Aeronca L-3 Grasshopper

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 U.S. Army Air Forces (AAF) 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 AAF, of which 875 were L-3Bs.

During WWII, 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 AAF.



Wingspan: 35 ft. 0 in.
Length: 21 ft. 10 in.
Height: 7 ft. 8 in.
Empty weight: 835 lbs.
Max. takeoff weight: 1,300 lbs.
Wing area: 169 sq.ft.
Armament: None
Engine: Continental O-170-3 of 65 hp
Crew: Two (pilot and observer)
Cost: $2,826



Max. speed: 87 mph
Cruise speed: 79 mph
Range: 218 miles
Service ceiling: 7,750 ft.
Wing loading: 7.45 lbs./sq.ft.
Aeronca L-3 Grasshopper


Aeronca 11AC Chief at Cannon Field.


See also the Aeronca L-3B “Grasshopper” 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.


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