First J-3 Cub From The Western Factory in Ponca City Oklahoma 1946

From Piper Aviation Museum Archives


At the end of WWII 2,200 Piper employees at the Lock Haven PA plant had enthusiastically turned out 8,000 Piper Cubs and Super Cruisers. More than three dozen manufacturers had entered the market, producing a total of 31,000 aircraft. It was reported that one in ninety people in the Lock Haven area had a pilot license.

To meet the demand, Piper sent engineer Hanford Eckman to Ponca City Oklahoma to set up another assembly plant. From 1946 to 1947 1,086 J-3 Cubs were produced. From 1947-1948, 225 Piper PA-11's were made. The cost of a Piper airplane assembled at Ponca City was $30 above the Lock Haven prices. The price of a J-3 from the Lock Haven plant was $2,192 dollars. The Ponca facility was short lived as the US Government dumped 30,000 war surplus planes on the market at sacrifice prices reducing the need to maufacture new airplanes.

The first J-3 in above picture was serial number 21991 (NC77500) and was delivered August 16, 1946 to Harte Flying Service in Wichita, Kansas.

The last Ponca City Cub was S/N 23180 (NC78439) delivered June 30, 1947.