This is my L-4A which was restored between 2002 and 2005. It made its first flight on August 5, 2005 after being reported destroyed by hail damage in 1970. This aircraft was originally built by Piper Aircraft Corporation and entered service in the Army Air Corp on February 16, 1942. Piper assigned it serial number 8294 and the military assigned its serial number 42-15175. At the time, the military was in the process of determining the best way of using light aircraft to support military operations.
In 1941, four Piper J3C-65 Cubs were purchased by the Army Air Corps for evaluation purposes under the designation YO-59. Twenty similar O-59s followed and then came another order of 120. This third batch contains S/N 42-15175, this particular aircraft. The O-59A was evolved to meet army requirements with a modified cockpit enclosure (better knows as a “greenhouse”), radio, and generator. After 649 units were delivered, the designation was changed to L-4A and the YO-59s and O-59s already in service became L-4As.
The order history was:
YO-59 42-460 to 463 4 units in this batch.
O-59 42-7813 to 7852 20 units in this batch.
O-59A 42-15159 to 15329 120 units in this batch.
From the records I have been able to obtain in my research, S/N 42-15175 was a stock J3C-65 that was initially sold to the military in the third batch of 120 ordered and did not have the famous “greenhouse” windows as installed on successive L-4 models. It also started out with the original designation O-59A which was later changed to L-4A. Although a couple L-4’s with lower military serial numbers remain on the current FAA registry, 42-15175, as best as I can tell, is the oldest one of its L-4 model in flying condition.
Check out how I found this aircraft and the story behind it’s restoration by clicking on this picture.
Check out pictures of the restoration of the L-4 by clicking on this picture.
Check out military history and ownership records of N49750 by clicking on this picture.
Check out the history of the L-4 aircraft and the role they played in the military during World War II by clicking on this picture.