Taylorcraft L-2M

Taylorcraft L-2M F-AYRY

During the Second World War the US Army Air Force made extensive use of light liaison and observation aircraft. These were often models originally designed for the civilian tourist market and then hastily militarised. While some were never successful, others quickly became legendary for their manoeuvrabilitý and adaptabilitý. These include the astonishing
Taylorcraft L-2M (DCO-65) Grasshopper.
It was produced in several versions. The L-2M, the ultimate evolution of the family, equipped with spoilers, was built in 900 examples, and the French Aéronautique Navale received a small series.
Training and liaison with authorities in Morocco, Algeria and Corsica (1944)

1942 Accident report
1942 Accident report

It was the Moroccan base at Port-Lyautey that used the small American single-seaters at the end of their career. In 1948, the armament plan for the local section provided for a fleet of two aircraft (plus two others in French). The introduction of the Stampe enabled the Taylorcraft, which were no longer needed by the 51.S., to be transferred to Port-Lyautey.
In June 1950, the PL-7 aircraft was tested for the spraying of anti-mosquito products, mosquito control being a public utility mission in North Africa in general and in the vicinity of Naval Aviation bases in particular. In January 1950, the aircraft that had been assigned to this role at Karouba was permanently posted to Tunisia.
Since May 1948, the Taylorcraft had been classified as category 3, which theoretically meant that it would be retired within a year. However, in July 1949, six examples were still listed in the general inventory, and the last aircraft was not condemned until January 1953. 

The L-2Ms, known simply as Taylorcraft, were intended to be dispersed individually among the bases as various service aircraft and for small command links. They were assembled in various locations depending on their assignment (Oran-La Sénia, Ajaccio, Boufarik, Thiersville and, for Morocco, three examples assembled at the C.R.R.A. in Casablanca). The SLA fitted out three aircraft at once, but lost two during 1944. The initial assignments, described below, were brief. Numerous transfers took place over the following months.
The Taylorcraft becomes the Naval Aviation’s initial training aircraft (1945-1948)
In December 1944, the Ministry of the Navy planned to set up a training squadron in Khouribga, Morocco. It was made up of various aircraft from North African bases. At the beginning of 1945, five Taylorcraft were gradually grouped together for this school, which was to become the 51.S. Soon numbered 51.S-5 to -9, they were used for ab initio training of young pilots. Described as solid and safe, the Taylorcraft was appreciated, but the squadron soon reported that the airframes were ageing, and expressed the wish that a replacement should be delivered as soon as possible. Consideration was given to the excellent Stampe school biplane, but this model did not reach the school until three years later. In the meantime, the Taylorcraft continued to be produced: six were flown for the school in 1946 and seven in 1947 (now numbered 51.S-1 to -7). At the end of 1948, when the Stampe arrived, there were only three left.
Their career ended in Morocco and, in civilian livery, in the Pacific.
One of them was still assigned to Corsica. But in the spring of 1946, the Ajaccio Taylorcraft was accidentally damaged by an Air Force lorry. In doing so, the clumsy driver took out of service the entire fleet of Aéronautique Navale aircraft then in use in Corsica!

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