The L-5 is one of a series of liaison/observation planes that had great utility on the battlefield. Their green paint helped camouflage them on the ground or from the air when flying over forests or fields.
These aircraft were built in Wayne, IN, by the Stinson Division of Consolidated-Vultee Corporation between 1942 and 1945. The Sentinel, sometimes referred to as the “flying Jeep” was operated by all branches of the military and served in all theaters during WWII.
The L-5 was capable of spotting enemy ground movements and positions. It could be used to precisely direct artillery or mortar fire, control fighters dropping bombs, photograph enemy positions, assess bomb damage, relay messages to and from forward units, carry a VIP, or air evacuate a wounded soldier.
This “B” model was a re-design of the original 2-seat tandem cockpit with a longer fuselage and larger access door that enabled the evacuation of one wounded soldier on a stretcher. In total 729 of this variant were produced for the military. They were designated L-5B for the U.S. Army and OY-1 for the Navy and Marine Corps. The RAF received 100 L-5s under the lend-lease program.
This flyable L-5B, serial number 44-17141, was accepted by the Army Air Forces on Christmas Day, 1944, and delivered to the 360th Base Unit, Third Air Force, Brownwood, It later went to the 1060th overseas Replacement Center in Greensboro, NC, but never made it to the combat area. After the war, it served with several Air Force units until was transferred to the Civil Air Patrol in 1956. In 1965, the aircraft was sent to a college and later sold to various owners. The ground-up restoration took a little over seven years and achieved its successful post-restoration flight on July 4th, 2015.