Piper Aviation Museum History and 20th Anniversery Celebration


Piper Aviation announced the closing of the Lock Haven facility in March 1984. George Ruckle a local businessman from Mackeyville and representing a group of former Piper employees,  purchased the main building, paint shop, and sales building. Ruckle then purchased Taylorcraft and began building airplanes. When his business did not do well he sold his real-estate holdings to a Philadelphia speculator.

Champion Autoparts bought the Engineering building and began manufacturing auto parts. Union strikes forced the company to abandon the building and move their business South. In the midst of these events, the Piper Aviation Museum was quietly born and was began as a branch of the Lock Haven Heisey Museum in the 1980's.

In the attempt to preserve some of the artifacts from Piper, Calvin Arter, Bill Piper Jr. and Bob and Genny Edmonson were instrumental in opening a small display in the back of Hangar 1 which is now the Sentimental Journey's Office. Through the efforts of Calvin Arter, in 1986, the PA Museum Commission gifted a tractor trailer. Vo-Tech students from Lock Haven High School converted the trailer to the Piper Mobile Aviation Museum. Over 7,000 visitors viewed the history of Piper over a ten year period.

In 1997, the former Piper Engineering Building, a 56,000 square foot structure, was purchased with a loan guaranteed by Bill Piper Jr. and Calvin Arter. At the same time the Piper Aviation Museum Foundation a non-profit organization was formed.

In 2012 the mortage was paid off and a mortgage burn party was held outside the museum.

The museum has been solvent through donations and proceeds of a gift shop, but mainly due to rental of the West and East Wings of the third floor. In 2009, Liberty Business Information moved to Montoursville, PA and the West Wing was then rented to Mat Town USA, a wresting training organization. Mat Town recently left the West Wing vacant and it is now available for rental (Click For Ad).

20th Anniversery Celebration:

On Saturday Sept 23, 2017 a celebration commerating 20 years at the museum was held inside and outside the Museum hangar. Former employees and other interested guests visited and shared stories of Piper Aviation. Local Elementary Students provided art work for the open house. A few Piper Cubs were flown in and displayed on the lawn adjacent to the hangar. Below is a Lock Haven Express picture and caption from 9/26/17 newspaper followed by a few photos of the event.

Former Piper Employees by a J-4 Coupe

View Inside Hangar

A few guests gathering

A Furry Guest with Piper Museum Scarf and Cap

Guests Viewing Tri Pacer

Guests Near Newly Donated Rare Comanche 400

Classy Cars and Cubs on Display