Flying Tigers

A Piper Cub bibliography

If a book is in print, I link to it on, the publisher, or a review on this website. Comments and additions are welcome; please send email. Thanks — Dan Ford

Cub books

Abel, Alan, et al. Piper's Golden Age. Wind Canyon Books, Inc., 2001. General history of the evolution of Piper products from the Chummy through the Super Cub. Covers each model in chronological order, including the experimental and military models. Well written, many photographs, accurately detailed 3-view drawings, and original magazine advertisements. This book is not as detailed as Roger Peperell's book (S/Ns, N#s, etc.) but it is more reader-friendly. [Lynn Towns] (I loved the reproductions of 1930s and 1940s magazine advertisements! — DF)

Bowers, Peter. Piper Cubs. TAB Books, 1993. A remorselessly detailed, competently written, and well-illustrated history of the Cub up to 1992. The organization is by model and modification, plus a few chapters on oddities like the Brodie Device and circus stunts.

Flight of Passage
Buck, Rinker. Flight of Passage. Hyperion, 1997. One of my favorite books of all time. When I read it, I promptly ordered two more copies, one for a pal whose wedding I had photographed, and who flew to it with his bride and landed his J-3 in a field behind the JP's house. (Another pal.) Before he could take off again, we had to borrow a big riding mower and reduce the field to a lawn. The second recipient, who was also at the wedding, was never a pilot but spent most of his retirement years playing Flight Sim on his computer. The book is a beautifully written memoir of Rink Buck's 1966 flight across the United States with his older brother Kernahan in a PA-11 they'd rebuilt themselves. This is a story about love — love of flying, love of Cubs, brotherly love, and the conflicted love between two boys and their outrageous dad. I can't recommend it too highly.

Byars, Betsy. Coast to Coast. Delacorte, 1992. "Realizing that sending her grandfather, Pop, to live in a nursing home will kill his already dying spirit, Birch urges Pop to take the cross-country plane flight he has always dreamed of, and to take Birch with him." For middle-schoolers.

Christy, Joe. The Piper Classics. TAB Books, 1988. An an overview of the fabric covered single engine line of Piper aircraft.

Clark, Bill. The Piper Indians. TAB Books, 1988. Also has a nice summary of the history of the Piper tube and fabric airplanes. The first chapter in the book would be of the most interest to those involved with the early Pipers, both long and short-wing versions. [Todd Chisum]

Erickson, George. True North: Exploring the Great Wilderness by Bush Plane. Lyons Press, 2002. Dentist-turned-bush pilot flies his PA-11 floatplane into the far reaches of the north.

Fairbairn, D.N., The Flying Sunbeam. Whitman Tell-A-Tale Books, 1950. Children's story illustrated by Betty Anderson.

Ford, Daniel. Taildragger Tales: My Late-Blooming Romance with a Piper Cub and Her Younger Sisters. Self-published collection of the magazine articles listed below. Available in digital and audiobook editions.

Francis, Devon. Mr. Piper and His Cubs. Iowa State University Press, 1973. Flying Books, 1996. The latter has an anonymous epilog and a tribute by William Piper Jr. I reckon this is the "authorized biography," and it has the faults and virtues of a company-sponsored book. (The 1996 paperback was certainly sponsored, if not the original.) The detail is there, but so is the unquestioning adoration of "Mr. Piper" and the sometimes suspicious anecdotes. Did it really happen that way? I don't know, but this is the best account we've got.

Those Legendary Piper Cubs
Glines, Carroll. Those Legendary Piper Cubs - The prolific historian-author recounts the Cub's history in war and peace in one of those handsome, oversized books from Schiffer. 176 pages, 250+ color and B&W photographs, 8½"x 11", hardcover book. $44.95

Gordon, Joseph Furbee. Flying Low: And Shot Down Twice During World War II in a Spotter Plane. Hardcover; 220 pages, illustrated, bibliography, index Retail Price: $27. The book is endorsed by Ken Wakefield, author of The Fighting Grasshoppers and Lightplanes at War. [Walter Haan]

Kowalik, Ernest, and John Bayer. Alone and Unarmed: An Army Pilot Sharing the Skies with Artillery Fire in WWII Italy. Self-published, 2017 (3rd edition). Paperback, 412 pages, photographs, paperback $19.99; ebook $9.99.

