Tn-instr Tn-4 Tn-1

Cessna-Birddog-Collection - $11.95

The Cessna L-19/O-1 Bird Dog is a liaison and observation aircraft. It was the first all metal fixed wing aircraft ordered for and by the United States Army since the U.S. Army Air Forces separated from the Army in 1947, becoming its own branch of service, the U.S. Air Force. The Bird Dog had a lengthy career in the U.S. military as well as in other countries. This is a downloadable cardmodel from Fiddlersgreen and comes in 12 different versions as of 9/09.

Model of Gen. Eisenhower's Cessna L-19 Birddog-used to inspect Korea!


Cessna Bird Dog main Page

The L-19 Bird Dog is the most modern" L-bird, if you consider an airplane designed 50 years ago modern. Its all-aluminum structure is pure Cessna 170, with a specially designed fuselage that benefited from everything the designers learned during World War II. When the Korean War came along, the L-19 earned its combat spurs and was still performing legendary duty as a FAC through most of the Vietnam War. In its clandestine guise as a Raven, the airplane wrote many cloudy historical chapters.

With a 213 hp, derated 0-470 Continental, the Bird Dog really gets with the program on takeoff, but figure only about 115 mph in cruise. With Cessna's wonderful slotted Fowler flaps that come down to a whopping 60 degrees, it'll drop over a treeline like a rock to work short fields like a rocket ship. In fact, a full-flap landing is a test to see if the pilot knows exactly where the ground is and how fast he or she can flare.

The airplane sits really high with terrific visibility and carries its two occupants in a cockpit that's much larger than necessary, which gives lots of Spartan comfort. Its ground handling is typical of all spring-gear Cessnas and requires just a little more attention than some of the older L-birds.

The good news is there are plenty of L-19s (also called O-ls) available. The bad news is (hey arent cheap. Figure 550,000 to get into the game and 565,000 to get a decent one. Warbirds of any kind are caught up in a fantastically rapid upward price spiral and, while the L-birds are also increasing rapidly, they haven't yet gone out of sight. For a pilot wanting a good flying, interesting piece of aeronautical history, the L-bird market offers something for everybody. Whatever your budget, there's an olive drab miniwarbird out there that can fit it.

When shopping for L-birds, however, don't forget the pilots. L-bird pilots have been largely forgotten, and it's time we remember that it was the pilots, many of whom weren't officers, who wrote our history, not the airplanes.

Cessna L-19 assy

They went to war the hard way, with nothing more than 65 hp, a radio and a map. With the exception of a 0.45 on their hip and the occasional M-1 carbine or Thompson, they were unarmed. Still, from World War II until present day, the Liaison/FAC (Forward Air Control) pilots and their Pipers and Cessnas have been among the most feared aircraft in the air.

As the enemy in Vietnam learned, once the FAC located its target, it could bring a formidable, virtually unlimited arsenal to bear. From rolling artillery barrages to waves of Phantoms and Thuds storrning over the ridges, all the FAC had to say was "Hit my smoke," and a carpet of destruction would descend upon the enemy position.

The story of the FAI: pilots of Vietnam and the liaison/artillery spotters of World War II and Korea is a chapter of history that's mostly hidden in the larger shadow cast by the more glamorous warbirds.

Fighters and bombers, the so-called "real" combat aircraft, get all the glory. The Grasshoppers and Bird Dogs, however, got the job done and deserve more credit than they've received. Today, they represent one of the most affordable and fun ways to get into the warbird game.

The littlest warbirds are grouped into two historical categories: World War II and post-World War II. The World War 11 Grasshoppers came in a wide variety, while those that came after the war are primarily represented by only a few types, with the L-19 Bird Dog being the most numerous.

Within both groups there are aircraft that, while occasionally available, range from rare to almost nonexistent. There are also a few airplanes, such as the L-17 Navion or L-126 Cessna 195, which, although not combat birds, still qualify as warbirds and offer tremendous utility to boot.Cessna L-19 Birddog

The subject of Liaison aircraft is a world unto its own but, fortunately, much of the aircraft information, both technical and historical, is available through the International Liaison Pilot and Aircraft Association (16518 Ledgestone, San Antonio, TX 78232).

