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Fighter / Attack:
   Bell P-39 Airacobra
   Bell P-63 Kingcobra
   Brewster Buffalo
   Chance-Vought F-4U Corsair
   Curtiss P-40 Warhawk
   Curtiss SB2C Helldiver
   Douglas A-1 Skyraider
   Douglas A-26 Invader
   Douglas SBD Dauntless
   Fairey Firefly
   Focke-Wulf Fw 190
   Grumman F4F Wildcat
   Grumman F6F Hellcat
   Grumman F7F Tigercat
   Grumman F8F Bearcat
   Grumman TBF Avenger
   Hawker Hurricane
   Hawker Sea Fury
   Lockheed P-38 Lightning
   Messerschmitt Bf-109
   Mitsubishi A6M Zero-Sen
   North American P-51 Mustang

   Polikarpov I-16
   Republic P-47 Thunderbolt
   Supermarine Spitfire
   Yakovlev Yak-3
   Yakovlev Yak-9


Trainers:
  
Beechcraft AT-11 Kansan (C-45)
   Beechcraft T-34 Mentor
   Boeing / Stearman PT-17

   Commonwealth CA-25 Winjeel
   Commonwealth CA-1 Wirraway
   DeHavilland DHC-1 Chipmunk
   DeHavilland DH-82 Tiger Moth
   Fairchild PT-19 Cornell
   Hunting / Percival Provost
   Meyers OTW
   Nanchang CJ-6
   Naval Aircraft Factory N3N
   N. Am. BT-9 / BT-14 / Yale
   N. Am. T-6 Texan / SNJ / Harvard
   N. American T-28 Trojan

   Piaggio P149
   Ryan PT-22 Recruit

   Scottish Aviation T1 Bulldog
   Vultee BT-13 Valiant
   Yakovlev Yak-11
   Yakovlev Yak-18
   Yakovlev Yak-52


Bombers:
   Avro Lancaster
   Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress
   Boeing B-29 Superfortress
   Bristol Blenheim / Bolingbroke
   Consolidated B-24 Liberator
   Consolidated PB4Y-2 Privateer

   Douglas A-3 Skywarrior
   DeHavilland Mosquito
   Fairey Swordfish
   Heinkel He-111 / Casa 2.111

   Lockheed PV-2 Harpoon / Ventura
   Martin B-26 Marauder
   North American B-25 Mitchell


Transports:
   Beechcraft C-45 (AT-11)

   Boeing C-97 Stratofreighter (KC-97)
   Curtiss C-46 Commando
   Douglas C-47 Skytrain / Dakota
   Douglas C-54 Skymaster

   Fairchild C-119 Flying Boxcar
   Fairchild C-123 Provider
   Grumman C-1 Trader (S-2)
   Lockheed C-60 Lodestar
   Lockheed C-69 Constellation


Utility / Observation / Special Duty:
   Aeronca L-3 Grasshopper
   Aeronca L-16 Grasshopper
   Antonov AN-2 Colt
   Auster AOP 6/9
   Avro 652 Anson
   Avro Shackleton
   British Taylorcraft I-V
   Cessna L-19 / O-1 Bird Dog
   Cessna O-2 Super Skymaster
   Cessna T-50 / UC-78 Bobcat
   Consolidated PBY Catalina

   DeHavilland U-6A / L-20 Beaver
   Fairey Gannet
   Fairey Swordfish
   Fieseler Fi156 Storch
   Grumman S-2 Tracker (C-1)
   Grumman HU-16 Albatross
   Grumman OV-1 Mohawk
   Junkers Ju 52/3m

   Lockheed P2V Neptune
   Max Holste M.H.1521 Broussard
   Messerschmitt Bf 108 Taifun

   Noorduyn UC-64 Norseman
   North American L-17 Navion
   N. Am./ Rockwell OV-10 Bronco
   Piper L-4 Grasshopper
   Stinson L-5 Sentinel
   Taylorcraft L-2 Grasshopper
   Westland Lysander


