Piper L-4H Grasshopper



The L-4 version of the ubiquitous Piper J-3 Cub was the L bird of choice for Army Ground Forces support in the combat theaters of WWII.

This Piper was a classic “barn find”. While on a bike ride with his daughter, AirCorps’ Senior Vice President of Marketing and Sales, Eric Trueblood, noticed a Beech C-45 in an outbuilding in Grand Forks, North Dakota. He couldn’t resist trying to find out more about it and contacted the property owner to learn what the situation was with the vintage Beechcraft. In the process, Eric discovered that there was another aircraft in storage at the site. It was a Piper L-4H, which the owner believed to be USAAF serial number 44-7879.

AirCorps Aviation’s friend and customer, Pat Harker, has a varied collection of award-winning L birds, including some very rare liaison aircraft like a Stinson L-1 Vigilant and a Convair L-13A,  but he doesn’t have the most common L-bird, an L-4, so Eric notified him that an L-4 might be available. The Grasshopper project was purchased and taken to AirCorps Aviation for restoration.

Once it arrived, research began on the Grasshopper’s history.

The previous owner, Daniel Romuld, had written several letters and had done some research on this airplane. He wasn’t able to find much information, so the history of 44-79780 was unknown at the start of the project.

44-79780 was accepted by the Army Air Force on June 13, 1944. It was crated and shipped from the Piper factory in Lock Haven, Pennsylvania to Philadelphia, where it was loaded on a ship bound for Naples, Italy. Once in Italy the Grasshopper was assigned to the 12th Army Air Force, Army Ground Forces on June 30, 1944.

The little Piper served wartime liaison duties with the 5th Army through the summer of 1945 and was returned to the United States at the San Francisco Port of Entry on September 12, 1945.

On July 28, 1949, this L-4 was assigned to the Civil Air Patrol. After a forced landing with substantial damage, 44-79780 went through several owners until Pat Harker acquired it in the fall of 2023.


  • Engine: Continental A-65-8, 65hp
  • Maximum Speed: 87 mph
  • Rate of Climb: 450 ft/min
  • Range: 250 miles
  • Ceiling: 11,500 ft.
  • Span: 35′ 2.5″
  • Wing Area: 178.5 square feet
  • Length: 22 ft. 3 in.
  • Height: 6 ft. 8 in.
  • Weight Empty: 640 lbs.
  • Weight Takeoff: 1,100 lbs.
aeroprints.com, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
Piper L-4H 44-79780 after a forced landing while in service with the Civil Air Patrol.

Do you have any L-4 Parts?

If you have any L-4 parts, please contact AirCorps Aviation!



AirCorps Aviation
1180 Adams Ave NW
Bemidji, MN 56601