The L-3 liaison aircraft, originally designated O-58, is the military version of an Aeronca Model 65 Defender. This high-wing, lightweight airplane could operate from small, hastily-built flying fields. The U.S. Army Air Forces (AAF) ordered the first O-58 aircraft in 1941 to test the use of light aircraft for liaison and observation duties in direct support of military ground forces. Between 1941 and 1943, Aeronca Aircraft Corporation of Middleton, Ohio, built 1,639 examples and variants of these aircraft for the AAF, of which 875 were L-3B models.

During WWII, the Aeronca L-3 joined similar liaison aircraft in artillery fire direction, courier service, front-line support 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-5 aircraft for the AAF.

Specifications

Wingspan: 35 ft 0 in
Length: 21 ft 10 in
Height: 7 ft 8 in
Empty weight: 835 lb
Max. takeoff weight: 1,260 lb
Wing area: 169 sf
Armament: None
Engine: Continental O-170-3 of 65 hp
Crew: Two (pilot and observer)
Cost: $2,826

Performance

Max. speed: 87 mph
Cruise speed: 79 mph
Stall speed: 46 mph
Range: 218 miles
Service ceiling: 7,750 ft
Wing loading: 7.45 lb/sf

Aeronca L-3B / O-58B acquired by ALS in 2018.

Your tax deductible donation will help to support the preservation of this aircraft.

If you prefer to give by mail, send your check payable to: Alamo Liaison Squadron, 2352 S. Loop 1604 W., San Antonio, Texas 78264. Please write “Donation” in the memo line.

Aeronca L-3 (N24086) at Cannon Field, circa 1984.
L-3 Ghost (N36687), photo by Roger L. Beery, circa 1982
Aeronca 11AC Chief at Cannon Field in 2018. The models 50 & 65 Chief were early variants of the L-3. The Aeronca Chief lineage would continue post-WWII until 1950 with over 2,300 built.
Aeronca O-58B (L-3B) Grasshopper (s/n 42-14724) liaison aircraft on the ground at Wright Field, Ohio, March 6, 1942. United States Army Air Forces photo.