Piper L-4H


Timelapse 1944-2014
Timelapse 1944-2014

This Piper arrived under U.S. Air Force number 43-30036 in January 1944 in England. She was assigned to the 8th Air Force.

She carries the 12th TRS (Tactical and Reconnaissance Squadron) colours: blue and white tiles on the top of the fin and the nose.MapWWII

At the end of the second world war, American Forces returns to the US and the Piper L-4 are left behind and given to the local Allied governments.

43-30036 thus passed into the hands of the Belgian authorities and began her civilian life in Belgium, within ’the Royal Antwerpen Aéroclub , registered OO - JOE.

An Englishman bought the aircraft in the 1970s.


Restored to her original colors by the vintage restoration Company Sky 4 Aviation in England, she returned to France late 2013.

She is classified on the French register of collection aircraft in April 2014.









The 12th TRS

The 12th TRS during the Second World War: From Operation Overlord to the advance to the East with General Patton”

Insignia of the 12th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron
Insignia of the 12th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron

12th TRS is a squadron of the US Air Force dedicated to tactical reconnaissance.
It was equipped with a diverse fleet during the second World War: A - 20 Havoc, 1942

P51 Mustang of the 12th TRS
P51 Mustang of the 12th TRS

P 51/F-6 c Mustang, 1942 then P-51/F-6 d Mustang, 1943-1946
Spitfire PR Mk XI, 1942-1944
L-4 Grasshopper, 1942-1943
DB-7 and A-20 Havoc, 1943

Upon their arrival in England late 1942, pilots followed intensive training with the RAF.
The squadron became quickly operational and positioned on 8 different bases before D-Day.

12th TRS had a major role in the photography of the beaches of Normandy in light of the alloy debarqument.



















Find all the photos in the gallery





From J3 to L-4

© Jean-Marie Urlacher
© Jean-Marie Urlacher

The Piper Cub, (Piper J3) is a light aircraft , built from 1937 to 1947 in the United States by Piper Aircraft.
It is a tandem Aircraft (two-seater iwth seats one behind the other). It was initially merely intended for pilots training . But thanks to its simplicity and low cost, it became one of the most popular and well-known aircraft of all times. This is not without remembering what the Ford T is to the automobile.
L-4 stretcher When the American Army sought a liaison and observation aircraft, Piper Aircraft modified its Piper J3, expanding significantly the window surface and the aircraft received the appellation of O-59 (1941), then L-4 (from April 1942), and NE-1 (within the U. S. Navy).

The L-4 was used extensively in World War II
Reconnaissance missions, transporting personnel and sensitive equipment, artillery fire adjustment, medical evacuation of wounded soldiers.

During the liberation of France in 1944, the slow speed of the L-4 and its maneuverability made them ideal observation platforms to find the German tanks hidden in ambuscade in the Normandy bocage.

On August 22nd 1944, around 10:30, Leclerc took place on board his Piper and flew to Laval to meet with General Bradley, who was the only one to be able to make the march of the 2nd DB on Paris possible.
On August 23rd, the Piper Cub dropped to the besieged Parisians the famous message of General Leclerc: "Stand firm, we arrive. On this subject, see section“Mission report of the 2nd DB: Piper L-4 dropping the Gal Leclerc's message to the Parisians”.


Paris, Avenue de la Grande Armée, August 1944
Paris, Avenue de la Grande Armée, August 1944

General characteristics:

Crew: one pilot
Capacity: one passenger
Length: 22 ft 5 in (6.83 m)
Wingspan: 35 ft 3 in (10.74 m)
Empty weight: 765 lb (345 kg)
Payload: 455 lb (205 kg)
Maximum weight: 1.220 lbs (550 kg)
Powerplant: 1 × Continental A-65-8 air-cooled horizontally opposed four cylinders, 65 hp (48 kW) at 2,350 rpm

Maximum speed: 76 kn (87 mph, 140 km/h)
Cruise speed: 65 kn (75 mph, 121 km/h)







Around the L-4

Flying over the D-Day beaches, by Julia Apfelbaum

One of our favorite images in this superb series by Julia, of Distant Thunder Aviation Photography.

The entire series is visible by clicking here.

The Piper L - 4 H F-AYZA flying over the landing beaches

The art of the pre-flight on a Cub

A period film:



Piper Cub, the passion, André Bréand plane

Piper Cub, the aircraft passion

Ham and Jam is proud to have participated in the new edition of the book of French-speaking reference on the Piper Cub. In addition to appear on the cover, you will also find a double page on F-AYZA, the Cub 1943 flying today within our association.

Passion, the Piper Cub plane always symbolizes the school plane and ideal Marina management. For the ordinary people, the "Cub" name has long been part of the colloquial and means for the uninitiated 'club aircraft. Do we not often hear pronounce the name of Piper 'Club '?

From conception to his descendants, through the dark hours of the second world war, it is a complete look that is worn on this aircraft and its derivatives. Illustrated with many photographs and plans three views, this book also meets the expectations of designers.

Aerospace technician, aviation journalist and Piper Cub pilot, André Bréand offers with this complete and detailed study of the first historical book in French on the Cub, its ancestors and its derivatives.

