The L-4 Grasshopper was mechanically identical to the J-3 civilian Cub, but was distinguishable by the use of a Plexiglas greenhouse skylight and rear windows for improved visibility, much like the Taylorcraft L-2 and Aeronca L-3 also in use with the US armed forces. It had accommodations for a single passenger in addition to the pilot. When carrying only the pilot, the L-4 had a top speed of 85 mph (137 km/h), a cruise speed of 75 mph (121 km/h), a service ceiling of 12,000 ft (3,658 m), a stall speed of 38 mph (61 km/h), an endurance of three hours, and a range of 225 mi (362 km). Some 5,413 L-4s were produced for U.S. forces, including 250 built for the U.S. Navy under contract as the NE-1 and NE-2.
All L-4 models, as well as similar, tandem-cockpit accommodation aircraft from Aeronca and Taylorcraft, were collectively nicknamed "Grasshoppers", though the L-4 was almost universally referred to by its civilian designation of Cub. The L-4 was used extensively in World War II for reconnaissance, transporting supplies, artillery spotting duties and medical evacuation of wounded soldiers. During the Allied invasion of France in June 1944, the L-4's slow cruising speed and low-level manoeuvrability — alongside examples of the Auster AOP aircraft occasionally used by the British Army and other Commonwealth forces for the same purposes — made it an ideal observation platform for spotting hidden German armour waiting in ambush in the hedgerowed bocage country south of the invasion beaches. For these operations, the pilot generally carried both an observer/radio operator and a 25-pound communications radio, a load that often exceeded the plane's specified weight capacity. After the Allied breakout in France, L-4s were also sometimes equipped with improvised racks, usually in pairs or quartets, of infantry bazookas for ground attack (actually a form of top attack) against German armoured units. The most famous of these L-4 ground attack planes was Rosie the Rocketeer, piloted by Maj. Charles "Bazooka Charlie" Carpenter, whose six bazooka rocket launchers were credited with eliminating six enemy tanks and several armoured cars during its wartime service, especially during the Battle of Arracourt.
After the war, many L-4s were sold as surplus, but a considerable number were retained in service. L-4s sold as surplus in the U.S. were re-designated as J-3s, but often retained their wartime glazing and paint.
- Wingspan: 63.7in (1618mm)
- Fuselage Length: 49.2in (1250mm)
- Minimun Weight (Ready to fly): 3.18kg
- Engine: .46 (2-Stroke) / .52 (4-Stroke)
- Radio: Minimum 5 channels with 5 (4 servos for electric) servos
- Electric Motor: Electrospeed Boost 40 or equivalent
- Battery: LiPo 11.1V, 3700mAh
Required Hardware (Not supplied)
Transmitter, Motor, Propeller, Servos, Battery, Extension Leads, Glue, Tools and Silicone Fuel Line (For GP)