Stinson L-1 Vigilant

The Stinson L-1 liaison aircraft (originally designated O-49) was the military version of the civilian Stinson Model 74. It marked the transition between heavier and larger observation aircraft used by the U.S. Army Air Corps in the 1930s and the lighter liaison “grasshopper" type aircraft represented as the L-birds during World War II.


Between 1939 and 1941, the Army Air Corps ordered 142 L-1s and 182 L-1As with a 13-inch longer fuselage. Equipped with full-span automatic slats on the leading edge of the wings and pilot-operated slotted flaps on the trailing edge, Vigilants were well suited for operations from short fields. The versitile Vigilant was used for a variety of missions both in the United States and overseas during WWII, including towing training gliders, artillery spotting, liaison duty, emergency rescue, transporting supplies, special espionage missions behind Japanese lines and even for dropping light bombs. Some Vigilants were converted as ambulance aircraft, and were sometimes fitted with skis or with floats for water takeoffs and landings.


Read more about the O-49 / L-1 restoration by Alamo Liaison Squadron here.

 

SPECIFICATIONS

Wingspan: 50 ft. 11 in.
Length: 34 ft. 4 in.
Height: 10 ft. 2 in.
Empty weight: 2,670 lbs.
Max. takeoff weight: 3,400 lbs.
Wing area:
Armament: None
Engine: Lycoming R-680 295 hp, 9-cylinder radial
Crew: Three
Cost: $21,000

 

PERFORMANCE

Max. speed: 122 mph (106 kts)
Cruise speed: 109 mph (95 kts)
Range: 280 miles (243 nm)
Service Ceiling: 12,800 ft.
Rate of climb: 408 ft./min.
Wing loading: 10.3 lbs./s.f.
Power to mass: 0.0867 hp/lb.
Stinson L-1 Vigilant

 


The L-1 Vigilant receives some attention during 1984 CAF Airshow preview at Ft. Sam Houston. Photo by Charles Barksdale.


L-1 Vigilant in flight following restoration at Cannon Field.

 

See also the Stinson/Vultee L-1A “Vigilant” at the National Museum of the US Air Force, Wright-Patterson AFB OH (near Dayton).


Photo courtesy of National Museum of the US Air Force.


Photo courtesy of National Museum of the US Air Force.


Stinson L-1 restored by Kermit Weeks at Fantasy of Flight.

 

Alamo Liaison SquadronAmerica's Fighting Planes In Action (L-1).
Book Exceprts, 1943, 6 pages.
For the convenience of a PDF download of this article, we ask for a dollar or more donation to ALS using the PayPal link below. Please specify America's Fighting Planes L-1 PDF file.

Alamo Liaison SquadronThe Stinson L-1 "Vigilant."
A magazine article by Norm Petersen, Vintage Airplane, February 1984, 3 pages.
For the convenience of a PDF download of this article, we ask for a dollar or more donation to ALS using the PayPal link below. Please specify Stinson L-1 Vigilant Vintage Airplane PDF file.

Alamo Liaison SquadronStinson L-1 Vigilant - Pat Harker's Slow-speed Wonder.
A magazine article by Budd Davisson, Sport Aviation, April 2017, 8 pages.
For the convenience of a PDF download of this article, we ask for a dollar or more donation to ALS using the PayPal link below. Please specify Stinson L-1 Vigilant Sport Aviation PDF file.

Alamo Liaison SquadronVultee O-49/L-1 Vigilant - U.S. Liaison Aircraft.
A journal article by William Monday, U.S. Warplanes of World War II, 2 pages.
For the convenience of a PDF download of this article, we ask for a dollar or more donation to ALS using the PayPal link below. Please specify Vultee O-49/L-1 PDF file.

Alamo Liaison SquadronLast of the Breed, First of the Series… Dave Smith's Stinson-Vultee L-1.
A magazine article by Budd Davisson, Sport Aviation, September 1994, 4 pages.
For the convenience of a PDF download of this article, we ask for a dollar or more donation to ALS using the PayPal link below. Please specify Dave Smith's L-1 PDF file.

Alamo Liaison SquadronArmy's Amphibious Stinson for liaison, observation and ambulance work.
A magazine clipping, Flying, March 1944, 1 page.
For the convenience of a PDF download of this article, we ask for a dollar or more donation to ALS using the PayPal link below. Please specify Stinson Firsts PDF file.

 

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