L-1 Vigilant file photo [15359]

L-1 Vigilant

CountryUnited States
ManufacturerStinson Aircraft Company
Primary RoleOther
Maiden Flight15 July 1940


ww2dbaseThe Vigilant aircraft was designed in response to the 1938 United States Air Corps request for a new two-seat light observation aircraft design. The prototype aircraft, which took flight on 15 Jul 1940, was designated YO-49 during the evaluation period and O-49 upon acceptance. During the war, Vigilant aircraft operated as an artillery observation aircraft, towed gliders, and transported passengers and supplies. In Apr 1942, the US Army gave the O-49 Vigilant aircraft a new designation, L-1 Vigilant. They were made obsolete in 1942 upon the arrival of newer designs.

ww2dbaseA small number of these aircraft were operated by the British Royal Air Force; they were designated Vigilant Mk I and Vigilant Mk II in British service.

ww2dbaseDuring the design's production life, 324 examples were built.

ww2dbaseSource: Wikipedia

Last Major Revision: May 2012

L-1 Vigilant Timeline

15 Jul 1940 The YO-49 Vigilant prototype aircraft took its first flight with pilot Al Schramm.


MachineryOne Lycoming R-680-9 radial piston engine rated at 295hp
Span15.52 m
Length10.44 m
Height3.10 m
Wing Area30.60 m
Weight, Empty1,211 kg
Weight, Maximum1,542 kg
Speed, Maximum196 km/h
Service Ceiling3,900 m
Range, Normal451 km


British Vigilant aircraft at rest, Duxford, England, United Kingdom, 1940O-49 Vigilant at Bellows Field, Oahu, US Territory of Hawaii, 1940US O-49 Vigilant aircraft, 1940P-51A Mustangs do a low pass over a forward air field of the 1st Air Commandos, Burma, Apr 1944. Note also a B-25H Mitchell and an L-1 Vigilant

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Commenter identity confirmed Alan says:
7 May 2012 03:30:07 AM

The RAF received 8 L1(Vigilant Mk.I) and 100 L1A(Vigilant Mk.II)respectively under Lend-Lease arrangements. Most of the latter were kept under joint Anglo-Americasm control. Stinson Aircraft Corporation was a sub-division of Vultee from 1940.

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British Vigilant aircraft at rest, Duxford, England, United Kingdom, 1940
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