Jets:
   Aero L-29 Delfin
   Aero L-39 Albatros
   Aermacchi MB-326
   Avro Vulcan
   BAC Strikemaster
   Blackburn (BAC) Buccaneer
   Canadair Tutor
   Cessna A-37 Dragonfly
   DeHavilland Vampire
   DeHavilland Venom
   English Electric Canberra
   English Electric Lightning
   Folland Gnat
   Fouga CM-170 Magister
   Gloster Meteor
   Grumman F9F Panther
   Hawker Hunter
   Hispano HA-200 Saeta
   Hunting Jet Provost
   Lockheed F-104 Starfighter
   Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star
   McDonnell-Douglas A-4 Skyhawk
   McDonnell-Douglas F-4 Phantom
   Messerschmitt Me-262
   Mikoyan MiG-15
   Mikoyan MiG-17
   Mikoyan MiG-21
   N. Am. F-86 Sabre / FJ-4 Fury
   N. Am. F-100 Super Sabre
   N. Am. / Rockwell T-2 Buckeye
   Northrop T-38 Talon / F-5
   PZL / WSK TS-11 Iskra
   Saab J35 Draken
   Soko G-2A Galeb
   Temco Pinto & Super Pinto


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Taylorcraft L-2 / O-57 "Grasshopper"

(Variants/Other Names: Taylorcraft Model D; ST-100)


Taylorcraft L-2 Grasshopper
1944 L-2 Grasshopper N50113, s/n 5463,
owned and flown by Charles Gries, Poplar Grove Airport, Illinois, USA.
Photo by Buck Wyndham.

History: Following an aerial observation tradition more than 200 years old, the Taylorcraft Model D tandem trainer was "drafted" in 1941 for artillery spotting, light transport and courier service. After the U.S. Army successfully evaluated examples of the aircraft under the designation YO-57 for use in artillery spotting and liaison, 70 were ordered as the O-57 Grasshopper, powered by a 65hp Continental O-170-3 engine. That order was followed by a modification that added a radio and improved the all-around view with additional glazing to the cockpit area. 336 of that variant, designated O-57A, were ordered.

When American troops went into combat in WWII, the Army Air Force used the O-57/-57A for directing artillery fire on enemy troop and materiel concentrations, much as observation balloons had been used in W.W.I. The O-57, being far more mobile than earlier hot air and gas balloons, was also used for other types of liaison and transport duties, its ability to land and takeoff from small unprepared landing strips making it an ideal front-line vehicle.


140 of the O-57As were ordered in 1942, at which time the two variants were re-designated L-2 and L-2A, respectively.


Subsequent modifications yielded 490 L-2Bs aircraft produced especially for field artillery spotting and a variant with wing spoilers and a completely cowled engine, the L-2M, of which 900 were ordered. Various civilian models of Taylorcraft, in small quantities, were "drafted" into military service with designations from L-2C through L-2L.

253 engineless gliders based on the L-2 design were also manufactured by Taylorcraft for use as glider trainers. Designated ST-100, they were used primarily by the U. S. Army to train glider pilots for combat insertions, often behind enemy lines (as, for example, in the Normandy landings).

While some L-2s were furnished to foreign air forces, many were "mustered out," to rejoin their civilian counterparts on the U.S. civilian register after the war as comparatively cheap "warbirds." In the immediate postwar era, the commercial BC-12 D was manufactured for a time, and has become a popular example of late-1940's light aircraft.

While the observation tradition today is more likely to be carried on by pilotless aircraft, or the even more exotic "Micro Air Vehicles" being experimented with in numerous high-tech research facilities, the various species of "Grasshoppers" used by the United States in WWII will always occupy a special niche in the lore of aviation.  [History by Kevin Murphy]

Nicknames: Grasshopper

Specifications:
        Engine: One 65-hp Continental O-170-3 flat-four piston engine
        Weight: Empty 875 lbs., Max Takeoff 1,300 lbs.
        Wing Span: 35ft. 5in.
        Length: 22ft. 9in.
        Height: 8ft. 0in.
        Performance:
            Maximum Speed: 102 mph
            Ceiling: 16,000 ft.
            Range: 230 miles
        Armament: None

Number Built: 1,726+

Number Still Airworthy: 150+

Links:
Army Wings and Wheels -- An L-bird event in Illinois, USA.
International Liaison Pilots and Aircraft Ass'n (ILPA)
Taylorcraft Foundation
Taylorcraft Foundation Discussion Forums
USAF Museum L-2 Page

Books: Browse a selection of books about liaison aircraft.

 


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All text and photos Copyright 2007 The Doublestar Group, unless otherwise noted.
You may use this page for your own, non-commercial reference purposes only.


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