|1945 L-5E Sentinel
|1 × Lycoming O-435-1, 185hp
|34 feet 0 inches
|24 feet 1 inch
|7 feet 11 inches
|375 statute miles
|Pilot and one observer
|Privately Owned/ Operational, On Loan*
|George Marrett, EWM program manager
*Aircraft listed "On Loan" are privately owned by individuals or corporations and are proudly displayed at the Estrella Warbird Museum. The Estrella WarBirds Museum does not own, restore, operate nor maintain flyable aircraft. We are grateful that the owners display their aircraft at the museum for the public to view. Any courtesy rides given by aircraft owners is an agreement solely between the person that owns the aircraft and passenger.
The Stinson L-5 Sentinel was a World War II era liaison aircraft used by all branches of the U.S. military and by the British Royal Air Force. Along with the Stinson L-1 Vigilant, the L-5 was the only other American liaison aircraft of World War II that was purpose-built for military use and had no civilian counterpart. All other military liaison airplanes adopted during World War II were lightly modified "off-the-shelf" civilian models.
L-5E s/n 44-17944 was accepted at the factory in Wayne, Michigan, on May 21, 1945 and was delivered to Muskogee AAF on May 23rd. It transferred to Marshall Field, Fort Riley, KS, in November and remained there - primarily assigned to the 163rd Liaison Squadron until April of 1947. It then spent some time on loan to army ground forces before being returned to the Air Force in July 1949 when it was assigned to the Civil Air Patrol at Tinker AFB. From there it was assigned to the Joplin, Missouri CAP wing from the end of August 1949 through August 1950 with a few visits back to Tinker for maintenance. On August 31, 1951 the plane was stricken from the Air Force inventory when it was permanently transferred to army field forces. It probably went to the Missouri National Guard but that information isn't specified on the USAF record card. It was some time after that when it entered civilian life. A guess would place this event somewhere between 1954 and 1957 and will be shown in the civil records for N45CV.
The first flight of an L-5 was not witnessed by military personnel and it did not earn an "immediate contract" for service with the military. A contract for 275 O-62's was not signed until January, 1942, after the military had a chance to evaluate the airplane in "accelerated service tests" in the autumn of 1941. The first production O-62 wasn't delivered until November 1942 because the prototype Model 76 had to be re-engineered AGAIN so the wings and tail could be built out of plywood instead of metal, as the prototype had been originally constructed. In this way, the design got even further away from its supposed similarity with the civilian Voyager.
Exactly 3,590 L-5's were delivered to the military. The contract for an additional 900 airplanes was terminated upon the unconditional surrender of Japan. Fifty L-5's and 50 L-5B's were delivered to the RAF, under the designations Sentinel I and Sentinel II, respectively. Three hundred and six L-5Bs and -5Es went to the US Navy, Coast Guard, and Marine Corps . These 306 aircraft included: 94 L-5's, 36 L-5B's, 45 L-5C's, 124 L-5E's and 18 L-5G's. The L-5 thru L-5E models were designated OY-1's and the L-5G was designated OY-2.
In all services, the L-5 was popular as an aerial ambulance, a messenger and personnel carrier, and an artillery spotter. It was the most widely used Allied utility aircraft of the war!
Military service for the L-5 continued into the Korean War, before it was officially retired; however, one was still used in 1962 by the Air Force Academy as a glider tug.