Piper PA-12

PA-12 Super Cruiser
PA-12 on skis
Role Personal use aircraft
National origin United States
Manufacturer Piper Aircraft
First flight 29 October 1945
Introduction 1946
Status many still active in 2014
Primary user private owners
Produced 1946-1948
Number built 3760[1]
Unit cost
Developed from Piper J-5
Variants Piper PA-14
Backcountry Super Cubs Supercruiser
Piper PA-12 Super Cruiser

The Piper PA-12 Super Cruiser is an American three-seat, high wing, single-engine conventional landing gear-equipped light aircraft that was produced by Piper Aircraft between 1946-48. The PA-12 was an upgraded and redesignated Piper J-5.[2]


When Piper dropped the J- designation system in exchange for the PA- system, the J-5C became the PA-12 "Super Cruiser". The earlier J-5s had been powered by either a 100 hp (75 kW) Lycoming O-235 or a 75 hp (56 kW) Lycoming O-145. The newer PA-12 model was initially powered by a 108 hp (81 kW) Lycoming O-235-C engine, was fully cowled, and had a metal spar wing with two 19 gallon fuel tanks. A Lycoming O-235-C1 engine rated at 115 hp (86 kW) for takeoff was optional.[2][3]

The prototype NX41561 was converted from a J-5C and first flew from Lock Haven, Pennsylvania, on 29 October 1945. The first production model followed on 22 February 1946 and quantity production continued until the last example of 3760 built was completed on 18 March 1948.[4]

The PA-12 is approved for wheels, skis, floats and also for crop spraying.[3]

Cockpit accommodation is provided for the pilot in the front seat and two passengers in the rear seat, side-by-side. Unlike the J-3 Cub the PA-12 is flown solo from the front seat.[2][3]

Operational use

PA-12 landing
PA-12 on floats

Many PA-12s have been modified with larger engines. Wing flaps and a metal-skin fuselage can be added as modifications.[3]

In 1947, two PA-12s named City of Washington and City of Angels flew around the world, and the worst mechanical failure they suffered was a cracked tailwheel. The City of Washington currently resides at the Boeing Aviation Hangar, part of the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA. The City of Angels is on display at the Piper Aviation Museum in Lock Haven, PA.[5]

PA-12s have been exported to a number of countries including Belgium, Canada, France, Ireland, Netherlands, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Many PA-12s are still flown by private pilot owners and the type is commonly seen in North America. In November 2009 there were still 1688 registered in the USA and 229 in Canada.[2][6][7]


Original model type certified 24 March 1947, with a gross weight of 1,750 lb (794 kg) in the Normal Category and 1,500 lb (680 kg) in the Utility Category[3]
Second model type certified 11 August 1948, with 1,838 lb (834 kg) gross weight, Normal Category only[3] The PA-12S Seaplane variant was fitted with the 135 hp (101 kW) Lycoming O-290-D2 engine to improve take-off performance.[8]

Specifications (PA-12)

The "City of Washington" which flew around the world in 1947 on display in the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
The "City of The Angels" which flew around the world in 1947 on display in the Piper Aviation Museum in Lock Haven, Pennsylvania

General characteristics


See also

Related development


  1. Peperell, 1987, P. 58
  2. 1 2 3 4 Plane and Pilot: 1978 Aircraft Directory, page 59. Werner & Werner Corp, Santa Monica CA, 1977. ISBN 0-918312-00-0
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Federal Aviation Administration (March 2001). "AIRCRAFT SPECIFICATION NO. A-780 Revision 13" (PDF). Retrieved 2011-02-22.
  4. Peperell, 1987, pp 58-59
  5. "Piper PA-12 Super Cruiser". Collections. Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. Retrieved 9 June 2012.
  6. Federal Aviation Administration (November 2009). "FAA REGISTRY Make / Model Inquiry Results". Retrieved 2009-11-03.
  7. Transport Canada (November 2009). "Civil Aircraft Register". Retrieved 2009-11-03.
  8. Peperell, 1987, p. 58


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