This Piper arrived in January 1944 in England, under the US Air Force number 43-30036. Assigned to the 8th Air Force, he followed the landing and the advance of the Liberation of France, directed by General Patton to the Germany.
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.
The 12th TRS during the Second World War: From Operation Overlord to the advance to the East with General Patton”
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
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.
See all the photos of F-AYZA in the gallery
From J3 to L-4
The Piper Cub, (Piper J3) is a light aircraft , built from 1937 to 1947 in the United States by Piper Aircraft.
Plane in tandem (two-seater one behind the other), it was originally simply intended to learning of the cockpit. But thanks to its simplicity, its low cost, it is become one of the most popular and well-known of all time. This is not without remember what the Model T Ford is to the automobile.
When the army American sought a liaison aircraft and observation, Piper Aircraft modified the Piper J3 expanding significantly the glass surface and the device received the appellation of O-59 (1941), then L - 4 (from April 1942), and not (within the U. S. Navy).
Its role and the multiplicity of its uses was considerable:
Reconnaissance missions, transport of personnel and sensitive material, adjustment of artillery fire, medical evacuations of wounded soldiers.
During the liberation of France in 1944, the slow speed of the L-4 and maneuverability have made an ideal observation platform to find the German tanks hidden in ambush in the Norman 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”.
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
In 2014, we had the honour to invite Roland Lepers, for a flight in Piper L - 4 H (1943) on the landing beaches.
He had not flown them since that he was group bomber pilot Lorraine, alongside Romain Gary, Pierre Mendès-France, and many others just as heroic. 70 years ago, to this last flight.
Magical instigator of this day, Jean-Marie Urlacher had immortalized him with very nice pictures, and a reference article on the flypast over the D-Day beaches (see here).
Resistant at the age of 19 years, pilot in the free French Forces in the United Kingdom, where he met his wife, Fortuna.
Wasquehal native (North) has joined in January 1941 in Marseille, the Ian-Garow network - Pat O'Leary, an underground group of assistance to soldiers of the British army and the Royal Air Force on french soil.
On 10 March 1942, Roland Lepers left the France to reach England via the Spain and Gibraltar.
Then he will be awarded the British Empire Medal. "In London, Pierre Mendès-France, who will later be appointed Commissioner of finance for the General de Gaulle, had given me to choose between money and this medal."
In 1943, he joined the Canada for training flight. Lorraine bomber Group pilot, he will return in October 1944, the free French forces on the air base of Vitry Artois (Pas-de-Calais), taken over by the air forces of the free France in the Luftwaffe. It will take place above Holland and the Germany.
Roland flew to 96 years, joining his friends, to whom he had dedicated the bottle of champagne he opened at the end of our flight together.
The Piper Cub in the press of June 6, 1945, flyby over the Champs Elysées and passages under the Eiffel Tower
Publié dans "L'aviation Française", du 20 juin 1945.
The Piper L - 4 play to pass under the Eiffel Tower, and close the parade of June 6, 1945, in honor of the first anniversary of d-day.
Part of an American documentary very interesting, about the Piper cub, which is one of the 10 official symbols of Pennsylvania.
This excerpt presents the Ham and Jam association, and its action in the maintenance of flight of the L-Birds of the second world war.
One of our favorite images in this superb series by Julia, of Distant Thunder Aviation Photography.
The entire series is visible by clicking here.
A period film:
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.
"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!
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.
- 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 would 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)
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...).
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)