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.
| ENGINE||1 x Continental O-470-11 flat-six piston engine, 159kW|
| Take-off weight||1089 kg||2401 lb|
| Empty weight||732 kg||1614 lb|
| Wingspan||10.97 m||36 ft 0 in|
| Length||7.85 m||26 ft 9 in|
| Height||2.22 m||7 ft 3 in|
| Wing area||16.16 m2||173.94 sq ft|
| Max. speed||209 km/h||130 mph|
| Range||853 km||530 miles|
|charlie tedder, 08.01.2010|
i was a 68g20 at phu loi vietnam. 74th recon. patched a million bullet holes on these little darlings. i always enjoyed flying siagon mortor watch with w/o gene spivey. i think he was a texas boy. hope you are doing ok mr. spivey where ever you are.
|C. Bruce Cornett, 02.01.2010|
I had 737 hours in 337 missions as a USAF Forward Air Controller in Pleiku Province, Viet Nam in 1967-68 and had only one air abort due to mechanics. The yellow chip detector warning light came on when flying on the Cambodian border. I made it back to base, following the roads for an emergency landing if needed, so it ended up as no big deal.
Otherwise, while carrying eight 6.25 inch white phosphorous rockets I had no mechanical problems in that year or in the six months when I got back to the States flying as an IP for pilots headed to Nam.
The grunts always liked to have us above their action, because they knew we could bring in a lot of firepower from fighters, artillery or choppers.
|Kip Taylor, 01.01.2010|
I flew the O-1E as a Jade FAC in Vietnam in 1967. About 180 missions. Great airplane!
|Tony Chapa, 09.12.2009|
I learned to fly in a U.S. Army L-19 in 1961. Tough learning to fly in a tail dragger but once you mastered it - great airplane. I have been flying since 1961 and have always contended that if you can fly the birddog, you can fly anything that flies.
|Jock Williams, 16.04.2009|
When the Canadian Army in Germany gave up its L19s they gave them to the Baden Flying Club -and I was lucky enough to instruct on them.
The L19 was never supposed to be an ab initio trainer -and it was a little daunting for beginning students -but its performance was exceptional (due to the power of the engine installed) and it quickly taught a student the desired taildragger techniques.
Flying from the backseat meant no instruments except tachometer and airspeed -but really -what more do you need?
For takeoffs and landing there was little to no forward vision -but if you just keep the same distance from both sides of the runway -and you can see THEM easily -Bob's your Uncle!
Many great memories of the L19 -and I have a good friend who flew them in combat in Vietnam and loved them too!
Jock Williams Yogi 13
|G. Ford, 01.02.2009|
I am interested in the L-19 Birddog, as I survived a crash in one in 1956. What is the difference in the Birddog and Grasshopper??
|JOE RUBINO, 27.05.2008|
1953-4 at HOLLOMAN AIR DEVELOPMENT CENTER THE ARMY HAD APPROX.10 L-19'S 1 L-20 AND 2 H-13 COPTERS FOR OBSERVATION TO SPOT TARGET DRONES DOWNED BY MISSLES FIRED FROM FORT BLISS.I WAS CREW/SPOTTER ON AN L-19 SOME OF THEM HAD TANDEM LANDING GEAR FOR FREQUENT DESERT LANDINGS
|Robert L. Osborn, 13.05.2008|
I write a column for the Volunteer newsletter of the Evergreen Air & Space Museum in McMinnville, Oregon...This, as you might remember, is the,now, home of the Spruce Goose .... In my June issue i'm writing a 450 word piece on the Grasshoppers that flew in Korea. Anything you have that would add to the piece would be greatly appreciated...I will give credit to the source if you'd like....Robert L. Osborn, Docent.
Do you have any comments about this aircraft ?