Published April 17, 2015
DAYTON, Ohio -- Aeronca L-3B "Grasshopper" at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)
DAYTON, Ohio -- Aeronca L-3B "Grasshopper" in the World War II Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)
The L-3, originally designated O-58, was the military version of the Aeronca Model 65 Defender. This high-wing, light airplane could operate from small, hastily-built flying fields. The Army ordered the first O-58s in 1941 to test the use of light aircraft for liaison and observation missions in direct support of ground forces. Between 1941 and 1943, Aeronca Aircraft Corp. of Middletown, Ohio, built more than 1,400 of these aircraft for the Army -- 875 of them were L-3Bs.
During World War II, Aeronca L-3s joined similar "Grasshoppers" in artillery fire direction, courier service, front-line liaison and pilot training. In 1942 Aeronca developed the TG-5, a training glider based on the O-58. The three-seat glider had a front fuselage replacing the engine, but retained the rear fuselage, wings and tail of the powered version. Aeronca built 250 TG-5s for the Army.
Built during WWII, the L-3B on display found its way into private hands as surplus after the war. Completely restored by its previous owner, Paul Grice of Waynesville, Ohio, the airplane was flown to the museum in 1984.
Engine: One Continental O-170-3 of 65 hp
Maximum speed: 87 mph
Cruising speed: 79 mph
Range: 199 miles
Ceiling: 7,750 ft.
Span: 35 ft.
Length: 21 ft.
Height: 7 ft. 8 in.
Weight: 1,300 lbs. maximum
Serial number: 42-36200
Click here to return to the World War II Gallery.
Please note Springfield Street, the road that leads to the museum’s entrance, is undergoing construction through the beginning of September. Expect lane reductions and some delays. Please follow the signs and instructions provided by the road crews.
The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force is located at:
1100 Spaatz Street
Wright-Patterson AFB OH 45433
(near Dayton, Ohio)