By Sarah Swan (National Museum of the U.S. Air Force)
DAYTON, Ohio — An L-2M that was used at the U.S. Army Air Forces (AAF) Liaison Pilot Training School during World War II was flown to the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force on Sept. 28.
Manufactured in 1944 by the Taylorcraft Airplane Co. in Alliance, Ohio, this L-2M (serial number 43-26592) accumulated 230 hours of military flight time in 1944 at the pilot training school in Pittsburg, Kan. In early 1945, it was sold and restored back to civilian configuration. Over the years, it accumulated 1,550 hours of flight time.
“This L-2M will be a great addition to our World War II aircraft collection,” said Lt. Gen. (Ret.) John L. “Jack” Hudson, museum director. “This particular aircraft was used to train pilots during the war, and liaison aircraft like this one served many purposes in combat, such as spotting enemy troop and supply concentrations and directing artillery fire on them.”
In 2009, the donor, Dick Valladao, completed the restoration of the aircraft to its original Army specifications. In addition, much of the original equipment, such as an RCA radio receiver and transmitter and U.S. Army Signal Corps receiver earphones, was located and installed in the airplane to make the restoration as authentic as possible. Since its restoration, the L-2M has been displayed at numerous air shows throughout Northern California.
“In 1944, the same year this aircraft was manufactured, my wife’s 19-year-old uncle, U.S. Army Private First Class Richard Jerome Conway, was killed in combat in France,” Valladao said. “In my mind, he represents the thousands of men and women who made such tremendous sacrifices during World War II, and I hope that this aircraft can be a memorial to him and all those who fought and died during the war.”
As a more complete aircraft, this L-2M will replace the one that is currently in the museum’s collection. The new acquisition is anticipated to be on public display in the World War II Gallery this winter. Prior to being placed on display, the aircraft can be seen during the Behind the Scenes Tour of the museum’s restoration area, which is offered every Friday. More information about this tour is available at www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/visit/tours.asp.
The National Museum of the United States Air Force is located on Springfield Street, six miles northeast of downtown Dayton. It is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day). Admission and parking are free. For more information about the museum, visit www.nationalmuseum.af.mil.
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