Piper NE-1 Cub BuAer 26359

Published on 23 October 2022 by Philippe Ferretti

I will now tell you some words about one of my numerous elder brothers, number 8277-12. Oddly, several of them are named 8277. One could speak of twins, if they were not forty or so… A less poetic explanation could be a mistake in the follow-up of the manufacturer serial numbers, caught up in the factory with a double marking.

Piper Aircraft Company factory during the 30s. Lock Haven, Pennsylvania. Piper Aircraft Museum

NE-1, the naval Cub

While the US Army Air Corps had ordered, under the O-59 denomination (standing for 59th model of observation aircraft in the Army’s denomination), a lightly fuselage modified version, by adding a greenhouse skylight and rear windows thus giving a better visibility, the US Navy ordered 230 of the standard version of the J3C-65, as a flight training aircraft, which it named the NE-1; N” standing as a code letter for Training, and E” for Piper, in the Navy’s system. Twenty more aircraft will be ordered later, as NE-2.

Piper NE-1 "Cub" trainer aircraft (Bu number 26381), photographed circa 1942-43, possibly at NAS Hampton Roads, Virginia. Note commercial "Piper cub" marking on tail. National Archives 80-G-K-596 - https://www.history.navy.mil

USAAC aircraft were painted Olive Drab green; those of the US Navy being taken directly on the production line, they were painted “Lock Haven yellow”. Henry Ford had said: “Any customer can have a Ford model T painted any color that he wants so long as it is black.”; William Thomas Piper could have said: “Any customer can have a Piper Cub painted any color that he wants so long as it is yellow.”

Thus, most of the NEs remained soberly painted yellow, some aircraft even keeping for some time the black fuselage arrow, real trademark of the Piper Cub.

Picture taken from a US Navy instruction film.


Genuine NE-1, manufacturer serial number 8263, BuAer 26346, restored to flying conditions.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.