Piper J-5 Cruiser
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Piper J-5 Cruiser

A modest expansion in the capabilities of the J-3 and J-4 range was achieved with the Piper J-5 Cruiser which, although basically similar to the J-3, had a minimal increase in fuselage width to provide three-seat accommodation. First seen in early 1940 as the J-5A Cruiser with a 56kW Continental A75-8 engine, it became available subsequently as the J-5B with a similarly powered Avco Lycoming GO-145-C2 engine, then being designated J-5C with the installation of a 75kW Avco Lycoming O-235-C. Civil J-5A and J-5B aircraft were impressed for service with the US Army during World War II under the designations L-4F and L-4G respectively, and the US Navy procured 100 aircraft similar to the J-5C under the designation HE-1. These had the 75kW Avco Lycoming O-235-2, and a hinged top decking to the rear fuselage to allow the loading and unloading of a stretcher; when, in 1943, the designation letter H was allocated to identify helicopters, the HE-1s were redesignated AE-1. When production ended a total of 1,404 J-5 Cruisers had been built.

 MODELJ-5C Cruiser
 ENGINE1 x Avco Lycoming O-235-C flat-four piston engine, 75kW
    Take-off weight703 kg1550 lb
    Empty weight388 kg855 lb
    Wingspan10.82 m36 ft 6 in
    Length6.86 m23 ft 6 in
    Height2.08 m7 ft 10 in
    Wing area16.63 m2179.00 sq ft
    Max. speed177 km/h110 mph
    Ceiling4570 m15000 ft
    Range620 km385 miles

Craig Christensen, 02.04.2017

Learned to fly in the Piper J-5a years ago N30849 It is still have it Dad got in 1949 ..Great airplane

Jeff Farris, 16.07.2016

My father bought a J-5 out of a barn somewhere in Arizona, and the deal was that the owner wanted to keep the original 85 hp engine. So he flew it to our home just west of Phoenix, took the engine out and drove it back to the guy the next day. He promptly put a 135 hp Lycoming (I think) and that plane could take off with the 3 of us in 300'. Something he did often and was proud of. I learned to stitch, iron, tape and dope fabric on that plane. I have so many stories of flying in that great plane! That was in the late 70's, and he sold it around 85-86 I think. I miss him and that plane often - like many things in life, I wish I could have those days back.

DAVE STODDARD, 24.11.2013

TO FLY THIS AIRPLANE in 1941 and soloded me in 1942 AT THE AGE OF 9 YEARS OLD I am still flying at the age of 80years old

Tony, 10.11.2013

I have a nice 1940 J5-A piper Cub Cruiser for sale serious buyers only, Plane is complete and need a few small repairs to fly, wings off and ready for transport, shoot me an Email

Ben Gibson, 06.11.2013

Need to ad my nostalgic story to the rest here. When in collage in the early 1960's, my uncle and landlord bought a J5a for $300. I always imagined I would make enough money one day to restore it and learn to fly. Not to be... In 1965, now with my first real job, I borrowed $1800 and bought a beautifully restored Cub Cruiser. Flew my first 300 hours in that sweet little airplane. Of necessity, it was a "time builder." Married the love of my life in 1966 and started a family. Sold N38130 in 1967. It was a good trade for me, but I always missed that pretty little red and white airplane. Guy who bought it never registered it and dropped it into the trees at his private strip. Went looking for it in 2002 or so. Found it in the hands of a talented professional aircraft restoration guy (Pete Reed of Ohio) Pete, once again, restored the J5 and made it into a show winner! What a beauty. Asked me to buy it. He was asking $55,000, and probably well worth it. Had to pass the opportunity by. I see it is now owned by a "private party" down near Charleston, WV. I too would like to find a display model that could be painted up as I remember it. If you folks ever locate a good place to do that, let me know? Nice sharing with others who understand what this is all about... Ben

Bob Moser, 24.02.2013

I have the great honor of owning a 1941 J-5. It is a thrill to own and to fly. Her name is "Rosie" in honor of the women that labored in the aviation industry of the day. She has a C-85 and no electrical system. She is original in almost every regard and has taught many a pilot all about the tailwheel and vintage experience...

Ed, 20.11.2011

Always wanted to move on to a J-5 maybe someday... had learned to fly in a J-3, but have never yet flown a tail-dragger.

In my era, it was $5 hr for the J-3, + $5 hr for the CFI. The "maybe someday" for the J-5 still a fond wish - the reality was a transition to a Hershey-bar PA-28-180C. Did push one up as far as 67 North.

