The McCook Field Engineering Section developed a series of target gliders in the 1920s, including the G-3. In December 1922 J.A. Roche designed the first model, the GL-1, as a target for anti-aircraft gunners of the U.S. Army Coast Artillery. These early targets were the first and only gliders (manned or unmanned) used by the U.S. Army Air Service.
Later target gliders, like the G-3, operated as live-fire aerial targets for fighter and attack aircraft into the early 1930s. Because it could be adjusted to fly a straight, circular or random course, the target glider provided a more effective training tool than the traditional towed target sock.
For aerial gunnery training, a pilot carried his target glider aloft. After release, the glider took several minutes to reach the ground. During this time, the pilot could make several gunnery passes against it.
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