PEKIN, Ill. (WMBD) — One of the deadliest weapons of World War II was also one of the slowest.
It’s an “L-Bird,” a Liaison aircraft, but in civilian life, it’s a Piper Cub.
The plane is housed at the Pekin Airport and owned by Richard Kriegsman. His father, John Kreigsman, flew a plane just like it in World War II.
“We thought it an homage to our dad. If you’ve noticed the field out here, it’s named John C. Kriegsman Field in honor of my dad and to have this plane here is a tribute to him,” said Richard.
The plane may be small, but its missions were enormous. L-Birds scouted the enemy’s location and called down deadly artillery fire on them.
In some cases, using what’s known as a “Brody Device,” they landed on wires hung over the sides of the landing craft. That’s what John did in the Pacific War.
“You had to match the rhythm of the ship with the plane, so you didn’t end up with one of those arms in your windshield, or worse. And what could be worse?” said Richard.
Richard’s little plane ins the only one in the world still flying with a Brody Device still on it.
An L-Bird can be seen at the Wheels O’Time Museum in Peoria, hanging from the ceiling. There are diagrams and a video presentation to go along with them.
Among those people in the video is a familiar face: L-Bird Pilot John Kriegsman.