The Piper J4 Cub Coupe is a wider side-by-side version of the Piper J-3 that was built between 1938 and 1942 by Piper Aircraft. It was Piper's first model with side-by-side seating; combined with docile low-speed handling, this made it a good trainer. The first J4s had a Continental 50 hp A50 engine with upward-facing exhaust ports, an open cowl, oil and spring landing gear, a unique tail wheel system and many other changes compared to the J-3.

The J4 was followed by the J4A which had a Continental A65 engine. Later versions, B, E, and F had a fully enclosed cowling and a redesigned interior.

The Cub Aircraft Co. Ltd at Lundtofte in Denmark got a license from Piper Aircraft to build Cubs for the Scandinavian market. The airplanes were assembled based on kits shipped from Amerika.

In 1939 Russia attacked Finland and the people of Norway tried to find ways to help the Finish people (easy to see the similarity with the attack on Ukraine). Finnlandskomiteen (the Aid for Finland) was established, and it was decided to buy three Piper J4A’s that could be used to train Finish pilots. The three became LN-FAR, LN-HAB and LN-HAD.

LN-HAD, a J4A with S/N 4-568, was according to the data plate manufactured 19 May 1939. This was probably the date for the kit production. It was completed in March 1940 and temporary registered LN-HAD 26 March 1940 before it departed for Fornebu, Oslo the next day. Widerĝe’s Flyveselskap AS was already busy training Finish pilots at the ice-cowered lake Steinsfjorden 15 nautical miles northwest of Oslo. However, the project was short-lived as the Germans attacked Norway on 9 April 1940. The aircraft logbook has disappeared but a logbook belonging to the Finish pilot Leo Louhijas documents that he flew LN-HAD twice at Steinsfjorden 5 April 1940.

Photo of LN-HAD probably taken in connection with registration in Denmark.

Information is scarce about what happened to LN-HAD during the war. It is likely that it was stored during most of the time. However, it was also documented as being part of Hirdens Flykorps, a paramilitary fascist organization connected to the Norwegian Nazi party that recruited youth to start flying.

All three airplanes survived the war and was central in teaching the first civilian pilots in peacetime. LN-HAD was registered to Widerĝe’s Flyveselskap AS until 1952 when it flew in SAS colors for a period. Initially, LN-HAD arrived from Denmark with the Continental A50 engine. However, at some stage following WWII this engine was replaced with a more conventional Continental A65 engine. It is possible that a letter “A” was stamped at the original data plate in connection with this modification.  

A ski-equipped LN-HAD at the frozen lake Steinsfjordern. The photo is most likely taken one of the first years following WWII.

LN-HAD with the green colors of Widerĝe’s Flyveselskap AS at Fornebu, the old Oslo Airport. Note the Continental A65 engine and standard type tail wheel.

In 1955, LN-HAD was sold to Drammen flyklubb (flying club) and later to Nils Petter Loe in 1967. LN-HAD changed ownership again when Mr. Loe died in 1994. The CofA was cancelled in 1977. The new owners restored LN-HAD to static condition only, again painted in the green colors of Widerĝe’s Flyveselskap AS. The final change of ownership took place in 2007 when LN-HAD was bought by Gunnar Arnekleiv og Henrik Harr Widerĝe (grandson of one of the three initial founders Wiggo Widerĝe). Gunnar and Henrik see the historical significance of LN-HAD, it being the oldest surviving aircraft from Norway’s oldest airline company, Widerĝe’s Flyveselskap AS was established in 1934. Gunnar and Henrik decided to make it airworthy again and contacted us at the Storch Nest.