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L-4 "Grasshopper"
serial number 43-753


  • Wing Span — 35'3"

  • Length — 22'

  • Height — 6'8"

  • Maximum Speed — 85 M.P.H.

  • Service Ceiling — 9,300 Ft.

  • Range — 190 Miles

  • Crew — 2

  • Engine — 1 x 65 H.P. Continental 0-170 four cylinder air-cooled engine


Piper's successful civilian J-3 "Cub" design was selected by the U.S. Army as a light observation/liaison aircraft in 1941. Originally designated 0-59, it was later changed to L-4. With a gross weight of only 1200 lbs., and powered by a 65 h.p. Continental 0-170 engine, the L-4 could literally jump off the ground, earning the nickname "Grasshopper."

The Piper L-4 was engaged in all theaters of operations of the US Army during the Second World War. On June 6, 1944, it was engaged to correct the shots of the Allied Navy. Throughout the battle of Normandy, it continued to inform Allied gunners while participating in the transport of authorities. Particularly lightweight, it was capable of taking off over a very short distance and did not require any particular track liner. Used by the British as well, the Piper L-4 was also equipped with improvised supports or allowed the carrying of anti-tank rocket launchers (such as Bazooka), allowing bold ground attacks.

After the Second World War, the aircraft was used by the Americans during the Korean War, and it was also  used to evacuate casualties. France  used Piper L-4 during the Algerian war, and until 1953. Today, it is a vintage aircraft that regularly participates in the commemorations of the battles of the Second World War.

Information based on, “Travis Heritage Center” by Nick Veronico, copyright Travis AFB Historical Society and Travis AFB Heritage Center Foundation.

This book is available from the Travis Heritage Center gift shop.

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