Love, Terry. L-Birds: American Combat Liaison Aircraft of World War II. Flying Books, 2001. A magazine-sized paperback. Reviewed on this website

Lyons, Sam — see What's a Piper Cub below

Moore, Don. Low and Slow: Liberation of the Philippines as Viewed from 800 Feet Above the Ground. San Antonio Heights Publishing Co., 1999. Another wonderfully written memoir, this one of unarmed air combat at 500 feet over Japanese lines. (Why is it that Cub pilots write so beautifully, and Cub historians so badly?) Includes a chapter on the Brodie Device. Reviewed on this website

The High Country

Peek, Chester. The First Cub. Three Peaks Publishing, 1996? (ISBN 1-886196-02-8). "This book is about the early Pipers up to the E-2 Cub and the restoration of an E-2 Cub." [Todd Chisum]

Peperell, Roger. Piper Aircraft: The Development and History of Piper Designs. Air-Britain, 1996. The first third of this large and detailed book lays out what appears to be the definitive account of the Cubs built by Taylor and Piper, with serials, production dates, and many photos. The appendix has some stuff on foreign licensees.

Phillips, Edward. Piper: A Legend Aloft. Flying Books, 1993. From the J-3 to modern low-wings; 400 photos, 170 pp.

J-3 Service Manual
Piper Aircraft Corporation. Service Manual Covering Care and Operation of Piper Cub Trainer J-3 - Reprint of the original manual with all the drawings. 12 pages of service information and 8 double fold out pages of drawings. 8½"x 11", spiral bound. May be available at Amazon

——. Piper Cub, in War and Peace. Piper Aircraft, 1944.

Schultz, Alfred. Janey: A Little Plane in a Big War. Southfarm Press, 1998. The story of the liaison pilot in day-to-day operations and with the difficulties the pilot and crew had to overcome in accomplishing the mission. [Janey] had the distinction of carrying Lieutenant General George Patton and Third Infantry Division Commander Major General John "Iron Mike" O'Daniel as passengers, [and of] being the only L-4B to survive the entire European war intact. Shultz and Janey are also credited with bringing down one ME-109 by luring it into the mountains. [Todd Chisum] Reviewed on this site

Simbeck, Rob. Daughter of the Air: The Brief Soaring Life of Cornelia Fort. Publishers Group West, 1999. Mentions two Piper Cubs caught in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor; one shot down.

Sparks, Bill. Close Encounters of a Vagabond Ferry Pilot. Self-published, 2001. A great book about flying and Piper Aircraft in 1946-47.

Strickland, Patricia. The Putt-Putt Air Force: The Story of The Civilian Pilot Training Program and The War Training Service (1939-1944). Department of Transportation, FAA, 1971.

Ten Eyck, Andrew. Jeeps in the Sky: The Story of the Light Plane. Commonwealth, 1946.

Triggs, James. The Piper Cub Story. TAB Books, 1978. Mass-market paperback. Very brief history with many photos and diagrams; especially welcome are several pages of reproductions from the 1941 J-3 Parts Manual. The utility of these items is somewhat limited by the cheap paper and small page size. Lots of homely information on preflighting, starting, and flying the airplane.

Wakefield, Ken. The Fighting Grasshoppers: US Liaison Aircraft Operations in Europe, 1942-1945. Midland County Publications / Specialty Press, 1990. A handsome book on the Schiffer model — large format, many photographs, three-column magazine layout, gorgeously printed on slick paper. Alas, I find the text stupifyingly dull. Still, the information is there, and that's what matters.

