Allied Aviation XLRA-1


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Allied Aviation XLRA-1

In April 1941, at the instigation of Captain (later Admiral) Marc Mitscher, the Navy began work on a glider for assaulting enemy beaches carrying squads of Marines.

The basic design worked out by the Bureau of Aeronautics was then handed over to industry for building. The first was built by the Bristol Aeronautical Company as the XLRQ-1, followed by two from the Allied Aviation Corporation as the XLRA-1 and -2. The low-set wing supported the glider in the water, and tow-planes used in tests were amphibians such as the J2F-5 Duck and PBY-5A. Although the XLRA-11-2 was theoretically ideal for recapturing islands captured by the Japanese in the first months of the Pacific War, actual combat experience showed the strength of beach defences and the vulnerability of even armoured landing craft and amphibious vehicles during opposed invasions. In 1942 orders for 100 XLRA-2s were cancelled as was that for a 22-seat twin-hulled transport glider.


In the US Navy's system, XLR stood for Experimental (X) Transport (R) Glider (L). Q was the designator for the Bristol Aeronautical Company and A stood for the Allied Aviation Corporation.

There were two versions of the Allied glider. The XLRA-1 was similar to die XLRQ-1 with a dual centre wheel and wingtip skids for land use and the XLRA- 2 had a jertisonable two-wheeled undercarriage so it could take off from land and alight on water.

The wing was called a 'float wing', as it combined both these functions without the need for additional wingtip floats. The hull design was of the two step planing type.

Construction was mainly wood with the fuselage and wing skins made of impregnated plywood. Companies who built gliders for the Navy included light aircraft makers and manufacturers of library shelves.

Allied Aviation XLRA-1

  Wingspan21.95 m72 ft 0 in
  Length12.19 m40 ft 0 in
  Height3.73 m12 ft 3 in
  Max. speed210 km/h130 mph

Curtis Clark, e-mail, 06.03.2023 17:54

Does anyone have pictures or drawings of the twin hulled troop glider?


Graham Clayton, e-mail, 13.02.2021 04:24

Was the XLRA-1 designed to land on the ground or in the water in front of a beach?


richard l. taylor, e-mail, 28.06.2017 22:20

Looks like a well-done aircraft...I would like to have a photo for possible use in a post for my blog "The Elder Aviator."


Erich Ferrell Figley, e-mail, 01.09.2010 10:46

The XLRQ-1 taking off in the first photo was piloted by my late father Colonel Richard E. Figley. In January of 1942 my father was assigned as Commanding Officer, Headquarters and Service Squadron and Group Engineering Officer of Marine Glider Group 71 where he designed and constructed equipment for glider training operations.

In July 1942 my father was transferred to the Naval Aircraft Factory, Navy Yard, Philadelphia. During the twenty five months my father was at this station he served as test pilot and Officer in Charge of "Project George", testing gliders, towing aircraft and related equipment. My father conducted acceptance tests of 14 types of gliders, including Army, Navy and British designs. He also operated an experimental glider air-cargo line between Norfolk, Virginia and Miami, Florida, to determine the feasibility of gliders in air transport service.


Peter Mason, e-mail, 07.03.2008 22:59

I have an original photograph of what appears to be the prototype(no fuselage windows.) Would you like me to email a pic.? please let me know the email address.


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