The L-1 liaison aircraft, originally designated O-49, was the military version of the civilian Stinson Model 74. It marked the transition between heavier and larger observation aircraft used by the Air Corps in the 1930s and the lighter liaison "grasshopper" type aircraft represented by the L-series during World War II. Between 1939 and 1941, the Air Corps ordered 142 L-1s and 182 L-1As with a 13-inch longer fuselage. Equipped with high-lift devices on the wings, the Vigilant was well-suited for operations from short fields.
The versatile L-1 performed a variety of missions both in the United States and overseas during WWII, including towing training gliders, artillery spotting, liaison duty, rescue, transporting supplies, special espionage missions behind Japanese lines, and even dropping light bombs. Some Vigilants could be fitted with skis for snow operations or floats for water take-offs and landings.
This L-1A, painted as an ambulance conversion, was donated by Mrs. Lawrence Flahart, Anchorage, Alaska, in memory of her husband who died before finishing its restoration. The Department of Aviation Technology, Purdue University, finished the aircraft and it went on display in 1979.
TECHNICAL NOTES: Engine: Lycoming R-680 of 295 hp Maximum speed: 122 mph Cruising speed: 109 mph Range: 280 miles Ceiling: 18,000 ft. Span: 50 ft. 11 in. Length: 34 ft. 3 in. Height: 9 ft. 10 in. Weight: 3,385 lbs. Serial number: 41-19039