Wakefield, Ken. Lightplanes at War: Us Liaison Aircraft in Europe, 1942-1947. Tempus Publishing Ltd, 2000. 272 pages hardcover, a bit smaller than the earlier book. Haven't read it so don't know how it differs. Evidently out of print. Used copies may be available at, or use the ABE search engine on this page.

What's a Piper Cub? Wheaton, Jim; illustrated by Sam Lyons. What's a Piper Cub?. Humpty Bump, 1997. Lyons is a notable aviation artist, and this is a book for kids 4-8. 27 illustrations, 32 pp. [Todd Chisum] I got this book for my grand-daughter and must have read it to her a score of times. It's been a huge success in turning a two-year-old into a future Piper Cub pilot — DF.

Williams, Dave. The Khaki Angel. Ethnic Enterprises, 2002. Story of an airplane crash in the Canadian Rockies and a glacier-top rescue attempt by a young pilot in a Super Cub.

Cub articles, manuals, videos

Alaska Airmen Association. Logbook. "An invaluable resource." [Rick C]

Coontz, Stephen. "The Good Old Days." AOPA Pilot, October 2000. Flying with your foot out the door. [DF]

Cub Club. Cub Clues. 16-page newsletter published six times a year. Sharon and Steve Krog, editor-publishers, 1002 Heather Lane, Hartford WI 53027. Photos, articles, tips, classified ads, supplier ads.

Ford, Daniel. "Roger, I Have the Controls". University of New Hampshire Magazine, Spring 1999. Learning to fly in a Piper L-4. See Taildragger Tales listed above.

——. "Here's One Way to Fly: Stop, Drop and Roll". Wall Street Journal, May 17, 2001. See Taildragger Tales listed above.

——. "A Big Lake, a Little Plane, and 12 Gallons of Gas". Wall Street Journal, 28 January 2002. Pleasures of flying a small plane. See Taildragger Tales listed above.

——. "A Sentimental Journey to Lock Haven". Air&Space/Smithsonian, October-November 2002. See Taildragger Tales listed above.

——. "Here's One Way to Fly: Stop, Drop and Roll". Wall Street Journal, May 17, 2001. See Taildragger Tales listed above.

——. "A Big Lake, a Little Plane, and 12 Gallons of Gas". Wall Street Journal, 28 January 2002. Pleasures of flying a small plane. See Taildragger Tales listed above.

——. "Low and Slow in New Jersey". AOPA Pilot, November 2005. See Taildragger Tales listed above.

——. "Meeting the National Defense Emergency". Blog post, September 15, 2001, revised for Piper Cub Forum (no longer available), revised again for Taildragger Tales listed above, 2012.

Taildragger Tales

Goyer, Norm. "An Amphibious Husky: The Best of the Breed." Private Pilot, December 2001. Test flight, with background on Aviat and the Husky's debt to the Piper Cub / Super Cub. [DF]

Marsh, Alton. "A Gathering of Parts." AOPA Pilot, October 2000. Cub Crafters Top Cubs. [DF]

Piper Aircraft Corporation. Cub Flier. Lock Haven PA: Piper Aircraft, dates? Company newsletter.

——. Financial Statement. Lock Haven PA: Piper Aircraft, 1938.

——. How to Fly a Piper Cub. Lock Haven PA: Piper Aircraft, 1946. Naturally when I decided to switch my allegiance to the Cub, I asked for a copy of the Pilot's Operating Handbook. With a laugh, George sold me this pamphlet for $6, and I have seen many such sales and laughs in the three years since. I don't know who reprinted it — New Piper Aircraft? Anyhow, it's a 32-page period piece with a price list ($2,195 for a Cub Special, flyaway Lock Haven that would compute to about $40,000 today), sales brochure, and how-to-fly course in 53 photos. [DF]

——. Super Cub Owner's Handbook. Lock Haven PA: Piper Aircraft, revised 1977. There are other editions; this is for SN 18-7409140 and up.

