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Piper L-4 Grasshopper Photos and Information


O-59 Grasshopper

Last modified 1/10/13

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The O-59 and L-4 Grasshoppers were produced in several variations and with different engines. The Continental A-65 became the most popular and most aircraft have been converted to that. Thus an L-4C or L-4D might have an A-65 engine and may show that in the FAA Register, but the model may or may not have been changed to indicate that.

Obviously probably, the "O" in O-59 identified it as an observation and the later "L" in L-4 reidentified it for liaison use.

Information on the O-59 and L-4 series may be found at:
-, Grasshopper series on Piper, Aeronca, Taylorcraft and Interstate, here
-, Piper L-4 / O-59 / L-18 "Grasshopper" here
-, here

Here is information taken from the FAA specs, with links to the specs as PDF's. More information from Joe Baugher's incredible site is posted below the photos.

Model FAA Spec. Notes taken from FAA specs.
L-4 A-691 Continental A-65; previously Army O-59; same as J3C-65 (No extended glass).
L-4A A-691

Continental A-65; previously Army O-59A; same as J3C-65 except for greenhouse, revised rear seat with seat back belts, addition of rear shelf and rear floorboard.

L-4B A-691 Continental A-65; Navy NE-1, same as J3C-65 except for transparent turtle deck enclosure, revised rear seat with seat back belts, addition of rear shelf and rear floorboard.
L-4C A-698 J3L-65, Lycoming O-145-B1; apparently no greenhouse.
L-4D A-692 J3F-65, Franklin 4AC-176-B2; apparently no greenhouse.
L-4E A-740 J-4E impressed by USAAF from civilian use. (Not covered on this page)
L-4F A-725 J-5A impressed by USAAF from civilian use. (Not covered on this page)
L-4G A-725 J-5B impressed by USAAF from civilian use. (Not covered on this page)
L-4H A-691

Continental A-65; Army L-4H is same as L-4A except for G. F. radio equipment and revised method of installing the transparent cockpit enclosure.

L-4J A-691

Continental A-65; Army L-4J (Navy NE-2) same as any L-4, L-4A, L-4B and L-4H except for installation of propeller. (Beech Roby prop)

U.S. Navy Piper NE-1 aircraft accidents are posted here.

Photos in sequence by CN

Click on links, some have multiple photos
    Slides: The slides are from my collection. Many are 30-40 years old and have some dirt and scratches, but I thought you would enjoy them. I have many more, and all are for sale.
    Note the many window configurations on the L-4 Grasshoppers below!

  CN Registration and Notes
Piper L-4H G-BGXA, ex F-BGSA, 7-79 slide. Baugher says: 43-29471 (c/n 10762) to French AF, then became F-BGXA.   Registered G-BGXA Mar 1, 1978 but with c/n 11170.  Now registered with correct c/n of 10762.  Currently airworthy and painted to represent an aircraft from the 30th Infantry division.
Piper L-4H G-BROR at Cranfield. 7-90 slide. Ex USAAF 43-29594, then F-BHMQ, then G-BROR Dec 7, 1989. This registration would seem suitable to an airplane in Alaska.
Piper L-4H G-AXHR, at Old Warden in 6-72. Ex USAAF 43-29601, then F-BETI.
Piper L-4H F-BFCC, at Etampes. A 5-86 slide. Ex USAAF 43-29866.
Piper L-4H G-AJES, ex USAAF 43-30485, 44C, tail 330485, ex OO-ACB in Belgium. A 6-88 slide.

Piper L-4H G-BHXY, 44-79609, PR, ex French F-BFQX, German D-EAXY. A 7-85 slide. To G-BXHY in 1980.

Piper L-4H D-EMUX, German registered, at Old Warden in 8/93. Ex 44-79772, then Belgium OO-DAA, later Spanish EC-HUO. (slide)
Piper L-4H PH-CMS, Netherlands registration, at Old Warden 4-83. USAAF 44-79896, Baugher says it became N79819, then G-ANXP Dec 13, 1954, then D-EGUL Oct 14, 1955, then PH-CMS, then OO-GMS (OO-LSD originally allocated but NTU), then F-GLMS Dec 1991.  Noted 2005 at Association des Cages a Poules d'Acquitaine, Koorac-sur-Louyre.(slide)
Piper L-4J G-SEED at Cranfield 7-84. Nicely polished boot cowl and engine cowling! (slide)
Piper L-4J G-FRAN, shows 480321, has C-90, ex BIXY, at Cranfield 7-87. EX 44-80321. (slide)
Piper L-4J G-LOCH, C-90 Continental, at Cranfield 7-85. Ex USAAF 44-80391 and Swiss HB-OCH (slide)
Piper L-4J F-BFYI, ex 44-80758, 00-AVJ, at Popham 7-07 (slide)
Piper L-4J N5930V, 1944, an authentic L-4J Grasshopper 44-80785 at AKR Akron Municipal, Akron, OH 6-06
Piper L-4J HB-OII, Swiss registered, ex 44-80817, ex F-BFBC, later D-EOII, at Sion 3-85. (slide)
Piper L-4J G-BCUB, reportedly a short wing Lippert Reed Conversion but you can't tell from this angle. Ex USAF 45-4446 and then F-BCPC, at Bourne 2-85 (slide)
Piper L-4J N5798N, authentic L-4J 45-4883 at Weeks Air Museum, FA08 Tamiami, FL 1-10
Piper L-4J N68771, at Chino, Orange Cty or Riverside, CA 10-67. Note the wind driven generator and nav lights. Ex USAAF 45-55206. (slide)
Piper L-4J N33585, a 1945 Cub, ex 45-55296 with C-85 at PAFA Fairbanks, AK 5-10
Piper L-4J N33587, 1945, ex 45-55298 at 96WI Vette-Blust Seaplane Base, Oshkosh, 7-10, and later, being towed to the dock for some activity.
Joe Baugher has a fantastic web site on military aircraft. Here are some links:
    Piper O-59 and L-4 page.
    General search page. (Upper/lower case matters)
Here are some details on correlating Piper Construction Numbers and military Serial Numbers. Several other correlations could be derived from his information.
  Model Piper CN Mil. SN Notes
  L-4B 9676 - 10291 43-491 ... 43-1470 He says, "not enough numbers here, anyone know more?"
  L-4H 10538 - 11838 43-29247 ... 43-30547  
  L-4H 11841 - 12340 44-79545 ... 44-80044  
  L-4J 12341 - 13140 44-80045 ... 44-80844  
  L-4J 13141 - 13940 45-4401 ... 45-5200  
  L-4J 13941 - 14290 45-55175 ... 45-55524  
Note: Many FAA specs say something like "Use Mfrs. Serial No. if available" indicating that ex military aircraft could be certificated under the military serial number if necessary.
Please write me at if you have corrections or other info.

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