper, succeeded in his vision of making aviation more accessible and enjoyable for everyone. Piper Aircraft's contribution to general aviation and its iconic aircraft designs have left an enduring impact on the history and development of private aircraft.
The Piper PA-28 Cherokee is a four-seat, low-wing monoplane that encompasses a range of models, each with its own unique features and capabilities. This iconic and versatile aircraft has played a significant role in general aviation since it was Introduced in the late 1960s, quickly gaining popularity for its reliability, performance, and affordability.
The PA-28 Cherokee series has become synonymous with dependable and easy-to-fly aircraft, making it a popular choice for flight schools, private pilots, and recreational flyers alike. The aircraft's stable flight characteristics, spacious cabin, and excellent visibility contribute to its reputation as a comfortable and practical choice for both short trips and long-distance flights. It has been utilized for a wide range of aviation roles, including personal transportation, flight training, instrument training, and even aerial photography. The aircraft's design allows for various engine options, ranging from the modestly powered PA-28-140 to the more powerful PA-28R Arrow with retractable landing gear.
This 2011 video from Piper Aircraft celebrates 50 years of the Piper Cherokee, the “workhorse of general aviation.”
N6428R was built in 1966 as PA-28-140 Cherokee Cruiser and used primarily as a flight trainer. In 2017, Hurricane Irma landed off the Atlantic coast, the third-strongest Atlantic hurricane at landfall ever recorded at the time. Its powerful storm surge brought severe flooding and damage to Florida, with N6428R as one of its many casualties. Hurricane force winds caused a storm surge, marinating N6428R with salt water. It was retired after a total loss, but given a new purpose by MotoArt in 2023.
The Piper PA-28 PlaneTags are numbered in a series of 3,000 tags and will initially be available in the following colors:
The PA-30 Twin Comanche is a versatile aircraft that can accommodate up to four occupants. Its twin-engine setup provides enhanced power and redundancy, making it well-suited for both personal and commercial use. The aircraft's performance capabilities include a cruising speed of around 200 knots and a range of approximately 1,000 nautical miles, allowing for efficient and comfortable travel. With its low-wing configuration and retractable landing gear, the Twin Comanche quickly gained recognition for its sleek design, performance, and efficiency.
Piper designed the Twin Comanche with a focus on efficiency and safety. The aircraft features an advanced avionics suite, including autopilot systems, which contribute to a smooth and controlled flight experience. Its versatility has made it suitable for various applications, including personal transportation, business travel, and even air taxi operations. The PA-30 Twin Comanche has also been utilized for multi-engine flight training, as its handling characteristics provide a valuable learning experience for pilots transitioning to twin-engine aircraft.
PA-30 production ended for good in 1972, when torrential rains from Tropical Storm Agnes caused substantial flooding from the Susquehanna River. The Piper manufacturing plant in Lock Haven, Pennsylvania was flooded, destroying the tooling necessary for PA-30 production as well as airframes and parts. Instead of rebuilding the tooling, Piper chose to stop producing the Comanche and Twin Comanche models, instead focusing on the newer designs being produced at Piper’s Vero Beach, Florida plant, the PA-34 Seneca and PA-28R-200 Arrow.
N8526Y was constructed in 1968 as an original PA-30 Twin Comanche. It was one of only about 2,200 Twin Comanches manufactured, with its tooling lost due to Tropical Storm Agnes. After retirement, it has landed among the notable PlaneTags aircraft.
The Piper PA-30 PlaneTags are numbered to 1,400 and will be available in the following colors:
The Piper PA-36 Pawnee Brave has played a significant role in the agricultural aviation industry. Introduced in the 1970s, the PA-36 Pawnee Brave is a rugged and versatile single-engine aircraft primarily used for crop dusting and aerial application work. It is specifically designed to meet the demands of agricultural operations, offering excellent maneuverability, durability, and efficiency.
The Pawnee Brave features a high-wing configuration and a spacious cockpit that provides the pilot with excellent visibility, crucial for accurate application of agricultural products. Its sturdy construction and powerful engine enable it to carry a substantial payload, making it highly efficient in covering large areas of farmland in a single flight.
Equipped with specialized spraying equipment, the PA-36 Pawnee Brave can efficiently distribute fertilizers, pesticides, and other chemicals with precision, ensuring maximum coverage and effectiveness. Its ability to operate from unimproved airstrips and perform low-level maneuvers is particularly advantageous in reaching fields that are difficult to access by ground-based equipment.
While technological advancements in the agricultural aviation industry have introduced newer aircraft models with enhanced capabilities, the PA-36 Pawnee Brave continues to be valued for its proven track record and contributions to the agricultural community. Its enduring presence is a testament to Piper Aircraft's commitment to providing effective and reliable solutions for specialized aviation needs.
N3742E was constructed as a PA-36 Pawnee Brave 300. It was damaged beyond repair in 1986, while releasing an agricultural chemical load. After sitting for 37 years, it was acquired by MotoArt to create Piper PA-36 PlaneTags.
The Piper PA-36 PlaneTags are numbered in a series of 1,200 and will be available in the following colors:
MotoArt owner Dave Hall has wanted to create Piper Aircraft PlaneTags for several years, but it has been especially at the forefront of his list after being at so many air shows over the past two years. “Piper is the backbone of general aviation, so it seems fitting to bring a special triple Piper PlaneTags release to Oshkosh,” says Hall. “We are incredibly honored to partner with Piper Aircraft to make this happen in time for EAA AirVenture.”
The team has been working around the clock to manufacture the Piper PlaneTags, alongside other PlaneTags projects for clients and upcoming releases. From cutting panels off the plane itself, to stamping, lasering, polishing, assembling, as well as the creative design and writing and other behind the scenes work, the Piper PlaneTags have been three times the effort but well worth it.
Grab a set of Piper PlaneTags for your collection, or to give to your favorite Piper pilot. They will be on sale at planetags.com beginning July 20, 2023, and will also be available at the MotoArt PlaneTags booth at EAA AirVenture .
According to the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum , there are around 591,000 civilian pilots in the United States, with 70% flying general aviation planes. Don’t miss these general aviation icons for your collection.