L-3 Grasshopper
Aeronca L-3B Grasshopper USAF.jpg
Aeronca L-3B belonging to the National Museum of the United States Air Force.
Role Observation and liaison aircraft
Manufacturer Aeronca Aircraft
First flight 1941
Primary user United States Army Air Forces
Developed from Aeronca 50 Chief

The Aeronca L-3 group of observation and liaison aircraft were used by the United States Army Air Corps in World War II. The L-3 series were adapted from Aeronca's pre-war Tandem Trainer and Chief models.

Design and development

In 1941, the United States Army Air Corps ordered four examples of the Aeronca 65 TC Defender, designated YO-58, for evaluation of the suitability of light aircraft for observation and liaison purposes. (It also placed similar orders with Piper and Taylorcraft Aircraft). Service tests during the US Army's annual maneuvers proved successful, and resulted in large orders being placed. In 1942, the O-58 was redesignated L-3.[1][2]

When American forces went into combat after Pearl Harbor, the Army Air Force used the L-3 in much the same manner as observation balloons were used during World War I—spotting activities and directing artillery fire. It was also used for liaison and transport duties and short-range reconnaissance which required airplanes to land and take off in short distances from unprepared landing strips. Liaison pilots would train on L-3s before moving on to front-line aircraft like the Piper L-4 or the Stinson L-5. Some L-3s were shipped to North Africa, and subsequently given to the Free French Forces in the area at the time. At least one of the aircraft served with US forces in Italy.[citation needed]And minimally one other did service in Normandy, as reported by the Detroit Free Press on 25 June 1944, with a photograph indicating transport of medical supplies to the advancing front-line regiments.

The TG-5 was a three-seat training glider of 1942 based upon the O-58 design. This aircraft retained the O-58's rear fuselage, wings, and tail while adding a new front fuselage in place of the engine. In all, Aeronca built 250 TG-5 gliders for the Army. The Navy received three as the LNR-1.[3]

1942 Aeronca Grasshopper L-3B observation and liaison aircraft, formerly of the United States Army Air Forces, now privately owned as G-BRHP in England
1942 Aeronca Grasshopper L-3B observation and liaison aircraft, formerly of the United States Army Air Forces, now privately owned as G-BRHP in England

Variants

Piper TG-8 glider trainer in flight, similar in appearance to the Aeronca TG-5.
Piper TG-8 glider trainer in flight, similar in appearance to the Aeronca TG-5.

O-58 designation replaced by L-3 designation in April 1942[4]

Operators

 Brazil
 Cuba
 Chile

30 L-3B delivered to Chile via Lend-Lease program in 1943, all delivered to civil aero clubs. 4 Survivors (CC-KGA at La Ligua, CC-SHA at Chile's Aviation Museum. Two examples in the hands of restorers at Tobalaba airfield, Santiago, and Los Angeles.)

 Dominican Republic
 United States
 Venezuela

Surviving aircraft

L-3B Grasshopper at the Cavanaugh Flight Museum
L-3B Grasshopper at the Cavanaugh Flight Museum

Aside from 15 L-3s (2 L-3, 7 L-3B, and 6 L-3C) that remain on the US civil registry as of June 2016,[9] a number have also found their way into museums

Specifications (L-3C)

Data from Jane's Fighting Aircraft of World War II.[46]