Vern Baisden, 01.03.2011

In the early 60s. I flew a friends modified J5-A, it was made into a J-5C with the O-235 engine. Flew sightseeing rides over the Thousand Islands in upstate NY. Flew from a small dirt strip near the Thousand Islands bridge. Did it on weekends. Enjoyed the rides as much as the passengers. It was beautiful scenery.

Vern Baisden, 01.03.2011

Bought a 1941 Piper J5-A in 1952, in Wichita falls,TX while in USAF A&E school. Paid $550.00. Flew it from base to base.
From TX to KS to IL to NY. If you had to go you just landed in a field and took care of it. It's unbelievable how much fun the old vfr contact flying was. Went on to airliners and jets. But it wasn't like seeing the country from below 10,000 feet.

Ernie Taft, 28.11.2010

Dad had a J5 , He loaded all 5 of us in it to go to town . He was a small man , Mother was slight frame , we 3 kids were skinny as a rail . We did n't have running water , indoor plumbing , or a car that would make it to town . But we had an airplane ! Dad had his priorities right ! :>) It's been 62 years since I last flerw in a J5 , Great memories . It was a J5A NC32988
Mother carped till Dad sold the airplane and we moved to town . There we had green grass , nice home , flush toilet . Dad flew rentals and kept current up in to the late 70's . He always regreted the sale of that aircraft.

Woody Youngkin, 08.11.2010

I purchased a piper J5a in 1955 from an airport in Sibley, Iowa from the operator named Wade Lowery. He deliverid it to Hawarden, Iowa (62 miles away from Sibley) for a cost of $500. It ran great and flew even better. I got it just before dark and by 12:00pm I had both wings off and was sanding it getting ready for new paint. It came to me in the original orange Piper color. I redone the inside and put new glass all the way around and had it painted Light Blue and Dark Blue. It really looked nice. I do have some pictures of my J5 with the new paint if anyone would like to see them. I then sold the plane a year later. I traded it in on a l956 Oldsmobile coupe. I was given $1,000 on trade for the J5. Okay then but would be VERY CHEAP now. After they got my J5 they had it recovered and the engine topped. Then it was sold to a rancher in South Dakota. He flew it back to his ranch around Rapit City and I was told that he hit some High Line Wires on landing. It was upset and crashed. It then I was told started a fire and burned right where it hit the ground. A tragic end to a great little plane if the story was told to me right. AS I am now 81 I do no more flying. I still miss the old JR.

Maury Seitz, 22.08.2010

I soloed the J-5A with the N number in my address. It was restored to new original condition 1970-73-currently in final stages of new restoration. Now for you who inquired about a model--I have an original Comet flying model kit==wingspan 26 9/32 inches-dated 1942---Comet reissued it in the 80s as kit #3406 "Piper Cub". I have a couple of the new kits--have to get check. I believe some of you computer specialists should be ablre to research this info--I'm 81 years old and still flying, but computer confused--anyone interested in more info contact me and I'll send pics--hope this helps, Maury

robert palnatier, 09.02.2010

I purchased a 1941 piper j5a as a basket case,in1979.took 4 years to rebuild. first flight 1983 and had aball went to lockhavin pa 4 times,and recived several awards there.it has changed hands several times but is still in a hanger collecting dust at d51 clarence aerodome ny

John Jones, 04.07.2009

I was a /part owner of an old 1941 J5. I am looking for a simple plan of same to use to make a toy model. Do you have a plan and or know of a kit I can purchase?

Charles White, 02.06.2009

May we have your permission to use this photo for a brochure for our Micro Vortex Genarators? Or is this photo public domain? Congratulations for a great web site.
Charles White, President, Micro Aerodynamics, Inc.

Ted Harper, 16.08.2008

After learning to fly in a J-3, the transition to the J-5
felt like going to a DC-3. I loved the heavier feel. The
thing I remember about the J-5 we had was the Crank
starter in the instrument panel. Ha !

Also with 75HP it didn't have much going for it on a real
hot day in August with three people aboard.

Alan Abell, 09.06.2008

One small correction: The J-5C was powered by a Lycoming O-235-B which was identical to the military O-235-2 in the HE-1. This aircraft can be considered the direct predecessor to the post war PA-12 Super Cruiser which was quite similar but powered by the O-235-C which despite the similar designation, was an entirely different engine.

chris clark, 08.12.2007


Keith Russell, 16.02.2007

Do you know where I could purchase a small scale model of the Piper J-5 Cruiser?

Do you have any comments about this aircraft ?

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