The gallery above reproduces an Army Air Force preliminary test report from November 14, 1944 on the General Airborne Transport XCG-16 cargo glider, a 42-place (including pilot and co-pilot) cargo glider capable of carrying a 10,000 lb useful load. It was a flying wing type with twin booms and a single rudder, incorporating two cargo compartments in the center section of the wing. The cargo compartments were located on each side of the longitudinal axis and passed through the carry-through of the main spar of the wing.
Tests were conducted on the XCG-16 glider from October 16 to 22, 1944 at Clinton County Army Air Field in Wilmington, Ohio by the AAF Board with the cooperation of the Glider Branch, Aircraft Laboratory, Air Technical Service Command, Wright Field, Dayton, Ohio.
From the tests, the AAF Board concluded the following:
- The XCG-16 glider was operationally and tactically unsuitable.
- For operational purposes, an empty C-47A aircraft with crew and full fuel and oil load, 24,200 lbs gross weight, had only sufficient power to tow the XCG-16 glider loaded up to 17,000 lbs gross weight.
- The XCG-16 glider could be towed up to its full gross weight by the C-46A aircraft.
- The range of the XCG-16 glider-towplane combination was increased over that of other glider-towplane combinations of similar gross weight because of the aerodynamic cleanness of the XCG-16 glider.
- The XCG-16 glider required approximately the same power for takeoff and climb as other gliders with comparable useful loads.
- The two small cargo compartments of the XCG-16 glider did not permit the transport of large equipment commensurate with a 10,000 lb airborne tactical load.
- A major redesign of the XCG-16 was necessary to make the glider operationally and tactically suitable.
It was recommended that no further consideration be given the XCG-16 glider for tactical use in its existing form.
To read through the evaluation in depth, please click through the image gallery above, which also features many high resolution photos of this innovative but ultimately unsuccessful combat glider. Also, stay tuned for a second post on the XCG-16 which will feature additional images of this rare bird.
All images from NARA Archives II, College Park, MD, RG 341
Project No. 4084G452.1, “Report of the Army Air Forces Board, Orlando, Florida, Subject: Preliminary Report of Operational and Tactical Suitability Test of the XCG-16 Glider” November 2, 1944, in the files of the National Archives II at College Park, MD, RG 341