Piper, William Sr. What Your Town Needs for the Coming Air Age. Lock Haven PA: Piper Aircraft, 1944.

——. Piper, William Sr. Private Flying, Today and Tomorrow. New York: Pittman, 1949.

Piper, William Jr. From Cub to Navaho: The Story of the Piper Aircraft Corporation. New York: Newcomen Society, 1970.

TM Technologies. Complete Piper J-3 Cub Training Series. Remaster from four 16 mm Piper training films in DVD format. $65 to buy, $9.40 to rent.

Wakefield, Ken. "On a Postage Stamp." FlyPast, March 2000. WWII Cub strips in Britain. [DF]

Taildraggers, bush pilots, and suchlike topics

Deremer, Dale. Water Flying Concepts: An Advanced Text on Wilderness Water Flying. Aviation Book Co., 1996. "Best book on practical float flying once you have your license to learn.... Geared to floats but has some valuable wilderness flying and fly camping sections that are valuable for all. For anyone considering a trip to Alaska or western Canada. [Rick C]

Faure, Marin. Flying a Floatplane. New York: McGraw Hill, 1996. [Michael Snow]

Federal Aviation Administration. Airplane Flying Handbook. Aviation Supplies & Academics, reprint 2004. Yes, the bureaucracy can do something right! Personally, I found the FAA handbook more useful than Langewiesch's fabled Stick and Rudder. I would use it to rehearse what I'd done in the days' flying lesson in the Cub. [DF]

Imeson, Sparky. Mountain Flying Bible. Aurora Publications 1998, revised 2005. This book is not particularly well written, with many typos and many things repeated. However, there is a wealth of information on the subject of mountain flying that I have not seen anywhere else. I highly recommend it for those who will be venturing into mountain areas or higher elevations. [Lynn Towns]

Greiner, James. Wager With the Wind: The Don Sheldon Story. New York: St Martin's Press, 1982. Story of a Talkeetna bush pilot whose many rescues included a landing on Denali. That looks like a Super Cub on the cover. [Todd Chishum]

Grindle, Link. Flying — Off the Pavement: A Manual for the Amateur Bush Pilot. Lasenda Publishers 1977. LT: "I bought a used copy of this book from Harvest Books. The book has some useful information, particularly the chapter on wilderness survival." [Darren Lucke, Lynn Towns]

Langewiesche, Wolfgang. Stick and Rudder, An Explanation of the Art of Flying. McGraw-Hill 1944, 1972, 1990. "Sometimes boring and convoluted, but a very thorough explanation of the art of flying, describing both what to do and why, and what not to do (and why). Most of his examples are for airplanes with weights and speeds nearly identical to a PA-11 Cub. This is a book that I wish I would have read when I was learning to fly." [Lynn Towns] Well, personally, I did use it when I was training in the Cub, and it slowed me down a lot because what Mr Langewiesche taught in the 1930s and 1940s is not what is taught today. When you go on the downwind leg, what you see is not at all what the book illustrates. Why everyone recommends it is beyond me! [DF]

Potts, F. E. Guide to Bush Flying: Concepts and Techniques for the Pro. Aviation Book Co., 1993. "I really enjoyed F.E. Potts book the most." [Darren Lucke] I would liked more space devoted to the landing & takeoff chapters. [DF]

Plourde, Harvey. The Compleat Taildragger Pilot. Goffstown NH: Plourde family, 1991. Not specifically about Cubs, but invaluable for any taildragger pilot. [DF] Reviewed on this website

Rogers, Earl. Flying the Rim. Nice recollection of a 1950s uranium prospector in a Super Cub "graybird", each chapter twinned with one recollecting his training as a Naval aviator. 2002. [df]

Wanttaja, Ron. Kitplane Construction. New York: McGraw Hill, 1996. [Michael Snow]

Question? Comment? Newsletter? Send me an email. Blue skies! — Dan Ford

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