General characteristics

Performance

See also

Related development

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration, and era

Related lists

Notes

  1. ^ Swanborough and Bowers 1963, p. 31.
  2. ^ Mondey 1996, p. 8.
  3. ^ Swanborough and Bowers 1963, pp. 32–33.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Adcock, 2005, p.21
  5. ^ Swanborough and Bowers 1963, p.584.
  6. ^ Hagedorn 1993, p. 15.
  7. ^ Hagedorn 1993, p. 97.
  8. ^ Air International September 1973, p. 121.
  9. ^ FAA Registry Search for Aeronca L-3 accessed 12 June 2016
  10. ^ "Aircraft Inquiry". registry.faa.gov. Retrieved 2021-11-02.
  11. ^ "FAA REGISTRY [N46513]". Federal Aviation Administration. U.S. Department of Transportation. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  12. ^ "Airframe Dossier – Aeronca L-3 Grasshopper, s/n 42-14773 USAAF, c/r N4209K". Aerial Visuals. AerialVisuals.ca. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  13. ^ "FAA REGISTRY [N4209K]". Federal Aviation Administration. U.S. Department of Transportation. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  14. ^ "Alamo Liaison Squadron Picture Gallery". The Alamo Liaison Squadron. Alamo Liaison Squadron. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  15. ^ "Airframe Dossier – Aeronca O-58B Grasshopper, s/n 42-36152 USAAF, c/n 058B-1782, c/r N52169". Aerial Visuals. AerialVisuals.ca. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  16. ^ "FAA REGISTRY [N52169]". Federal Aviation Administration. U.S. Department of Transportation. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  17. ^ "Aeronca L-3B "Grasshopper"". National Museum of the US Air Force. 17 April 2015. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  18. ^ "Airframe Dossier – Aeronca L-3B Grasshopper, s/n 42-36200 USAAF". Aerial Visuals. AerialVisuals.ca. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  19. ^ "Aeronca L3 "Grasshopper"". Port Townsend Aero Museum. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  20. ^ "Airframe Dossier – Aeronca O-58B Grasshopper, s/n 43-1844 USAAF, c/r N48145". Aerial Visuals. AerialVisuals.ca. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  21. ^ "FAA REGISTRY [N48145]". Federal Aviation Administration. U.S. Department of Transportation. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  22. ^ "Aeronca L-3B Defender". Air Zoo. Air Zoo. Archived from the original on 21 December 2016. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  23. ^ "Airframe Dossier – Aeronca L-3B Grasshopper, s/n 43-26772 USAAF, c/n 058B-9093, c/r N47139". Aerial Visuals. AerialVisuals.ca. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  24. ^ "Airframe Dossier – Aeronca L-3B Grasshopper, s/n 43-26819 USAAC, c/n 58B 9563, c/r CC-SHA". Aerial Visuals. AerialVisuals.ca. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  25. ^ "Aeronca L-3B Grasshopper". The Museum Of Flight. The Museum Of Flight. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  26. ^ "Aircraft". Cavanaugh Flight Museum. Archived from the original on 2016-10-29. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  27. ^ "FAA REGISTRY [N47373]". Federal Aviation Administration. U.S. Department of Transportation. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  28. ^ "Aeronca L3 (Grasshopper)". Wings of Eagles Discovery Center. Wings of Eagles Discovery Center. Archived from the original on 2016-06-29. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  29. ^ "FAA REGISTRY [N33769]". Federal Aviation Administration. U.S. Department of Transportation. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  30. ^ "Our Collection". Vintage Flying Museum. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  31. ^ "Aeronca L-3B Grasshopper". Western Antique Aeroplane & Automobile Museum. WAAAM. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  32. ^ "Airframe Dossier – Aeronca O-58B Grasshopper, c/r N47751". Aerial Visuals. AerialVisuals.ca. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  33. ^ "FAA REGISTRY [N47751]". Federal Aviation Administration. U.S. Department of Transportation. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  34. ^ "1941 L-3B Grasshopper". Air Group One. Air Group One CAF. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  35. ^ "FAA REGISTRY [N36687]". Federal Aviation Administration. U.S. Department of Transportation. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  36. ^ "CAF Ghost Squadron- The Liaison/Observation Aircraft". Commemorative Air Force Headquarters. Commemorative Air Force. Archived from the original on 14 December 2016. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  37. ^ "FAA REGISTRY [N27336]". Federal Aviation Administration. U.S. Department of Transportation. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  38. ^ "L3 "Lil' Show Me"". Commemorative Air Force – Missouri Wing. Commemorative Air Force – Missouri Wing. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  39. ^ "FAA REGISTRY [N36681]". Federal Aviation Administration. U.S. Department of Transportation. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  40. ^ "FAA REGISTRY [N46248]". Federal Aviation Administration. U.S. Department of Transportation. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  41. ^ "FAA REGISTRY [N48441]". Federal Aviation Administration. U.S. Department of Transportation. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  42. ^ "Airframe Dossier – Aeronca50/65 / L-3 Champion / LNR / O-58 / TG-5 / TG-33, c/n 16645". Aerial Visuals. AerialVisuals.ca. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  43. ^ "FAA REGISTRY [N46893]". Federal Aviation Administration. U.S. Department of Transportation.
  44. ^ "FAA REGISTRY [N46082]". Federal Aviation Administration. U.S. Department of Transportation. Retrieved 1 May 2020.
  45. ^ "FAA REGISTRY [N49705]". Federal Aviation Administration. U.S. Department of Transportation. Retrieved 1 May 2020.
  46. ^ Bridgeman, Leonard. "The Aeronca Grasshopper." Jane's Fighting Aircraft of World War II. London: Studio, 1946. p. 203–204. ISBN 1 85170 493 0.

References