Waco CG-4, Allied Glider

Photograph of Waco CG-4 glider

U.S. Air Force. Via Wikipedia Commons

Waco CG-4


Passengers 1 pilot and 13 soldiers
Dimensions 83'8" by 49'8" by 13'7"
25.20m by 14.83m by 3.84 m
3440 lbs
1560 kg
Tow speed       150 miles per hour
241 km/h
4060 lbs (1842 kg) cargo
13,909, primarily at the Ford Motor Company plant in Kingsford MI

The Waco was one of the most widely used Allied gliders of the war, participating in the Normandy and Holland operations in Europe and in the Burma campaign in the Far East. Constructed of small gauge steel tubing with a canvas skin and a honeycomb plywood floor that allowed it to carry more than its own weight in cargo and passengers, its entire nose section could be swiveled up to permit rapid loading and unloading of troops or equipment. The latter might be a jeep with supply trailer, a mountain artillery piece, or a small bulldozer.  It was typically towed to its landing zone by a C-47 using a 300' (100 meter) nylon rope.

The glider had a basic instrument cluster that included an air speed indicator, an altimeter, a rate of climb indicator, and a bank and turn indicator. All were originally designed for conventional aircraft and had a tendency to stick in the absence of normal engine vibration, so that the glider pilots had to frequently tap on the instruments to get correct readings. 

The gliders were intended to be reusable, but in practice they were almost universally viewed as expendable by theater commanders

The British called the design the Hadrian, and constructed a large number at airfields around Calcutta.


Allen (1984) (accessed 2010-7-13)

Devlin (1979)

Wood (2002; accessed 2010-10-8)

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