Aeronca L-3, F-AYTH
The Aeronca L-3B 42-36161 was reassembled autumn 2021 after crossing the Atlantic.
It left the Aeronca factory on 2 May 1942, with the serial number 42-36161 and was first assigned to the US Army training school in Lubbock, Texas. A month later it moved to the Fort Sumner Auxiliary Base in Tucumcari. He was used by the Cutter-Carr Flying Service, a company under military contract to train glider pilots.
On December 11, 1942, pilot Horace Rodgers, missed his landing in the little L-3, grand looped and broke its left gear.
It was repaired and continued to train many pilots. Horace Rodgers became a simulator instructor.
In October 1945, the L-3B finished its military career, with 1324 flying hours to its credit and took the civil registration NC46674. It was bought́ by two co-owners who sold it six months later to Louise Dodd Noah, a woman who owned a flight school at Middle Tennessee state college.
In 1986, it was again a woman, Elizabeth Stevens, who became the owner of the aircraft.
As ownership changed, the Aeronca’s base moved north from Nashville, Tennessee to Washington, Vermont.
Her last move was by boat this summer, from New York to Le Havre, arriving in Saint-André-de-l’Eure in mid-July.
After being reassembled and registered in the French register of vintage aircraft, F-AYTH took to the skies again on 18 December.
Like the Stinson L-5 Sentinel that flies in the Ham and Jam collection, this Aeronca L-3 is the only one in flying condition in France (2021), as well as the only one on the French register.
The L-3B is one of the four types of light observation aircraft that operated during WWII.
Very similar to the famous Piper L-4, and with an identical engine, it is however slightly more powerful and of slightly more sophisticated construction. This is logical as Piper was looking for economy on the Ford T model. The L-3 is flown from the front seat, unlike the L-4 in solo.
In 1943, the first observation aircraft made available to the Free French by the American Vth Army were L-3s. This allowed the setting up on May 7th 1943 of the very first observation section placed under the orders of CNE HERRGOTT of the artillery, assisted by a junior officer of the Air Force.
At least one L-3 took part in D-Day, as it can be seen on a photo published in an American newspaper reporting the D-Day landings.