Pilot Magazine | Aug 01, 2011
N5000W rolled out of Piper's then-new factory in Vero Beach, Florida, in February 1961 - although factory is a term used loosely here. Piper's Vero Beach factory was technically not even finished yet, according to Piper Historian Roger Peperell. Rather, the airplane was made in a development building. Jim Tempel was one of the last people to work on N5000W. Tempel, then 20 years old, and his assembly partner took the cabin - which was on a dolly - and fitted the engine, wheels, wings, door, interior, and pretty much everything else at their station. "When we started, there were two of us at the position," he said. But when Tempel left Piper in 1962, the company was putting out so many airplanes he was only doing the nose cone, spinner, propeller, and cowling.