The MS-8 Avitruc, also known as the XCG-20 and XG-20, was an enormous assault glider designed by the Chase Aircraft Company for the United States Air Force in the years following World War II.
It was considered the largest glider ever built in the United States.
Despite its impressive design, the XG-20 was never produced because the USAF changed its specifications.
However, the aircraft was transformed into the highly successful Fairchild C-123 Provider, a twin-engine transport plane that saw extensive use during the Vietnam War.
After World War II, the United States Army Air Forces (later the United States Air Force) recognized the need for a new, larger assault glider that could replace the smaller, outdated gliders in service.
The Air Force wanted gliders that were entirely made of metal and could be converted into powered aircraft.
To achieve this, the Chase Aircraft Company was awarded a contract in August 1946 to develop two types of gliders.
The first, a smaller model designated as XCG-18A, and the second, a larger, definitive model known as XCG-20.
The existing gliders in service were no longer suitable for the evolving needs of the Air Force.
By using metal construction, the Air Force hoped to increase the durability and performance of the new gliders.
The ability to add engines to the gliders would also increase their versatility in different operational scenarios.
The XCG-18A and XCG-20 were designed to meet the Air Force’s modernization requirements and represent an important milestone in the development of new gliders.
Over the next five years, the Chase Aircraft Company worked diligently to fulfill the contract requirements.
The larger XCG-20 glider, later renamed XG-20 in 1948, was the largest glider ever built in the United States and the final combat glider manufactured for the U.S. military.
It featured a high-mounted wing, retractable tricycle landing gear, and an auxiliary power unit that supplied hydraulic power to the landing gear and flaps.
The nose section was reinforced to protect pilots in the event of a crash, and this reinforcement also allowed for a robust towing connection.
The cargo holds of the XCG-20 measured 30 feet (9.1 m) in length and 12 feet (3.7 m) in width.
The glider was designed with an upswept rear fuselage and an integrated loading ramp, which allowed vehicles to be driven directly onto and off of the aircraft, greatly reducing loading and unloading times.
Despite never being produced, the XG-20 left a lasting legacy as the basis for the highly successful Fairchild C-123 Provider. Specifications Crew 3 Length 77 ft 1 in (23.50 m) Wingspan 110 ft 0 in (33.53 m) Height 33 ft 10 in (10.31 m) Wing area 1,222.78 sq ft (113.600 m2) Airfoil NACA 23017 Max take-off weight 70,000 lb (31,751 kg) limited by tow aircraft to 40,000 pounds (18,000 kg) Sources Fifty Years of Flight: A Chronicle of the Aviation Industry in America, 1903-1953-Welman Austin Shrader. C-123 Provider-Squadron Signal 1124.