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Old Apr 04, 2015, 12:49 PM
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TG-8 Cub training glider / Waco CG-4a

Was doing some research on tow hook location and stumbled into Nodd’s great story about his “Cub Glider”: http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1737139

In his build log he makes reference to the TG-8, also a “Cub glider”, but the TG-8 isn’t anywhere as good looking as his.

So, here’s the story of the TG-8:

Mine is the result of the efforts of several people but primarily Tex Newman. The airplane is a Balsa USA ¼ scale Piper kit. I bought it at a swap meet in “bones”. Didn’t have this project in mind at the time, just wanted another Cub.

When I got the idea to build a TG-8 (I’d been reading Chester Peek’s The First Cub because of my keen interest in Cubs, ISBN#1- 886196-02-8), I asked Tex to “build a TG-8 cockpit for me”, and as you can see he did a magnificent job. When you look inside you’ll see not only the three sticks that are connected and work together in unison but also the rudder pedals and their wire connections!!! Note the handle on the canopy, scale tow release and buttons in the button tufted seat cushions. When I asked Tex how he knew about these details he said, “That’s the way they built a Cub”.

Tex gave it back to me still in bones and I covered it in Coverite and applied Cal-Grafix decals. Silver is the scale color as it protected the covering from harmful UV rays. They didn’t paint them because they simply didn’t have the time, there was a war going on.

It’s been flown any number of times. Most notable flight was the 2nd, when the tow line failed to release, bad piloting on my part because I wasn’t following the tug properly and when I landed, with the airplane about 4’ off the ground, the tow line snagged a fence. The resulting crash killed all three of my pilots! They were brave little guys …..

As you see it’s in good repaired and ready for the next flight.

The TG-8 is nothing more than a Piper Cub with the engine removed and a 3rd pilot station and spoilers added. But why would anyone want to do that? Gliders of the 30’s had glide ratios of 25:1, that is, they went 25’ forward for every one-foot they went down. The TG-8 has a glide ratio around 9:1. Not a very good glider as gliders go!!! If you want to experiment with a 9:1 glide ratio just shut off your engine and that’s what you’ll have in a Piper Cub.

The TG-8 came about during WWII for strategic reasons. In modern warfare terms, we needed to interdict troops behind enemy lines in advance of a beachhead style assault. We did this both in Sicily and Normandy. The method was to tow two CG-4A troop/assault Gliders behind a C-47 (DC-3) and release them over the battle zone each carrying 13 soldiers or the requisite Jeep or howitzer. WACO or its licensees manufactured some 12,000 troop gliders. The tactic was thankfully short lived because it was very costly !!! Intelligence was poor, weather was bad, tow pilots released gliders at the wrong times, they were easy to shoot down and some glider pilots were ill prepared. They crashed into everything imaginable including each other.

So how to train 12,000 pilots to fly these troop gliders? There were a number of light airplane manufactures at the time, Piper, Aeronca and Taylorcraft among them. What the military did was to deduce that a light airplane without an engine would handle about like a troop glider. Piper (TG-8), Aeronca (TG-5), and Taylorcraft (TG-6), each produced about 250 trainers.

Unlike aerotowing a sailplane where the task was to tow the sailplane up to altitude and release it, the goal being for the sailplane to thermal for as long as it could, the goal with the Training Glider was not only for the student to learn to glide down and make a successful landing, it was for the student to learn to follow the tug. His job would be to fly across either the Mediterranean or English Channel behind a C-47.

So where did they all the TG’s go after the war? You may very well have seen one at your local airport. They were lousy sailplanes so virtually all were converted back to power airplanes and some survive to this day. Not only did they have to remove the 3rd pilot’s station up front and put an engine on it, they were required to remove the spoilers!

If you’re interested in these airplanes, in addition to The First Cub, would suggest you read Piper’s Golden Age by Alan Abel ISBN #1-891118-44-7 as well as The Taylorcraft Story by Peek ISBN #0-94-3691-08-7 and in its own way the best, Silent Ones WWII Invasion Glider Test and Experiment by Charles Day ISBN #0-9708903-1-1. I had the privilege of corresponding with Charles for several years but suspect he passed? As a young man he lived next to Clinton County Air Field where many of the TG-8 and CG-4a experiments were carried out.

A web based resource is the Wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_glider

Cubnuts
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Last edited by cubnuts; Apr 04, 2015 at 12:49 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old Apr 04, 2015, 02:18 PM
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this is great, thanks

thank you for sharing this bit of history and modeling.

I never knew this plane existed but its makes perfect sense during war time.

