L18C Piper Cub

The history of this great little machine started with the development of the L4 which was based on an earlier design by William T. Piper, the Piper J-3 Cub. This L4 military version played a decisive roll in all WWII theatres as Air Observation Posts and they became truly remarkable "warbirds". After the war, the model was developed further through the Piper PA-11 into the PA 18 with an upgraded power plant and fully closed engine cowling.

They arrived in the Belgian Air Force from mid 1952 onwards as part of the MDAP-support programme. A total of 157 Piper Super Cubs were delivered. After a restructuring of the armed forces on April 1st, 1954 the Super Cubs were assigned to the Belgian Army Light Aviation and changed their bright yellow colour scheme to a camouflage livery.

Out of all the aircraft, 25 were never used operationally (L88 to L112) and were passed on to Denmark (L88 to L103) and the Netherlands (L104 to L112). The L18C's that went to Denmark, were flown to Vandel by Belgian pilots from Brasschaat Air Base. More aircraft were stored for several years before taken on charge. In 1963 , the majority of the aircraft got a new sequential registraton number. The result was that several registrations were issued twice, which did not contribute to a clear picture.

During its operational career a demonstration team was formed, named "The Pipettes". All remaining Pipers were replaced by Sud Aviation Alouette II helicopters by June 1970, although for many of them this not mean the end of their flying career as several of them started a second life in civilian aeroclubs all across Europe.

This example is an L18C in Belgian Army colour scheme marked L56 based at the Royal Belgian Defence Aeroclub at EBFS.

L56(1) c/n 18-3130
Frame-nr: 18-3102
USAF-Serial: 53-4730

Previous Identity: OL-L56

00/05/54: taken on charge
17/06/58: cat.?
00/11/58: struck of charge
15/09/75: registered OO-HBQ Aeroclub FBA, Butzweilerhof/Werl
18/01/90: CofA expired
21/09/04: noted stored Bierset
21/11/05: registered OO-HBQ Belgian Defence Aeroclub, Liège
current: operational as OO-HBQ, wears Belgian Army colorscheme as 'OL-L56'


Power Plant 90 HP Rolls Royce
Width 35 ft 4 "
Length 22 ft 5 "
Wing Surface 178.5 sq ft
Gross Weight 1500 lbs
Empty Weight 825 lbs
Seats 2
Maximum Speed 120 kts
Cruising Speed 82 kts
Service Ceiling 15.750 ft
Range 315 NM