Boeing L-15 Scout - United States, 1947
Detailing the development and operational history of the Boeing L-15 Scout Light Liaison Observation Aircraft.
Entry last updated on 4/25/2016; Authored by Staff Writer; Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com
The L-15 was a Boeing attempt at a light observation aircraft that was extremely portable, though the design did not lead up to any contracts for the firm.
The L-15 Scout was a light and small observation liaison aircraft produced in limited numbers by the Boeing Aircraft Company following World War 2 - only twelve of the type were produced with the United States Army becoming its top operator. First flight was achieved on July 13th in 1947 and production spanned from 1947 into 1949.
The L-15 Scout represented a new direction for the Boeing company in the post-war world, a world that no longer needed high production rates and cutting edge designs of piston-engine combat aircraft. The all-metal construction L-15 was designed for operations from short runways (STOL - Short Take-Off and Landing) - wherever terrain might work against other larger aircraft - and specifically intended for the light scout observation role (the aircraft offered great all-around visibility), an attempt on Boeing's part to diversify its offerings in the post-war economy. The L-15 was designed at Boeing's Wichita, Kansas facility.
The L-15 Scout took on a distinct external configuration. The aircraft featured a high mounted monoplane wing assembly to which were affixed "flaperons", wing devices that could double as ailerons and flaps. The two-person crew, made up of the pilot and the observer, sat in a glassed-in nacelle-type fuselage under the main span of the wings. The engine was mounted at the extreme front of the fuselage with the empennage extended out over the rear portion of the aircraft. The tail section was distinctly adorned with twin vertical tail fins. The undercarriage was a conventional "tail-dragger", with two main landing gears and a tail wheel. All were fixed (no retraction of the units) and the tail wheel was positioned under the rearward portion of the fuselage nacelle. The aircrafts size made it suitable for transport in a C-97 aircraft, that is once broken down for the journey. Should the mission call for it, the L-15 could also be fitted with twin floats for water landings.
Power was derived from a single Lycoming O-290-7 series four cylinder air-cooled horizontally-opposed engine delivering 125 horsepower. A top speed of 112 miles per hour was possible along with a service ceiling of 16,400 feet. The aircraft could climb at a rate of 628 feet per minute and performance handling was reportedly quite good.
As fate would have it, the L-15 did not prove a financial success and became Boeing's final single-engine offering for the small-aircraft market. As can be inferred from the text, no firm L-15 Scout contracts were secured.