The L-3 liaison aircraft, originally designated O-58, is 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 Middleton, Ohio, built more than 1,400 of these aircraft for the Army--875 of them were L-3Bs.
During WW II, Aeronca L-3s joined similar "Grasshoppers" in artillery fire direction, courier service, front-line liaison and pilot training. In 1942, Aeronca developed the TG-5, a training glider based on the O-58. The three-seat glider had a front fuselage replacing the engine, but retained the rear fuselage, wings and tail of the powered version. Aeronca built 250 TG-5s for the Army.