L-3 Aeronca Grasshopper
The L-3 Aeronca was the military version of the Aeronca Model 65 Defender. Its original military desigantion was as the O-58. They were first ordered by the Army in 1941 and Aeronca, of Middletown, OH, delivered over 1400 of them between 1941 and 1943. Of these, 875 were the L-3B model. The Aeronca L-3J was a tandem trainer.
The high wing, light aircraft was used for liason and observation missions in direct support of ground troops. It could operate successfully from small, hastily built airfields. The Aeronca L-3 joined other Grasshoppers such as the Taylorcraft L-2M and the Piper L-4 for artillery fire direction, courier service, front line liason, and pilot training.
This plane was powered by a 65 hp Continental O-170-3 engine to a maximum speed of 87 mph over a range of 199 miles. It had a maximum weight of 1300 pounds. The wingspan was 35 feet, length 21 feet, and height 7 feet, 8 inches
World War II era Aeronca photo of an L-3.
USAF photo of an L-3B, which is now on display at the USAF Museum. It was purchased as surplus after the war and was ompletely restored by its previous owner, Paul Grice of Waynesville, OH. This airplane was flown to the USAF Museum on 29 May 1984.
Aeronca L-3B photographed at the National Museum of the United States Air Force, Wright-Patterson AFB, OH, August 2005. This is the same aircraft as the photo immediately above. Photo: Courtesy of Bob Pettit.
Aeronca L-3J photographed at the Vintage Flying Museum, Meacham International Airport (FTW), Fort Worth, TX, March 2006. Photo: Courtesy of Bob Pettit.