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Thursday, March 3, 2016

Glider Retrieval System





Glider pickup
Waco CG-4 Gliders waiting for pickup by C-47 Aircraft

Did you ever wonder what happened to all those 1000's of gliders that were used to land soldiers and supplies in Normandy, The Netherlands and later in Germany?
Those that could not be repaired were discarded but because of the cost, $15.580 per glider, an effort was made to retrieve them for future operations.
Leon Spencer writes that to retrieve a Glider, two posts were erected with a nylon loop suspended from it, the Glider was attached to this loop. The tow plane would have a trailing wire with a hook which would catch the loop and the Glider would be airborne and could be towed back to England where it could be inspected and made ready for redeployment.
The architects of the U.S. Army Air Forces glider program determined in the spring 1942 that the large troop and cargo gliders under development were simply too expensive to be abandoned after one combat mission. The fields and pastures in which gliders landed were usually too small and the terrain too uneven for a plane to land and retrieve the gliders. Another means of recovery had to be found. To find an answer to their problem the Air Force turned to Richard C. du Pont, a 1930s national glider soaring champion and the president of our company (All American Aviation) of Wilmington, Delaware. Several years earlier, DuPont's company had developed an aerial retrieval system to pick up U.S. Postal Department mail pouches from the ground by an aircraft on the fly, and had demonstrated to U.S. Air Force officials at Wright Field, Ohio, on 18 July and 22-28 September 1941 that aerial retrieval of gliders was feasible.

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