L-4 Grasshopper, U.S. Liaison and Observation Aircraft

Photograph of L-4 Grasshopper


Piper L-4A Grasshopper



1 or 2


35'3" by 22'5" by 6'8"
10.74m by 6.83m by 2.03m


640-1200 lbs
290-544 kg

Maximum speed      

85 mph
137 km/h

Cruise speed 75 mph
121 km/h
Landing speed
38 mph
61 km/h

Service ceiling

9300 feet
2800 meters


190 miles
306 km
Fuel capacity
12 gallons
45.4 liters


One 65 hp Continental O-170

Production 6000 from 1941 to 1945

The L-4 Grasshopper was originally designated as the O-59 but was most widely known by its civilian name, the Piper J3 Cub. It saw widespread use in the European war, but also saw service in the Pacific, in spite of a very limited range, carrying capacity, and maximum speed, less than that of most modern automobiles. It was capable of operating from very short, rough airstrips, and it remained in military use clear into the Vietnam era.


National Museum of the USAF (accessed 2013-10-7)
Pearson (2012; accessed 2013-10-7)