The Stinson/ Convair L-13 was a post-war liaison aircraft that was designed to replace the L-5 Sentinel and that entered service just after the end of the Second World War.
The Stinson L-5 was probably the best of the small liaison aircraft produced in American during the Second World War. It was larger and more capable than the Taylorcraft L-2, Aeronca L-3 and Piper L-4 Grasshoppers, and could carry out a wider range of roles, but was still based on pre-war light aircraft designs.
The L-13 was a more advanced design. It was developed by the Stinson division of Convair as the Model 105. It was of all-metal construction, and introduced a number of significant improvements over the L-5. It’s wings could be folded back alongside the fuselage and its tailplane folded upwards, to make it easier to tow on the ground. It could also be used as a glider without any modifications, allowing heavier aircraft to tow it to its operating area. It had a high lift wing with trailing edges, slotted flaps and a fixed leading edge slot, which allowed it to take off in 230ft at an operating weight of 2,900lb. It could carry a crew of three – two in tandem at the front and a third man at the rear. The cockpit was fully glazed, and the rear fuselage was cut down to a bare minimum, to give a better rear view. There were two doors on the starboard side and one of the port side. The wheels could be replaced with skies or floats.
Two prototype XL-13s were built and after successful tests three hundred production aircraft were produced as the L-13A. These were powered by the 250hp O-425-9 engine. Forty-eight of these aircraft were delivered to the Air National Guard, and the rest to the USAF, where it remained in service until the mid 1950s. Twenty eight aircraft were modified for use in Arctic conditions, as the L-13B. This involved giving them a new combustion heater.
Many ex military L-13s were converted for civilian use, some becoming the Centaur bush aircraft and others the Husky passenger and cargo aircraft.
Engine: Franklin O-425-5 flat-six air cooled engine
Crew: 3 standard
Span: 50ft 5.5in
Length: 31ft 9in
Height: 8ft 5in
Empty weight: 2,070lb
Gross weight: 3,185lb
Max speed: 115mph
Cruising speed: 92mph
Climb Rate: 830ft/ min
Service ceiling: 15,000ft
Range: 368 miles