The L-2, adapted from Taylorcraft's pre-war commercial Model Tandem Trainer, was initially designated the O-57 at the time it was first ordered by the Air Corps. The airplane was given its service tests in the summer of 1941 during maneuvers in Louisiana and Texas where it was used for various support purposes such as a light transport and courier.

The L-2 was a two-place metal frame, fabric covered, high wing observation and reconnaissance aircraft. Originally designated within the Army Air Forces as the O-57, the Taylorcraft-made aircraft was used by both the AAF and the Army Ground Forces. All models, A through M and excluding I, had 65 horsepower engines, except the L with its 50 horsepower engine. Procurement included 559 in 1942 (74 L-2s, 476 L-2As, and one each of the C, D, E, F, G, H, J, K, and L models). 1943 procurement totaled 1,390 aircraft (490 L-2Bs and 900 L-2Ms). The H, J, K, and Ls had side-by-side seating; all other models featured tandem seating.

At the time American ground forces went into combat around the world during WW II, the AAF began using the L-2 in much the same manner as the observation balloon was used in France during WW I--spotting enemy troop and supply concentrations and directing artillery fire on them. It was also used for other types of liaison and transport duties and short-range reconnaissance which required airplanes that could land and take off in minimum distances from unprepared landing strips.

Span: 36 ft.
Length: 22 ft. 9 in.
Height: 6 ft. 8 in.
Weight: 1,325 lbs. loaded
Armament: None
Engine: Continental O-170-3 of 65 hp.

Maximum speed: 92 mph.
Cruising speed: 83 mph.
Range: 227 miles
Service Ceiling: 12,000 ft.

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