Taylorcraft

Model B

L-2
Grasshopper

Taylorcraft Aviation was an American airplane manufacturer that has been producing aircraft for more than seventy years in several locations.

The designer, Clarence Gilbert Taylor, a self-taught aeronautical engineer from Nottingham, England, can be called the father of private aviation in America, as he designed the original Taylor Cub in 1931 at Bradford, Pennsylvania. Taylor, along with his brother Gordon, formed Taylor Brothers Aircraft Corporation - slogan; "Buy Your Airplane Taylor Made" - in Rochester, New York in 1926, offering a two-seat high-winged monoplane called the "Chummy", priced at $4,000. The Chummy failed to sell, and after Gordon died flying another Taylor design in 1928, Clarence moved to Bradford, Pennsylvania, where the townsfolk had offered him a new factory at the local airfield plus $50,000 to invest in the company. One of the investors was William Thomas Piper, who had made his money from oil wells. Taylor shared with Piper a dream of making airplanes as common as cars for Americans. After continuing with the Chummy for a time, Taylor abandoned the design and began work on a new inexpensive aircraft to compete with the heavier craft common at the time. A battle between engineer and businessman caused a rift between the two. Piper took advantage of Taylor's absence during an illness, and instructed Taylor's junior engineer Walter Jamouneau to modify the Cub to be more attractive and marketable.  Taylor returned from his illness and left the company.

Taylor vowed to build a personal aircraft superior to the Cub. Taylor formed his own company in 1935 as Taylor Aircraft Company, renamed Taylorcraft Aviation Corporation in 1939. Meanwhile, a disastrous factory fire brought production of the Cub J-2 to a halt, and Piper bought the company out. It was placed back in production as the Piper J-3 Cub, becoming the iconic aircraft of general aviation in the 1930s and 1940s. Taylor operated out of a new facility in nearby Lock Haven, Pennsylvania.

In 1936 Taylor rented facilities at Pittsburgh-Butler Airport and first manufactured the "Taylorcraft" plane.

During WWII, light aircraft were used for training, liaison, and observation purposes. Taylorcraft's DCO-65 model was called the L-2 by the United States Army Air Forces and served alongside the military version of the Piper Cub in WW2. Taylorcraft Aeroplanes Ltd., a subsidiary based in Thurmaston, Leicestershire, England, developed the Taylorcraft Model 'D' and the Auster Mk. I through Mk. V, which became the backbone aircraft of the British AOP (Air Observation Post) and the three Canadian AOP squadrons, No. 664 Squadron RCAF, No. 665 Squadron RCAF, and No. 666 Squadron RCAF.

Taylorcraft Inc

In the fall of 1946 production was halted following a fire in the Taylorcraft factory at Alliance, Ohio and the company went into bankruptcy.  In 1949 C.G. Taylor bought the assets from the former company, and started a new company Taylorcraft, Inc. at Conway, Pennsylvania.  The company restarted production of the BC-12D Traveller and the BC-12-85D Sportsman.  The company produced few aircraft and the type certificates were sold to Univair and production was halted.

Taylorcraft Aviation Corporation

In 1971 the Taylorcraft Aviation Corporation, owned by Charles Feris put the Model 19 back into production as the F-19 Sportsman and added the F-21 model. Feris died in 1976 and the production continued at a low rate until 1985.  Charles Ruckle bought the company in 1985 and he moved the operation to Lock Haven, Pennsylvania, where the company produced 16 aircraft before it went bankrupt in 1986 and the company was offered for sale.

Polychron & O'Rielly ownership

John Polychron, former CEO of Del Monte Foods purchased Taylorcraft and operated it for approximately one year until he sold it to Philadelphia Attorney Phillip O'Rielly. O'Rielly never reopened and the company became deeply in debt resulting in a Sheriff's sale in 1996.

Booth ownership

Taylorcraft was saved from extinction by Lee Booth, a former Marine and an engineer from Seaford Delaware. Booth renamed the Company Booth-Taylorcraft Aerospace, Inc. Booth-Taylorcraft Aerospace paid all creditors in full and relocated the entire company in 88 53 ft long truck trailers to Greensboro, North Carolina.

Booth, as Chairman and President, directed the Corporation through an extensive recertification of all type certificates, engineering, FAA audits up to the Aircraft Certification Office level, production procedures, complete re-tooling and certification of tooling and work processes. Booth enlisted the assistance of Darrell C. Romick, former Chief Engineer of Taylorcraft Airplane Company and BF Goodrich. Romick was a close associate of Werner von Braun and worked for Goodyear Aircraft in the 1950s.

Booth-Taylorcraft Aerospace, Inc became a contractor to numerous governments for military aircraft, weapons systems and firearms. Booth was the first Taylorcraft owner in the company's history to keep the company debt free the entire time he operated it. In March 2000, Booth formed a strategic partnership by selling half of the Civil Aircraft Division to Harvey Patrick of Pats, Inc. Booth retained all military items, UAVs, several type certificates, designs and patents. The Small Aircraft Division was moved to Georgetown, Delaware at the Sussex County Airport. Booth and Patrick then formed Taylorcraft 2000, LLC and served as Co-chairmen. Booth eventually sold his half to Harvey Patrick and Taylorcraft 2000, LLC was owned by the Harvey and Vera Patrick Foundation. In 2003 The Harvey and Vera Patrick Foundation sold the company to Harry Ingram, with 100% financing.

The current owner, Harry Ingram, moved the plant to La Grange, Texas in 2003 and on April 25, 2005 it was announced that the factory was moving again to Brownsville, Texas and outsourcing the labor.

2008 Repossession

On February 21, 2008 the company was repossessed by its former owner, Taylorcraft 2000 LLC. The previous owners had taken orders for new struts for existing aircraft to alleviate a repetitive inspection Airworthiness Directive and is delivering struts to customers. The design's type certificates, drawings, jigs, templates and parts have been put up for sale.

Aircraft Produced

  • Taylor Cub
  • Taylorcraft A, B, and D
  • L-2 Grasshopper
  • Taylorcraft LBT
  • Taylorcraft TG-6
  • Taylorcraft Ace
  • Taylorcraft Tourist
  • Taylorcraft Traveler
  • Taylorcraft De Luxe 65
  • Taylorcraft De Luxe 85
  • Taylorcraft F-19 Sportsman
  • Taylorcraft Special De Luxe
  • Taylorcraft 20 Ranch Wagon
  • Taylorcraft 20 Topper
  • Taylorcraft Seabird
  • Taylorcraft Zephyr
  • Taylorcraft F-21
  • Taylorcraft F-22

Source: Wikipedia