Piper PA-12 Super Cruiser
Single-engine three-seat high-wing monoplane

Archive Photos 1

Piper PA-12 Super Cruiser (N92547, c/n 12-76, 1946) on display c.1990 at the MCAS El Toro Airshow, MCAS El Toro, California (Photos by John Shupek)

Piper PA-12 Super Cruiser (NC3517M, c/n 12-2384, 1947) on display c.2006 at the Camarillo Air Show, Camarillo, California (Photos by John Shupek)

Overview 2

The Piper PA-12 Super Cruiser is an American three-seat, high wing, single engine conventional landing gear-equipped light aircraft that was produced by Piper Aircraft between 1946-48. The PA-12 was an upgraded and redesignated Piper J-5.

Development 2

When Piper dropped the J- designation system in exchange for the PA- system, the J-5C became the PA-12 Super Cruiser. The earlier J-5s had been powered by either a 100 hp (75 kW) Lycoming O-235 or a 75 hp (56 kW) Lycoming O-145. The newer PA-12 model was initially powered by a 108 hp (81 kW) Lycoming O-235-C engine, was fully cowled, and had a metal spar wing with two 19 gallon fuel tanks. A Lycoming O-235-C1 engine rated at 115 hp (86 kW) for take-off was optional.

The PA-12 is approved for wheels, skis, floats and also for crop spraying. The PA-12 cockpit accommodation is provided for the pilot in the front seat and two passengers in the rear seat, side-by-side. Unlike the J-3 Cub the PA-12 is flown solo from the front seat.

Operational Use2

Many Piper PA-12 Super Cruisers have been modified with larger engines. Wing flaps and a metal-skin fuselage can be added as modifications.

In 1947, two Piper PA-12 Super Cruisers named City of Washington and City of Angels flew around the world, and the worst mechanical failure they suffered was a cracked tailwheel. The City of Washington currently resides at the Boeing Aviation Hangar, part of the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA. The City of Angels is on display at the Piper Aviation Museum in Lock Haven, PA.

Many Piper PA-12 Super Cruisers are still flown and the type is commonly seen in North America. In November 2009 there were still 1688 registered in the USA and 229 in Canada.


Specifications (PA-12 Super Cruiser) 3




Tail Unit

Landing Gear

Power Plant








  1. Photos: John Shupek
  2. Wikipedia. Piper PA-12
  3. Bridgman, Leonard. (editor). Jane’s All The World’s Aircraft 1948, Sampson Low, Marston & Company, Ltd., London, 1948, page 310c-311c

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