History of Piper Aircraft
This company was originally founded in 1927 as the Taylor Brothers Aircraft Manufacturing Company. It was later renamed in 1928 as the Taylor Brothers Aircraft Corporation. They moved from Rochester, New York to Bradford, Pennsylvania due to the promise of a much larger facility, as well as the promise of investments from local businessmen.
The company filed for bankruptcy in the late 1930s, allowing William T. Piper to purchase all of the company’s assets. Piper took control of the company, but allowed Clarence Gilbert Taylor, one of the founders, to remain the president. However, Piper and Taylor clashed, and Piper bought him out in late 1935.
Throughout the 1940s, Piper continued operations building 5,941 aircraft that were designed for the US armed forces. They also created aircraft components and training gliders, as well as steel masts designed for use with mounting radar antennas.
The Korean War stimulated more production at Piper, who was contracted for large orders of the Cub. During the 1970s, there was discussion of a merger, but the deal with Swearingen was never completed. Around 100 aircraft were destroyed in the Lock Haven facility due to flooding from Hurricane Agnes. Many tools were also destroyed at this time, causing Piper to cease producing the PA-24 Comanche.
During the 1980s and 1990s, Piper continued producing aircraft and opening new divisions. However, the company became unprofitable when Piper cut prices in response to increasing insurance premiums, causing them to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
Piper Aircraft in the Modern Era
Piper is still creating aircraft to this day, although they have had to negotiate difficult deals for incentives from the state of Florida and have struggled through multiple layoffs. In 2015, Piper laid off 15% to 20% of all employees in response to falling demand throughout the world.
April 2019 brought good news, as Piper received a large order for up to 240 new planes for L3 Commercial Aviation. These are to be a mix of Piper Seminoles and Piper Archers.
May 21, 2019, Piper announced that it was going to restructure and expand sales and service for three independent dealers in the United States. The three dealers affected are Western Aircraft, KCAC Aviation, and Cutter Aviation.
Crashes involving Piper Aircraft
One of the most notorious Piper aircraft crashes occurred January 21, 2019. A Piper PA-46 Malibu was in transit from France to Wales and crashed in the English Channel. Football player Emiliano Sala was on the flight and was killed. An investigation was opened into the crash to determine the cause of the crash, as well as whether or not the pilot had the appropriate license to fly.
Piper has also been sued due to problems with their planes. When a 25-year-old was killed on April 4, 2018, due to the plane losing the left wing, the father later sued the company. The lawsuit claimed that Piper knew about the problems with their planes and allowed them to fly anyway.
Where Is Piper Aircraft Based?
The headquarters for Piper Aircraft is in Vero Beach, Florida.
Where Are Piper Aircraft Planes Made?
Piper Aircraft manufactures its plains in Vero Beach, Florida, where it offers tours for anyone interested in the history of the company, as well as its future.
There are multiple support and service centers for Piper Aircraft that are scattered throughout the world. Many are in Europe and the United States, but there are also some in Africa, Asia, Australia, and South America.
How Many Employees Does Piper Aircraft Have?
Piper’s staff in Vero Beach, FL has fluctuated between 700 and 750 people for years, but topped 1,000 at the end of 2018, thanks to the addition of around 200 more employees.
Who Is the CEO of Piper Aircraft?
The current CEO of Piper Aircraft is Simon Caldecott, and the CFO is John Calcagno.