|Manufacturer:||Taylor Aircraft Company|
|Year/Model:||1936 J-2 Cub|
|Power Plant:||40 hp (30 kW) Continental A-40-5, 4 cylinder, opposed, air cooled.|
|Wingspan:||35 feet 3 inches|
|Length:||22 feet 3 inches|
|Height:||6 feet 6 inches|
|Empty Weight:||525 pounds|
|Max Gross Weight:||925 pounds|
|Maximum Speed:||78 mph|
|Cruise Speed:||65 mph|
|Maximum Range:||725 statute miles|
In Final Flight
The Taylor J-2 Cub is an American two-seat aircraft that was designed and built by the Taylor Aircraft Company. The "J" designation stood for Walter Jamouneau, a Taylor aeronautical engineer. This particular Taylor J-2 cub is the oldest Taylor J-2 Cub's on the FAA registry! Estrella Warbirds Museum accepted donation of this incredibly restored 75 year old aircraft from Steve Dwelle, December, 2018. Mr. Dwelle is a former solo pilot for the Thunderbirds.
For those unfamiliar with the (original) "Cub", the Taylor J-2 was an improvement over the earlier Taylor E-2. Early models were a red color with silver trim until the new "Cub Yellow" was assigned. It is an interesting side note that C. G. Taylor was not impressed with Jamouneau's work and fired him. The little 525 lb (238 kg) (empty) plane is powered by the same 37-40 hp (28-30 kW) Continental engine as the E-2. Noteworthy is that the 144 lb (65 kg) 115 CID air-cooled A40 is considered to be the simplest four-stroke aircraft engine ever built.
The original J-2 cost $1,470 or could be rented for $10 an hour. A total of 1,207 Tayor Aircraft J-2 Cubs were built from 1935 to 1938. These included those that were licensed and built by Aircraft Associates in California in 1937 and 1938, (known as the Western Cub).
It may seem to be a bit of a shocker for some to note that both an airspeed indicator and a compass were options for the J-2. Now that is real "seat of the pants" flying! For safety's sake, the Cub now has a simple-but-effective airspeed indicator (originally intended for ultra-light aircraft) mounted on the starboard wing strut.
In 1935 the Taylor Aircraft Company had decided to improve their Cub line of aircraft which were angular and austere-looking and initially had an unglazed cabin area.
The new J-2 had rounded-off wing tips, a similarly "rounded" fin and rudder framed up with fabric-covered separately from the fuselage structure, an enclosed cabin and fitted with wider Goodyear "airwheel" tires. The tires were a special low-pressure variety of aircraft landing gear tire pioneered by Alvin Musselmann in 1929 which resembled a later tundra tire in general appearance and proportions. Powered by a 37 hp Continental A-40-3 piston engine the aircraft appeared in October 1935 and the type certificate was issued on 14 February 1936. From September 1936 the engine was changed to a 40 hp Continental A-40-4. One sub-type was produced, the J-2S which was a float-equipped version.
Clarence Taylor taught himself to build aircraft and along with his brother, Gordon, developed the Taylor Aircraft Company in 1931. A year later he hired Walter Jamouneau, an aviation engineer. It was Jamouneau whom had a majority impact in the design of the H-2 and J-2 Cub. However, Taylor fired him in spring of 1935. Towards the end of the 1936, Clarence G Taylor sold his assets in the business to William T Piper, whom was one of the original investors in Taylor Aircraft Company. (Piper had made his fortunes in oil wells). After purchasing assets to the business Piper renamed the company Taylor Brothers Aircraft Manufacturing. Piper then rehired Walter Jamouneau. Clarence Taylor however, retained the rights to the original J-2 Cub. Subsequentually, Piper immediately started out developing a similar type "Cub" aircraft.
In early 1937, a fire destroyed the Taylor Brother Aircraft Manufacturing plant. In May of 1937, WT Piper restarted the business at a new location in Lock Haven, PA and renamed the business as Piper Aircraft Company. After the new plant was opened, Piper introduced the “Piper J-3 Cub” which was largely based on the original Jamouneau H-2 design (the predecessor to the J-2) but with a larger motor, wider wheel tread, and adding a tail wheel. The Piper Aircraft Company incorporated in November 1937.
Also in 1937, CG Taylor started a new business venture which was named Taylorcraft Aviation, incorporating in 1939. His goal was to build an improved and more powerful aircraft based on the J-2 Cub.
When the threat of World War II hung over Europe, President Theodore Roosevelt began a college pilot training program which utilized Cubs to turn out thousands of pilots. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt flew in a Cub to helping to promote this program. Meanwhile, Piper introduced the J-4 "Coupe" and the more powerful J-5 Cruiser. By then, Piper Aircraft represented a third of all civilian aircraft manufactured in the United States.
Piper's big break to demonstrate the military potential of his planes came during the 1941 Army war games. At these games, Cubs directed armored columns and artillery fire from the air, and acquired the military nickname "Grasshopper." It was only hours after the Japanese struck Pearl Harbor, Piper was quoted of the Cubs, "They will have their place in the war." His statement proved correct, for the Army Air Forces quickly ordered 1,500 L-2 Grasshoppers, and training of field artillery pilots was begun, giving birth to Army ground force aviation in which a single individual in a small plane could influence the course of battle.
By the start of World War II, the Taylorcraft DCO-65 model was utilized alongside the Piper aircraft both designated as “L-2" aircraft.
The rest is aviation history.