History of Piper Aircraft: Piloting the Future of Aviation
Piper Aircraft made its mark in aviation by being one of the biggest companies to produce small airplanes. Its complicated history is a rocky road brought upon by the dreams of two brothers and the eventual takeover of a savvy, ambitious tycoon.
Let’s take a look at this airplane manufacturer’s humble beginnings and how it changed the future of flight.
The Taylor Brothers
Piper Aircraft was once Taylor Brothers Aircraft Corporation, established in 1927 by the Taylor Brothers. Unfortunately, just a year into the aircraft company’s inception, Gordon Taylor died during an airplane demonstration.
After his death, his brother Clarence would take a partnership with William Piper, one of their first investors. A successful business mogul, Piper seized an opportunity after seeing the company’s potential. Little did they know then that this small partnership would catapult Piper into being one of the biggest names in aviation.
William Piper’s Takeover
Just as the partnership was taking place, Taylor Brothers Aircraft had to file for bankruptcy after the stock market’s devastating decline in 1929. Little by little, Piper had to chip in and save the company from completely going under.
Eventually, Piper had reigned over several of Taylor Brothers Aircraft’s business decisions. This would often lead to a clash between the partners. Soon, the pair would separate to create their own companies: Piper Aircraft and Taylorcraft. Although Piper was a talented businessman, he couldn’t deny that most of his successful sales were adapted from Taylor’s creations.
The Rise of the Piper Aircraft
As the United States anxiously entered World War II, the demand for aircraft saw a significant uptick. Piper took advantage of this and was able to monopolize the aviation market.
A vast majority of the pilots in WWII made use of Piper Cubs, one of the best-selling planes from Piper Aircraft and one of Clarence Taylor’s designs. Even post-war, Piper was able to secure the company’s future by targeting companies who would use aircraft as a means of occupation.
In the ‘60s, Piper Aircraft expanded to new facilities and would create many of the beloved aircraft we know today, such as the Piper Apache, the Cheyenne, and more. Its success attracted many investors and buyers and was eventually purchased by Bangor Punta Corporation.
The New and Improved Piper Aircraft
After William Piper’s death at 89 years old, the company saw a change in leadership multiple times. At some point, they went bankrupt, having to rebrand as “The New Piper Aircraft.” Although it held a promising future after its rebrand, including a partnership with Honda, it would once again face economic struggle.
In 2007, the Great Recession plagued the economy, leading to budget cuts and a decline in the workforce. These factors greatly impacted the airline industry, pulling Piper Aircraft along with it. That is until the company was bought by Imprimis, an investment strategy company from the Government of Brunei.
Since this acquisition, the company was able to get back on its feet, leading us to the Piper Aircraft that we know today.
Like an airplane under turbulence, it was not smooth sailing for Piper Aircraft. The company grew from a small company developed by two brothers and is now one of the most successful manufacturers of airplanes.
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