Reading about gliders and the passengers in WW2 was pretty sad for me as the casualty rate was so high - it appears more mortality was involved than injurys in the use of these gliders

best wishes and thanks for the flying reports.

john s.
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Old Apr 05, 2015, 09:34 AM
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Bummer about the crash. Neat airplane.
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Old Apr 05, 2015, 02:01 PM
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Casualties in WWII

Interestingly enough, most CG-4's were built by coffin makers! They were just a wood frame with some canvas stretched over them. Relatively low skilled wood workers could make them and coffin makers had just such employees. Hence they were called "flying coffins" ... and unfortunately, lots of deaths associated with them.

Tug pilots who got lost and simply had to jettison there "load" to save themselves. Glider pilots, who were undertrained got confused and lost. Gliders simply landed in the wrong spot, into trees, hedge rows or enemy fire. Many perished because they were released over the Channel or the Mediterranean during the Italy invasion.

What we did with troop gliders in WWII we did with helicopters in Vietnam. "Interdict combat troops behind enemy lines". Of course another way we did that in WWII was with paratroopers.

If you read enough about WWII it will make you sick, but it will also make you better educated about the world we live in.

Cubnuts

PS

The crash of my TG-8 was a "live and learn" episode. I was able to restore it back to original condition with a little additional help from Tex. Winds willing, I'll fly it at Cape Blanco this August during the annual slope fest.
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Old Apr 05, 2015, 03:28 PM
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thanks again

the Waco and Piper gliders are pretty interesting subjects that i would be motivated to build models of simply because of their history and something different from current crop of glass slippers. Please do followup on the slope soar experience if you get to chance to do that.

john s.
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Old Apr 06, 2015, 07:44 AM
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You're welcome

Think WWI and WWII r/c airplanes have a lot to teach us all about world history.

The idea about history, "how can you understand the 'events of the day' if you don't understand the 'events of yesteryear'"?

Cubnuts
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Old Apr 06, 2015, 11:01 AM
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Thanks for sharing this. I considered doing this. The glide angle shouldn't be much worse than my Rhoenlerche ;-)
Regards, Maarten
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Old Apr 06, 2015, 11:55 AM
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photo with blub info => http://1000aircraftphotos.com/Contri...delle/7833.htm

Click on below photos for web url's (i.e 'open image in new tab' ) -

Piper tg8 -


aeronca trainer glider -
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Old Apr 06, 2015, 02:07 PM
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There will soon be a flying full scale example of the Aeronca training glider in the Pacific Northwest! Stay tuned.
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Old Apr 08, 2015, 12:58 PM
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Not only a TG-5 but TG-6 and PS-2 as well, in the Northwest

If you live in the Northwest, there are at least 3 incredible air museums you should see … The Museum of Flight at Boeing Field in Seattle. (http://www.museumofflight.org/) The Spruce Goose museum in McMinnville, Oregon … Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum (http://evergreenmuseum.org/) . McMinnville is about an hour southeast of Portland.

Although the Boeing Museum is “there to stay”, not so certain about the Spruce Goose? The museum was built by Del Smith to honor his son, an Air Force pilot, who was killed in a car wreck back in the ‘90’s. It’s a magnificent place! Trouble is that Evergreen Airlines, which was their primary source of the funding went bankrupt! Not only that, but Del died about a year back. What I read in the newspaper is that, slowly but surely, they’re “parting the place out”. Banks have loans on some of airplanes and are taking them back! A representative from the Museum was at Rotary about a year back and said, “not to worry, everything’s ok” …. But from what I read in the paper, I’m not at all convinced! Go see it while it’s still there …

The “sleeper museum” though, is the Western Antique Aeroplane and Automobile Museum in Hood River (http://www.waaamuseum.org/), about an hour east of Portland in the shadow of Mt Hood.

According to their web site, they have well over 80 airplanes on display and another dozen undergoing restoration! Their collection of “military Cubs” is spectacular in itself! (And that doesn’t count the cars ….)

Among the airplanes on display is a TG-6, the T-Craft version of the Cub TG-8. I had an opportunity to visit with Terry Brandt, the founder of the museum because of my interest in the training gliders, while he was restoring his TG-6, was just bones out in the restoration shop at the time …. today it’s RTF and is flown periodically. (For several years he had my TG-8 on display next to his TG-6.)

Thankfully there are people in America who value these “relics of the past”, and are restoring, flying and displaying them!

(Wish the museum had some better pictures of it, but what I’ve posted is all that I could find on their website. Would encourage you to go there and look at their photos, hundreds and hundreds of them, most all are great and some spectacular!)

Cubnuts

PS

As I was scanning down the list of their airplanes, stumbled into their PS-2 Franklin. Read http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franklin_PS-2 to learn more about it.

What I learned from Charles Day was that, “there were any number of people interested in ‘cargo gliders’ in the '30's. Apparently they thought that part of the future of air travel was for tugs to tow ‘cargo carriers’ behind them.” Sort of double up on capacity? Any number of the researchers at Clinton County air field in the late 30’s and early ’40, were people who had that belief and were interested in being part of the military’s research, so they could apply it in the civilian business should it work out?
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