By 1940, the expanded Civil Pilot Training Program demanded more training aircraft. Designed by Howard's chief engineer, Gordon Israel, the low-wing two-seat trainer DGA-18 was a deviation of the biplanes and high-wing monoplanes the company had produced so far (except for three racers:
DGA-3 "Pete", DGA-4 "Mike" and "Ike"). The prototype was constructed within three months and flown in 1941, and three versions were produced:
DGA-18 with an 125 hp Warner Scarab seven-cylinder air-cooled radial
DGA-18K with an 160 hp Kinner R-5 five-cylinder air-cooled radial
DGA-18W with an 145 hp Warner Super Scarab
The three versions were also known by their engine power, respectively DGA-125, DGA-160 and DGA-145.
Clayton Alexander recalls: "When I was a teenager back in the 1940's one landed, or maybe I should say arrived, at a grass airport near where I lived downwind, he just made it. He was quite gruff when I asked him what kind of plane was that. He just said "damned Howard".