The arrival of G-AKAZ in France hailed by aviation Fana

Article Aviation - June 2016 Fana - No. 559
Article in Aviation - June 2016 Fana - No. 559

Meeting with an L-4 veteran pilot

"Je me sens à la maison" a dit Maurice de Castex en rencontrant 43-30036 (F-AYZA).
At the age of 97, he has forgotten nothing of these flights in French fighter aircraft in 1939, or in Piper L - 4 in the Division of free France (DFL).
He remembers well flying his Cub under the Eiffel Tower!

Maurice of Castex, Piper L - 4 pilot in 1944 (c) Laurent Cluzel
Maurice de Castex, Piper L-4 pilot in 1944
(c) Laurent Cluzel



Paris and liberated France: we flew under the Eiffel Tower

Painting by François FLOHIC , aide de camp to general de Gaulle, offered to Pierre SIMONET in 2015, in the memory of his passage in 1945 under the Eiffel Tower

After May 8, 1945, VE day, our section reached Paris and arived in the field of Issy les Moulineaux, the current heliport.
It was the end of a busy year, with strong moments, beautiful landscapes, strange adventures, meeting with an exciting environment and men of exception, solid friendships, and the immense comfort of losing no comrade.
But us, the early hours rebels, needed again do something of the ordinary.
I suggested:
- And if you were flying under the Eiffel Tower?
The flight plan was quickly organized: low fly past the Trocadero esplanade and its gardens, the Iéna Bridge, passing under the huge iron arch, flying over the Champ de Mars and straighten over the military school. There was room to spare.
The next day, the month of May was soon gone past, the weather was superb, our three Piper Cub flew the great passage. There were few people; an American soldier all surprised photographed our flight.

It wasn't a feat of flying. It needed more boldness than expertise. We had not asked any permission to any authority.
The Air Force, such as the Civil Aviation Authority, sailed in the euphoria of victory.
Nowadays, the aviator who would fancy flying under the legs of the great lady DFL_1erRA_Cub-EiffelTowerwould be severely admonished.
But it was a different era. Long ago, at the time the wings of Liberation flew over France".

Pierre SIMONET, Compagnon de la libération
Observer in Piper Cub to the 1st DFL field Regiment R.A., Division of the France Libre)

Piper L-4 Moon pursuit

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Nose art on Piper L-4

The Nose Art were rare on the Piper L-4, especially in the artillery.
A common exception was the Cubs who worked within squadron of the US Air Force amid fighter or bombers aircraft...).

Fly past under the Eiffel Tower

Cartoon in Stars And Stripes, 1944
Cartoon in Stars And Stripes, 1944

The 33rd reconnaissance and photo Squadron arrived at Toussus-le-Noble (A-46) just after the Liberation.

En septembre 1944, Le pilote Lt. Luther "Peaches" Killingsworth ne résista pas au plaisir de rendre visite à la tour Eiffel en passant avec son Piper L-4 DESSOUS.

His flight led him to have an article in the newpaper of the U.S. Army, Stars and Stripes. At least another pilot repated the exploit during November 1944.

(Source: History of the 33rd PRS)


Aviation et Pilote No. 486 about the Piper F-AYZA

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Interview with JM Bossuet Aviation & Pilot, to discover vintage aviation ,observation warbird side, L-Birds passion...


Info-driver n ° 700, la Ferté-Alais airshow in a Piper L-4H


Forlogo_info_pilote1 [1]r causes of repetitions, I'm coming to La Ferté-Alais June 6 aboard aircraft that participated in the D-day... Emotion. The track is moved for the meeting. Alongside the axis of presentation and the classic track tags tags, it is very useful revised organizers briefing sheet. I train station near Martin Hodeau, which is the first L-4 asked. We will go together to the home drivers.
The presentation of my little Piper L-4, 1943 is of course not the highlight of the show, but integrates proudly in the D - Day table.

The sequence, called Overlord, is composed of three Piper L-4. At the time where we are starting to roll, Stephen Grey and his Bearcat past us. He prepares for his last flight in meeting. I make him a curtsy from the end of my small wings. We take off behind the "D-day box" aircraft,
that is more than a dozen big warbirds, the DC3, the P51 Mustang, a Beech 18, a Catalina, a Spitfire... During these three days, the encounters are linked. Many friends seen without having time to discuss long, passionate and charming visitors on the parking lot of the static display in the morning... Each presentation in flight requires an hour or two of preparation, concentration, followed by the timing... Unfortunately, I do not fully rofite of the show continued before my flight. Behind the scenes, planes were put in place, gather in the air. In addition to the comments by Ceesay, the frequency is a second soundtrack. Everything is tightly managed by Marie Luce, the excellent controller. The door opened, my L-4 little fills noise of all these engines which rotate together, in a striking Symphony... On Sunday evening, our guests we kindly make the place in hangars because thunderstorms are announced. Unfortunately, the night following our departure, installations and based aircraft will be heavily damaged by weather of rare magnitude.


