As is often true of aviation facilities, the Piper Museum has aircraft and other items which require updating and rebuilding. Our museum has a large workshop suitable and equipped for major projects and is also fortunate to have a close working relationship with The Pennsylvania College of Technology (Penn State University) in Williamsport PA. Students of the Aviation Technology Program (A.D) have worked and continue to work on Field Experience projects involving aircraft from the Museum.
Some of the past and future projects will be highlighted with pictures and a summary of the venture. The most recent completed project was the rebuilding of a Piper PT-1 (Primary Trainer). This project has taken about 10 years and is almost completed (2012).
The Piper PT-1 is a 1940s two-seat primary training monoplane built by Piper at Lock Haven and designed by David Long who later designed the Midget Mustang. The PT-1 was supposedly a modification of a 4-place ship which Piper had mocked up before Pearl Harbor.
A low-wing tandem two-seat monoplane, the PT-1 was the first Piper aircraft to have a low-wing. It has a fabric covering over an all metal fuselage frame and wooden spar wings and tail unit. The PT-1 has a retractable tailwheel landing gear and is powered by a 130 hp Franklin 6AC-2980D engine. No further aircraft were built. Originally Piper hoped to sell this design as either an Army-Navy primary or WTS secondary trainer. A four-seat development was designed as the PWA-6 which also did not go into production.
- Crew: 2
- Length: 22 ft 10 in
- Height: 6 ft. 6 in.
- Wingspan: 35 ft 2½ in.
- Wing Area: 164 sq. ft.
- Empty weight: 1325 lb
- Fuel Capacity: 40 gal held in 2 stainless steel center section tanks
- Powerplant: 1 × Franklin 6AC-298-D, 130 hp
- Maximum speed: 150 mph
- Cruise speed: 135 mph
- Climb: 750-1000 fpm
- Landing speed: 50 mph
- Range: 700 miles
- Service ceiling: 12,400 ft ( m)
The aircraft was delivered to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in early 1943 by Clyde Smith Sr., Piper Test Pilot. The Army canceled the program for which the PT was in competition and it was used as a company transport for the duration of the war. Piper sold the PT and it passed through several owners. Other known use and history includes:
- The aircraft was belly-landed in 1954 due to gear retraction problems and the wreckage was based at Torrance Municipal Airport in Lomita CA until 1956.
- The wreckage was then located in San Fernando, CA when it was obtained by Tom Wathen. From there it was trucked to Van Nuys, CA where it was restored beginning in Dec 1977.
- The aircraft was returned to flying condition by a restoration team including New Zealander Ian Bennie.
- The PT won the "Contemporary Age Outstanding Closed Cockpit Monoplane Award" at Oshkosh in 1970.
- The aircraft was donated to the EAA Aviation Foundation by Tom Wathen in 1993.
- The present home is the Piper Aviation Museum in Lock Haven, PA
Piper Museum Archives
From its previous home at the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, the PT-1 once again found its home in Lock Haven after a trade for a Piper Vagabond. The second restoration of this aircraft was a long term project beginning in 2000 and ending in 2009.
Some of the Penn Tech students who worked on this project are shown in the pictures below. They and others worked on all phases of the project. The engine was not rebuilt, but the frame and control panel were. The original color scheme of blue and yellow was retained in the restoration. The estimated cost of the project was $10,000.
In 2011, the Canopy was restored. Click For Pictures.
If you have questions about this project, contact John Bryeron at the Piper Museum.
Contact WebMaster For Page Problems