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Our Stinson L-5 Sentinel

 

http://www.CapitalWing.org/site/images/stories/natlcapsq/gayleann2.jpgOur L-5, the "Gayle Ann", represents one of the most decorated   L-5's flown by the 25th Liaison Squadron, 13th Air Force, supporting the Allied WWII drive from Australia through New Guinea back to the Philippines.The crew, consisting of pilot, SSGT Jerry Felter, and forward air controller, Capt. Leo Kellett, made up what was considered to be the finest FAC Team in 13th Air Force. In fact, the records show that this crew was involved in the birth of the airborne FAC concept, proving the value of directing air strikes on enemy ground positions from an airborne perspective. The aircraft cowling shows completion of 15 FAC missions as well as a Japanese boat silhouette for the sinking of that boat with submachine gun fire and grenades. One of the major accomplishments of the 25th LS occurred between 10-25 December 1944 when the unit dropped nearly 397,000 pounds of material with 1,250 sorties to the re-supply the cutoff 11th Airborne Division in the Philippines. Included in the drops was a 300-bed field hospital and Christmas dinner. The one-day record for the mission was 36,000 pounds delivered, using aircraft with a payload of about 300 pounds. In addition to FAC and re-supply missions, the 25th flew reconnaissance and performed air-evac of wounded soldiers in the face of enemy fire. This unit received two Presidential Unit Citations for their combat operations.


History and Data on our "Gayle Ann"

The Stinson Model 76, which became best known as the Military L-5 first flew in prototype in late June 1941. A production run of over 4000 aircraft saw service as observation, spotter, ambulance, search/rescue, courier, and in a few instances in ground support. L-5’s were rigged with rocket tubes and small bombs. Some pilots also carried bags of hand grenades for tactical bombing at close range. The L-5 saw widespread service in all theaters of WWII and service in Korea. The last L-5 served until 1962 at the Air Force Academy. The "flying jeep" was an exceptionally tractable aircraft with easy slow-flight qualities with excellent short field capabilities, which made it the most widely used allied utility plane of WWII. There were five listed variants, which included an OY-1 [Marine] designation. Our L-5 aircraft was built by Vultee under license; serial number 42-98758 (now registered as N-1156V) delivered to the Army on 3 December 1943.

 

Aircraft Data:

 

Wingspan: 33' 12"
Length: 24' 1"
Height: 7' 1'
Engine: Lycoming O-435-1, horizontally opposed, 6 cylinder with a fixed pitch wooden prop, rated at 185 HP
Cruising radius: 150 miles
Airspeed: 110 mph
Landing speed: 50 mph
Take-off distance: Clears a 50' obstacle after take off run of 650'
Landing distance: Clear 50' obstacle and land in 900'
Stall, idle, flaps: 51 mph
Stall, power, flaps: 43 mph
Max crew load: 400lbs
Service Ceiling: 16,000'

 

http://www.CapitalWing.org/site/images/stories/natlcapsq/crash.jpgWhile the military history of L-5 42-990444 is unknown, after the war it was used as a glider tug by the Caesars Creek Soaring Society until it ran out of fuel and came to roost upside down in the trees. The pilot was unhurt but the L-5 was firmly stuck. The Soaring Society was able to unbolt and remove the engine and wings and then lower the remainder of the aircraft to the ground to minimize damage. Both wings and the vertical stabilizer suffered broken plywood and ripped fabric, but apparently there was no major structural damage. As this was the last of the L-5’s used by the society for glider towing, the "wreck" was sold as a package deal that included spare engines and a large number of additional parts to our CAF unit. The airframe had a TT of 2004 hours at the time of purchase. Restoration of the aircraft took years and thousands of dollars raised by the Capital Wing. Today it is one of the finest restorations of its type and is flown to the shows by members of the squadron.

 



Capital Wing
12499 Beverly Ford Road
Brandy Station, Virginia 22714
For more information call: 540-402-1818

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