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American WWII's aircraft


Piper L-4 Grasshopper

High-wing monoplane, a widely used as liaison and artillery spotting aircraft. The military version of the Piper Cub, the L-4 was produced in large numbers for the then-new role of airborne artillery spotting and liaison.
The L-4 prototypes, which were designated YO-59 and O-59, were evaluated by the Army in its annual maneuvers at the end of 1941. The L-4Bs (980 airplanes), L-4Hs (1,801), and L-4Js (1,680) were the only models that were actually produced as such, but the need for this type of airplane was so great that the L-4Cs, Ds, Es, Fs, and Gs were all civilian airplanes impressed into service by the Army. The impressed airplanes were used mainly to train glider pilots.
The L-4 performed its first combat mission for the Army on November 9, 1942, when three of these airplanes were flown off a carrier deck to spot for ground units going ashore in the invasion of North Africa. The airplanes were piloted by Lt. William Butler (with Capt. Brenton Deval sitting in the back seat), Lt. John R. Shell, and Capt. Ford Allcorn. The TG-8 was a training glider evolved from the L-4. Members of the Civil Air Patrol flew hundreds of the L-4s searching for enemy submarines in coastal waters.
At the end of World War II, many of the L-4s were sold in place in Europe.
General characteristics L-4
Primary function Liaison / observation
Power plant One Continental O-170-3 engine
Thrust 63 HP 47 kW
Wingspan 35.2 ft 10.74 m
Length 20.4 ft 6.22 m
Weight empty 740 lb 336 kg
max. 1,221 lb 554 kg
Speed max. 85 mph 137 km/h
cruising 75 mph 121 km/h
Ceiling 9,285 ft 2,830 m
Range 186 miles 300 km
Crew Two
Date deployed 1941
Cost $2,600
Number built 14,125 (in use USAAF approx 5,160).

Jirka Wagner


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