2nd mission DB report: drop in L-4 of the message of General Leclerc to Parisians

Captain Callet
Captain Callet

August 24, 1944, Captain Callet (pilot) and Lieutenant Mantoux (Observer) carried out a historic mission aboard a Piper L-4: they dropped over the Prefecture of Paris the message announcing the arrival of the troops of General Leclerc, and thus the release of capital.

The story of the driver (written by Renaud Leblond) and report this exceptional mission:

Mission Report
Mission Report
Mission report (continued)

"C'est par un temps de chien, le 24 août, vers 13 heures, que je reçois l'ordre le plus inattendu de ma carrière. Je suis alors à Rambouillet, d'où, le matin même, les blindés de la 2e DB se sont ébranlés pour gagner au plus vite la capitale.

My eight aircraft - Piper Cubs American responsible for correcting artillery - are stuck on the ground. Trapped by this drue rain that continues to befall. Like me, my observer, lieutenant Etienne Mantoux, is disappointed: this evening, or tomorrow at the latest, Leclerc tanks penetrate Paris hero, then the flight, it bogged by the storm, will teach the victory without participating. We are really envious... When suddenly a dripping Jeep stops before the PC of the flight.

Un officier de liaison de l'artillerie, le capitaine Righini, en descend, puis se dirige vers nous. Sa voix est pressante: "La capitale s'est soulevée, dit-il. C'est la Préfecture de police qui dirige les opérations et qui subit le choc principal des forces allemandes. Les agents tiennent héroïquement, mais ignorent l'avancée fulgurante de nos blindés.

Message of the General Leclerc Leclerc

Des émissaires ont atteint le PC de Leclerc. Ils ont dépeint la situation dramatique de ceux qui combattent dans Paris et qu'il faut, à tout prix, rassurer..." Je comprends aussitôt la mission: survoler Paris et lâcher sur la Préfecture un message lesté de plomb. Quatre petits mots: "Tenez bon, nous arrivons." Mantoux et moi sommes gonflés à bloc. Malgré le mauvais temps. Malgré, surtout, les risques insensés qui se profilent: comme tous les Pipers, mon avion n'est pas blindé; il est lent et ne dispose pas de moyen de riposte. D'ailleurs, le règlement est formel: un piper ne doit jamais traverser des lignes ennemies.
Except in an emergency. Except in the euphoria of release looming, but is still holding a wire. Around 3 p.m., a thinning offered to us. Hurry, we put on our parachutes and complete our belts. For a first stopover in Arpajon. This time, I pray the Lord. Intensely.

Lieutenant Mantoux
Lieutenant Mantoux

Et, tandis que le moteur de l'avion se met à vrombir, me revient cette phrase du "Chant des Francs": "Les heures de la vie s'écoulent... Nous sourirons quand il faudra mourir." Sur la piste, les équipages sont rassemblés. Ils nous disent adieu. Notre avion bondit sur la bande de la prairie. Les pouces se lèvent. Nous filons vers l'inconnu...
Le ciel s'est dégagé. Au sol, nos chars, bien visibles avec leurs panneaux roses, jalonnent la ligne avancée des combats. Ils sont désormais derrière nous. Etienne et moi sommes étonnamment calmes. Pour me cacher des Allemands, mais aussi pour m'orienter, je joue avec les nuages. Dans une sorte d'extase, je répète au micro cette phrase de Montherlant: "Savoir enfin ce qui compte et ce qui ne compte pas. Et nous en tenir à ces clartés que nous avons délimitées sous le soleil de la mort." Mais Etienne me corrige: "Oui mon capitaine, mais nous en tenir à ces clartés que nous ?allons? délimiter sous le soleil de la mort!"
Quand? Là maintenant, alors que, les premiers, nous découvrons Paris et oublions tous les dangers. Je reconnais le Panthéon, puis la Préfecture. Etienne me confirme l'objectif. Que faire? Je hurle: "Attention, je vais piquer!" L'avion bascule, vire et plonge. Je veux tromper l'ennemi. Simuler une chute. L'altimètre décroît. Rien, pas un coup de feu. Nous sommes bientôt à quelques mètres au-dessus des flèches de Notre-Dame. Je redresse brutalement l'appareil en amorçant un virage circulaire autour de la Préfecture. Etienne explose: "Message lancé!" Et je vois alors la banderole couleur d'or qui le signale se dérouler comme dans un rêve...

Captain Callet and Lieutenant Mantoux, the heroic crew

Finally almost. The left bank, machine guns are being put in action. Like Hornets, the tracer pass our aircraft, which slowly tried to regain altitude. If I continue my ascent, the Germans will correct their shooting. My decision is taken: I returned the shoulders and stings to death on roofs to shave more closely. The lull will not last. Le Kremlin-Bicêtre, we hit head-on. A crash occurred at the level of the landing gear. We are moving in a zigzag in a frantic race. At Villejuif, in Arcueil, Cachan, machine guns spew unabated. The return is endless. Until: orchards, suburbs, Montlhéry and our tanks which darken toward Paris. We cry with joy. We are alive. And it is a wing without landing gear that we lie in a meadow.
Le général Leclerc nous félicite. Il nous apprend que le message a été reçu, compris et exécuté. Je ris d'un rire nerveux. Comme si j'avais perdu la raison."