Piper L-4 Grasshopper 12965 (EC-AJY) made its first post-restoration flight recently at Cuatro Vientos, near Madrid, Spain. The plane is operated by the Fundación Infante de Orleans (FIO), and the restoration project was started in the summer of 2011.
The Piper has been back-converted from a J-3C-65 civil aviation variant to its original status as an L-4H military aircraft, including its original color and marking scheme with the serial number 44-80669.
Based on the civil aviation Piper J-3 Cub, the L-4 Grasshopper is distinguishable from civilian models by its plexiglas skylight and rear windows for improved visibility. Carrying a single pilot and no passenger, the L-4 had a top speed of 85 MPH, a cruise speed of 75 MPH, a service ceiling of 12,000 feet, a stall speed of 38 MPH, an endurance of three hours and a range of 225 miles. 5,413 L-4s were produced for U.S. military forces and the L-4 was used extensively in World War II for reconnaissance, transporting supplies, artillery spotting duties, and medical evacuation of wounded soldiers.
This Piper was built in Lock Haven, Pennsylvania in 0ctober 1944, and served initially with the Ninth Air Force in Europe. After demobilisation it was sold as HB-0CM and then registered in Spain as EC-AJY in June 1966. The aircraft is scheduled to make its public debut at an FIO air show early this year.