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
||Liaison / observation
||One Continental O-170-3 engine
||14,125 (in use USAAF approx 5,160).
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