Annual Reunion of the National WWII Glider Pilots Association - Click here for information

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From Air Force Association Magazine Gallery - Special Duty/Gliders


CG-4 Hadrian

The only US-built glider to see combat action in World War II, the CG-4 was selected over three other designs. The type holds the US record for most different manufacturers, as eventually 16 companies produced at least one CG-4. Ironically, Waco, the company that designed the CG-4, built only 1,075 examples of the production aircraft, which trailed Ford (4,190), Northwestern (1,510), Commonwealth (1,470), General (1,112), and Gibson (1,078). The CG-4 first saw combat in the Sicily invasion in July 1943. On March 5, 1944, US crews flew British Brig. Gen. Orde Wingate's Chindit commandos to a clearing 150 miles behind Japanese lines in Burma at night. Several thousand CG-4s were towed behind C-46s and C-47s in Operation Overlord, the invasion of France on June 6, 1944. The CG-4s, which, like all gliders, were considered expendable, were also used in the landings in southern France, at Arnhem, and the Rhein River crossing. They were also used in large numbers by Britain, and a few were transferred to the US Navy. After the war, large numbers of CG-4s were sold, not for the aircraft but for the shipping boxes, which were converted to chicken coops and other civilian uses. The last of the CG-4s received a new Navy-developed tow bar in 1948 and were redesignated G-4Cs. The type was removed from service shortly after that.



The Waco Aircraft Co.




Cessna Aircraft Co.


Commonwealth Aircraft Co.


Ford Motor Co.


G and A Aircraft Co.


General Aircraft Corp.


Gibson Refrigerator.




National Aircraft Division.


Northwestern Aeronautical Co.


Pratt, Read, & Co.


Ridgefield Manufacturing Co.


Robertson Aircraft Co.


Timm Aircraft Co.


Ward Furniture Co.

Locations Built:

Troy, Ohio.


Deland, Fla.


Wichita, Kan.


Kansas City, Mo.


Iron Mountain, Mich.


Willow Grove, Pa.


Astoria, N. Y.


Greenville, Mich.


St. Louis, Mo.




St. Paul, Minn.


Deep River, Conn.


Ridgefield, N. J.


St. Louis, Mo.


Van Nuys, Calif.


Fort Smith, Ark.

Number Built: (USAF)

13,908 (12,700).

First Flight:

May or June 1942.

First Flight Model:


First Flight Location:


First Flight Pilot:



CG-4A, G-4C.




83 ft 8 in.


48 ft 4 in.


12 ft 7 in.


7,500 lb gross.




Crew of two (pilot and copilot, side by side) and 13 troops or 3,710 lb of cargo.



Max. Tow Speed:

125 mph.


Limited to range of tow aircraft and loaded weight.


Ceiling: Limited to tow aircraft.


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