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Aircraft Model: L-3 Grasshopper
Aircraft Type: Liaison/Observation
Fly During Show: No
Display Open To Public: Yes
Web Site: www.cafmo.org
L-3 Grasshopper

By 1940, The US Army Air Corps had begun to see the very real need for a light plane that could be used for rapid communications and in support of ground forces. The L-3, originally designated O-58, was the military version of the Aeronca Model 65 Defender. This high-wing, light airplane could operate from small, hastily-built flying fields. The Army ordered the first O-58s in 1941 to test the use of light aircraft for liaison and observation missions in direct support of ground forces. Between 1941 and 1943, Aeronca Aircraft Corp. of Middletown, Ohio, built more than 1,400 of these aircraft for the Army -- 875 of them were L-3Bs.

Operating from farms, roads or hastily built airfields, the "Grasshoppers" were used for liaison (the "L" in L-Birds) and observation missions in direct support of Allied ground forces. The L-3 has tandem seating for two, and the rear seat was arranged to allow the observer to sit facing either forward or backwards, depending on the mission. The L-3s were usually equipped with two-way radios and could perform many duties including artillery direction, courier service, front line liaison and pilot training. During World War II, Aeronca L-3s served in artillery fire direction, courier service, front-line liaison and pilot training. Many L-3 Grasshoppers saw service in the European, African and Korean theaters of the war.

Photo and information courtesy of the Missouri Wing of the Commemorative Air Force

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