Cessna Model 305A / O-1 Bird Dog
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  OBSERVATION, LIAISONVirtual Aircraft Museum / USA / Cessna  


In the late 1940s the US Army issued a specification for a two-seat liaison and observation monoplane. From the submissions received from manufacturers that of the Cessna Aircraft Company was declared the winner and in June 1950 an initial contract was awarded for 418 examples of the aircraft, which the company identified as the Cessna Model 305A.

Cessna's design was based upon the successful Model 170, a light-weight strut-braced high-wing monoplane, powered by a 108kW Continental flat-six engine, which provided accommodation for a pilot and three passengers. The Model 305A differed by having the aft fuselage redesigned to give a clear view to the rear and by the provision of transparent panels in the wing centre-section, which formed the cabin roof. A wider access door gave room to load a standard stretcher, for which support brackets were installed.

Deliveries of production aircraft began in December 1950, under the designation L-19A and with the name Bird Dog, and by October 1954, 2,486 had been delivered, of which 60 where diverted to the US Marine Corps which designated them OE-1. An L-19A-IT instrument trainer version was developed in 1953, TL-19D trainers with constant-speed propellers appeared in 1956 and improved L-19E, of higher gross weight, was the final version to bring total production of Bird Dogs to 3,431. With rede-signation in 1962, the US Army's L-19A, TL-19D and L-19E aircraft became O-1A, TO-1D and O-1E respectively. The US Marines' OE-1 became O-1B and this service also acquired 25 of the higher-powered O-1C. US Army trainers, derived from standard production aircraft, had the designations TO-1A and TO-1E.

Bird Dogs were operated in small numbers during the Korean War, but the US Air Force acquired many of the US Army's O-1s for use by forward air controllers in Vietnam; former TO-1Ds and O-1As were redesignated O-1F and O-1G respectively when equipped for this role. In addition to being supplied to many nations, O-1s were also built under licence by Fuji in Japan.

 ENGINE1 x Continental O-470-11 flat-six piston engine, 159kW
    Take-off weight1089 kg2401 lb
    Empty weight732 kg1614 lb
    Wingspan10.97 m36 ft 0 in
    Length7.85 m26 ft 9 in
    Height2.22 m7 ft 3 in
    Wing area16.16 m2173.94 sq ft
    Max. speed209 km/h130 mph
    Range853 km530 miles

Comments1-20 21-40 41-60 61-80 81-100 101-120
Major General (R) S.Muhammad A, 22.10.2013

I was an L-19 Pilot in Pakistan Army and started flying the good old Bird Dog in 1975.L-19s and OH-13s came to Pakistan in 1958-63. A number of US Army instructors and Technicians came to Pakistan in those days to train Pakistani Pilots.Our earlier pilots went to Texas in 1957.It was Camp Gary and some of the instructors still remembered were Avill,King,Cuthart,Green,Passano,Feurest and Coleman. Advance training was conducted in Fort Rucker with instrutors such as Lewis,Rowlette,Hayes,Oneil and Crusson. I wonder if any of those instructors are there in this group and would much appreciate to chat with them.

Michael Jett, 14.09.2013

I flew with the 74th Recon Airplane Co. out of Phu Loi and then with the 145th CAB out of Bien Hoa from October 67-68. Perfect aircraft for observation and adjusting artillery and naval gunfire. Still, we're all fortunate to have survived.

Michael Jett, 27.08.2013

I flew with the 74 Recon Airplane Company at Phu Loi from October 1967 until February 1968, before I was transfered to the 145th Combat Aviation Battalion at Bien Hoa. I eventually became the 145th Battalion adjutant, and the 74th was transferred to the 210th Combat Aviation Battalion.
We did not have a Bird Dog at the 145th in Bien Hoa, but we had a Beaver.

Dana DeVos, 06.07.2013

I was in OFWAC 67 7. we graduated from Ft Rucker in June 67 and I went to Tay nin as an O1 pilot with the 21st RAC. I was there until our company was transfered to I core and 4 of us went to Dnang, Monkey Mountain with the the marines. We had a mission with the Navy that took us up and down the coast. That was a nice one.
I came back to Ft Rucker as an O1 instructor until Apr 69. I loved flying the bird dog with those big windows you could open or write messages on

Jerry Cowart, 01.04.2013

I was a Crew Chief, mechanic, TI and crew member with the 74th RAV all of 1968 at Phu Loi. I could put together a down Bird Dog with my eyes closed. Now I don't even remember how to change spark plugs in my car.

I was a crew member on a lot of motor watch missions over Siagon during the Tet Offensive, God that Beaver Aircraft was a real work horse. I feel honored to have worked along side the men of the 74th.

E-5, Jerry Cowart, 74th RAC, Pho Loi, Vietnam, 1968

Michael Graham, 27.02.2013

I was an Army Infantry Lt. '68-69' assigned to the 23rd ARVN Division as an Advisor. Saw a lot of firefights in II Corps. I was most thankful for the many times the FAC in an O-1 helped us out of some real messy situations. I flew VRs out of Phan Rang AFB mainly in the Ninh Huan, Bien Huan and Tuyen Duc Provinces. Wish I could locate the AF Cpt. who piloted me out of Phan Rang. Thanks for the memories some of which I would like to forget.

