Piper J-4

J-4 Cub Coupe
Piper J-4A Cub Coupe displayed at the Pima Air Museum, Tucson, Arizona in 2005
Role Trainer and private owner aircraft
Manufacturer Piper
First flight May 1938
Introduction 1938
Status many still flying as of 2014
Produced 1938-1942
Number built 1,251

The Piper J-4 Cub Coupe is a two place side-by-side version of the Piper J-3 that was built between 1938 and 1942 by Piper Aircraft. It was Piper's first model with side-by-side seating; combined with docile low-speed handling, this made it a good trainer.

J-4 development

Piper J-4A Cub Seaplane (owned by Garland Manufacturing Company) on the Detroit River in 1946.

The fuselage of the J-4 was wider than the J-3 and the aircraft had a fully enclosed rear decking to the fuselage top.[1] The first J-4s had a Continental 50 hp A50 engine, with up exhaust, an open cowl, oil and spring landing gear, a modified tail wheel system and many other changes. The early J-4 had a comfortable cockpit but was slower than most side by side aircraft of the day.

The 1940 J-4A gained a fully enclosed cowling, a Continental 65 hp A65 engine, and aft auxiliary fuel. The J-4B was fitted with a 60 hp Franklin 4AC-171 engine.[2] The final version was the 1941 J-4E which sported a 75 hp Continental engine and redesigned interior. The main fuel tank was moved to the wing along with a header tank. Performance was now on par with similar contemporary types, but the attack on Pearl Harbor sealed its fate as all civilian aircraft manufacture came to a stop with the entry of the United States into World War II.[3]

Some J-4s had another unique feature in the tail construction: the stabilizer was made of stainless steel tubing, riveted together with gussets.


powered by a 50-hp (37-kW) Continental A50-1 piston engine.
powered by a 65-hp (48-kW) Continental A65-1 or -8 piston engine.
powered by a 60-hp (45-kW) Franklin 4AC-171 or 65-hp (48-kW) 4AC-176-B2 piston engine.
powered by a 75-hp (56-kW) Continental A75-9 piston engine.
powered by a 55-hp (41-kW) Avco Lycoming 0-145-A1, -A2 or 65-hp (48-kW) 0-145-B1 piston engine.

Specification (J-4A)

Data from Simpson, 2001, p. 430.

General characteristics


See also

Related development

Related lists


  1. Simpson, 2001, p.429
  2. Simpson, 2001, p.429
  3. "Cub Coupe". www.pimaair.org. Pima Air & Space Museum. Retrieved 5 July 2014. The J-4 remained an excellent selling product for Piper until December 1941 when all civilian aircraft manufacture came to a stop with the entry of the United States into World War II.
  • Simpson, Rod (2001). Airlife's World Aircraft. Airlife Publishing Ltd. ISBN 1-84037-115-3. 

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