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Cushman Airborne Scooter

DAYTON, Ohio -- Cushman Airborne Scooter on display in the World War II Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Cushman Airborne Scooter on display in the World War II Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

In the late stages of the war in Europe, Allied paratroopers used scooters like this one to maintain contact between units, increase their mobility and haul small loads. The Cushman Motor Works designed the Model 53 Airborne Scooter to be airdropped by parachute or carried by glider, and it had a hitch to pull a model M3A4 general-purpose utility cart. By adding certain equipment, the cart could be converted to carry a .30-cal. or .50-cal. machine gun or an 81mm mortar, though the scooter often could not pull a heavy load. The M3A4 cart on display has original hand-ropes for manual towing by up to four men.

Cushman made nearly 5,000 airborne scooters for the military beginning in 1944. The rugged, simple Model 53 could travel through a foot of water, climb a 25 percent grade and had a range of about 100 miles.

The Cushman scooter and hand cart were donated by Lt. Col. (Ret.) Frederick M. Serfass, Douglasville, Penn., in 2003.

TECHNICAL NOTES:
Engine:
Cushman 1-cylinder 16M71 of 4.6 hp
Maximum speed: 40 mph
Weight: 255 lbs.

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