Alex Chavarin, 17.11.2012

I flew the BirdDogs in Vietnam in 1969-1970 out of Chu Lai and Marble Mountain AF DaNang. With the 21st RAC, my Call Sign was BlackAce 21 in Chu Lai, and BlackAce 12 in DaNang. That BirdDog was a great plane and we had some wild times, with great War Stories. I was lucky enough to room with my good friend Tom Kruzic, we went through Flight School together. Arrived together FNG's and left together Salty Dogs on that Big Bird out of DaNang. I'm still very proud of those days, and have some fond memories.

pat mastrincola, 28.09.2012

I was an observer out of Phouc Vinh from the 101st that flew with the 184th .Great group of men and it was a great plane Got me home safe and sound every time

George Ganyon Airman second, 16.09.2012

Worked flight line in 66-67 Bihn Thuy AB. someone wrecked my baby on landing. He sure got his butt chewed by the Boss. They were a lot better to work on than a C-124.

Gregg Rennacker, 30.08.2012

I was just a wobbly one warrant officer 'slick driver' (Tomahawk 23)at Phu Loi '67-'68. I recall hearing the call sign 'Aloft". I managed to accumulate 1275 hours of flying time in 11 months flying out of the 'tee-pee' at Papa Lima. Just hearing 'Du Hoa' gives me the creeps. I have a good friend that restored(is restoring) an 0-1 and I was just wondering if anyone has an amusing or exciting tale of the pilot/plane capibilities that we all usually exceeded. One of you may even have called in fast movers or artillery through 'Hawk Control' for me. Thanx to all, gregg - greggandjudy@gmail.com

Jim Mc Namee, 06.08.2012

I was very fortunate to have flown almost all the Army's fixed wing aircraft, Caribou, U-8D&F, Beaver and the Bird dog, nothing quite fit like the Bird Dog. You almost wore the aircraft like it was an extension of your body. Everywhere that I flew from OFWAC 63-6 (the 100% goldhat class) at Ft Rucker, to Ft Monroe (primary A/C U8), to Ft Benning (primary A/C CV-2B) I always retained my currency in the O-1 and grabbed every opportunity to fly missions in it.
I continued to fly it with the Mass ARNG along with U-6 and later, helicopters, but the O-1 is by far the most fun to fly aircraft I have ever flown and thanks to our crew chiefs and mechanics, the most reliable.

Skip Dent "Shotgun43", 31.07.2012

I flew as a sector reconnaissance pilot in Bac Lieu Province. I can't really say how many combat missions. I flew every day with an occasional Sunday off. They were all combat missions. I was a member of the 221st Reconnaissance Airplane Company. "Shotguns". We covered most of IV CORPS. I and my room mate a USAF CAPT. put in air strikes, naval gunfire, arty strikes and supported ground forces with my eight rockets. Now and then my crew chief, Milton Broussard would get in my back seat with an M60 and 1500 rounds of 7.62 ammo. Thus my bird dog had a very lethal tail gunner. The littl Bird Dog was very solid and saved my life with it's solid structure more than once. On one occasion, iI returned from a prticularly hairy operation and Broussard greeted me with a bone white face and he could only point at the back of my seat. I had one of the few armored Bird Dog seats. There right where my heart was was a ricochet on the back of the seat. I would have been dead were it not for that armored seat.

I went home and flew as an O-1 IP for a couple of years until fixed wing initial entry training was cancelled. After thirty+ years I retired as a CW5.

Vic Hickok, 19.07.2012

Went to Ft Rucker AL for Single-engine Fixed-wing observation/utility aircraft repairman (O-1/U-6) 1965. Upon graduating, was re-assigned to 219th Avn Co (Headhunters), Camp Holloway Pleiku, Vietnam (Jan 66-Jan 67) flew backseat observer/crew chief and was assigned as Aircraft refueler. Loved the aircraft, it was very forgiving!

Eugene Walsh, USA (Ret), 26.06.2012

Was in the first Army L-19 Flight Class under civilian instructors at Spence, AFB in Moultrie, Georgia in 1956. After graduating spent 18 months in Korea flying throughout South Korea. Flew this aircraft for many years after in L-19A, L-19E, and TL19D accruing over 1500 Hours. Never had a forced landing. A most reliable bird.

Ike Jones, 05.06.2012

I had the pleasure of flying the L-19 in Korea for 16 solid months (55-57). It was really a sweet bird to fly...I loved it! Always got me back home to A-11 (Kapyong) and, later, to K-46 (Wonju)...spellings?

buddy roberts, 07.03.2012


Bob Cadman, 17.02.2012

I flew Birddogs for 2 years in Vietnam. May 1968-July 1970 with the Hawkeyes and Pterodactyls.

David Stamat, 15.01.2012

I flew the O-1 with the 203rd RAC out of Qui Nhon, Viet Nam. Most frequently in tail number 6919. My call sign was Hawkeye 19. Strong machine, great flying, and thank God still here to talk about it. Any other "old timers" out there drop me a line.

Scott Boyd, 11.01.2012

The ones I flew had the castering main gear locked and flew just like any other tailwheel Cessna I have flown, 170, 180, 185.

Having started in a Champ I never had an problems and even after not flying a tail dragger for a long time hopping into one was never a problem either. What you have to know to fly a tailwheel airplane makes you a lot better flying with a nosewheel. In my opinion.

Jack Phillabaum, 10.01.2012

Bob Anderson- I was in class 54-J. Last class to take advanced at Ft. Sill. Fun,fun.
William Sauers. I was Operations Officer 118th Avn Co Bien Hoa summer 63. Watch such as you try to make your first landing on the PSP strip. several go arounds before you could get is slow enough to land.
Bob Bailey. I was at Bien Hoa when you were, 118th. We had 2 l-19s which I flew a good bit.
Loved the L-19. Someone here in Hendersonville, NC bought a restored L-19, he ground looped it right away with a good bit of damage. People always talk about the L-19 and ground loops. I never saw one! Those were the days. Now I cant afford one.

1-20 21-40 41-60 61-80 81-100 101-120

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