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Manuscript Group 430
PAUL KNEPPER COLLECTION
1941-1942, 1990
1.8 cubic feet


Paul Knepper, of Tamaqua, Pennsylvania, began working with airplanes at an early age, earning his pilot's license at the age of 16. Before graduating from high school, Knepper helped barnstorming pilots, 1928-1930; later completed an apprenticeship as a mechanic at Hometown Airport and Hazelton Airport, 1930-1935; and worked as a pilot, mechanic, and field manager at Schuykill Airport, 1935-1936. Knepper worked at Douglas Aircraft Corporation in California from 1936 to 1938 when he accepted a position as Assistant Instructor at Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics. He was appointed Head Instructor several months later and while at the Institute he drew the plans for his new plane, the KA-1 Crusader. In 1941 he established a factory in Lehighton, Pennsylvania to market his plane commercially but with the advent of World War II, commercial aviation ceased and factory workers found jobs in war industries. Knepper became supervisor of the NYA and National Defense Training School at the Airport, and joined the Civil Air Patrol for anti-submarine missions off Suffolk County, Long Island, New York. The effort to produce the KA-1 commercially was never revived.

Fifty years after the war, a group of pilots and mechanics who helped to build the plane in 1940 secured approval from Knepper's widow to restore the KA-1 Crusader. They began work in the fall of 1989 and completed the plane one year later. The aircraft and papers describing its history were donated to the State Museum in memory of Paul Knepper. All records relate to the construction and restoration of aircrafts built by Paul Knepper.

The collection includes:
As of October 2009, this collection remains unprocessed.



PA State Archives Hours, Directions, & Fees Research Topics Finding Aids for Collections Land Records