DAYTON, Ohio -- CG-4A glider and release mechanism. Radio wire runs through the middle of the rope so that the glider and towing aircraft crews can communicate while in flight. This item is on display in the World War II Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)
The CG-4A was the most widely used U.S. troop/cargo glider of World War II. Constructed of fabric-covered wood and metal, the CG-4A was crewed by a pilot and copilot. It could carry 13 troops and their equipment or a jeep, a quarter-ton truck or a 75mm howitzer loaded through the upward-hinged nose section. Usually, C-46s and C-47s were used as tow aircraft.
Flight testing began in 1942, and the CG-4A first went into operation in July 1943 during the Allied invasion of Sicily. It also participated in the D-Day assault on France on June 6, 1944, and in other important airborne operations in Europe and in the China-Burma-India Theater. Until late in the war, gliders were generally considered expendable in combat and were abandoned or destroyed after landing.
Fifteen companies manufactured over 12,000 CG-4As, with 1,074 built by the Waco Aircraft Co. of Troy, Ohio. The glider on display was built by the Gibson Refrigerator Co. in Greenville, Mich., and accepted by the U.S. Army Air Forces in July 1945.
Maximum towed speed: 150 mph Span: 83 ft. 8 in. Length: 48 ft. 4 in. Height: 12 ft. 7 in. Weight: 7,500 lbs. loaded Serial number: 45-27948