L-4J Grasshopper 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".

The L-4 was a light observation and liaison aircraft adapted for military use from the Piper J-3 "Cub," a popular private airplane developed in the late 1930s. The primary difference between the civil and military versions is the enlarged window area in the rear cabin to allow better observation. Produced in various models, the L-4 was used by both the U.S. Army and Navy, whose designation for the aircraft was NE-1. During World War II, the Grasshopper served admirably in its primary role of airborne artillery spotting. Flying over the battlefield, the L-4's observer would spot enemy artillery and troop positions, radio the information to Allied ground forces who could then direct artillery or air strikes on the enemy. L-4s were so effective at silencing enemy artillery that they became a favorite with Allied ground forces. The Grasshopper served in all theaters of World War II and in both Korea and Vietnam.

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.

This 369SQN L-4J was manufactured in 1944.


Power Plant 65 HP Continental
Width 35 ft 3 "
Length 22 ft 3 "
Wing Surface 178.5 sq ft
Gross Weight 1220 lbs
Empty Weight 680 lbs
Seats 2
Maximum Speed 100 kts
Cruising Speed 65 kts
Service Ceiling 11.500 ft
Range 220 NM