L-birds were produced in the thousands-in some cases, in the many thousands 30 even though time and the elements have destrsyed many, they still exist in large numbers. A few years back, they could be found slouching in the grass on back tiedown lines in disreputable condition.

Birddog by CessnaThis has changed as more pilots not only recognize their historical significance, but also recognize what fun flying machines they can be. Today, hundreds have been or are being restored. Fortunately, they continue to reappear out of the shadows of forgotten bams and hangars at ridiculously low prices.

Incidentally, just so the purists don't get on our case: The thumbnail descriptions to follow hone in on the most commonly available Liaison birds. We've skipped such rarities as the Consolidated L-1 or Interstate L-6, as they and their limited production brethren aren't likely to show up on the back tiedown line.

Cessna L-19  Sketch


Following adoption of the Cessna Model 305A by the US Army as the L-l9, the Navy procured an identical version for use by the Marine Corps. Orders totalled 60 (133782-133816, 136887-136911), delivered in 1951-53. Some served in Korea. In 1959, the Navy acquired two L-19E Bird Dogs (144663-144664), retaining the original OE-l designation. Powered by the 213 hp Continental 0-470-Il engine, all were redesignated 0-lB in 1962. Span, 36 ft; length, 25 ft 9 in; gross weight, 2,430 Ib; max speed, 130 mph.







Developed to meet a specific Marine Corps requirement, the Cessna Model 321 was similar to the OE-l 'L-19 series, but used Model 180 wings, a new fuselage and a 260 hp Continental 0-470-2 engine. A batch of 25 (140078-140102) went to the Marines as OE-2s in 1955 and two in 1956 (148250-148251), but the higher cost of this model prevented its adoption on a wider scale. The designation changed to 0-IC in 1962.

Span, 36 ft: length, 26 ft 3 in; gross weight, 2,650 Ib: max speed, 185 mph.


three views of the L-19 Cessna Bird Dog

Cessna 0-1

c The Bird Dog was derived directly from the Cessna 170, a commercial model in production in 1950. From the first order for fourteen planes in June 1950, the numbers increased dramatically, until by October 1954 the total production of L-l9As (as they were originally designated) was 2,486. Two years later another 310 TL-19D training planes were ordered, while in 1957 the final version appeared, namely the improved and more powerful L-19E, which brought the total production to 3,431 machines. In 1962 the different versions were renamed, in sequence, 0-lA, 0-iB, TO-lD and

Example of the Steep take off angle!

Few aircraft were as important for the efficient conduct of war operations in Vietnam as the small, unarmed Cessna 0-1 B, previously known as the L-1 9. Spearhead of the FAC (Forward Air Control), it formed part of the US Army organization until 1965, when all fixed-wing observation aircraft were turned over to the USAF. Flying at low level and reduced speed, their duty was to discover objectives, for the most part concealed in the jungle, such as groups of guerillas, convoys traveling along the Ho Chi Mm Trail, or enemy units lying in ambush for unsuspecting government troops. Having spotted the enemy, they would immediately radio the DASC (Direct Air Support Center) which, as a rule, would be able to get attack aircraft to the spot within half an hour. The latter were again guided by the Bird Dog pilots who, in addition to pinpointing the objective with smoke or magnesium flares, would check the effectiveness of the strikes, if necessary correcting the aim. However, the 0-1 s were an easy target for the enemy, who could often hit them with ordinary rifle fire, without recourse to heavy anti-aircraft fire. Many Bird Dog pilots lost their life while carrying out their duty; they were usually officers with years of experience, veterans of many battles. Among the finest fighters, they succeeded in converting their little unarmed planes into formidable offensive weapons.
Cessna L-19 Birddog by modeler Anthony Sanchez
This great lookin' L-19 was sent to us by Anthony Sanchez. Thanking YOU!

0-lE.Aircraft: Cessna 0-lE

Year: 1956

Manufacturer: Cessna Aircraft Co.

Engine: Continental 0-470-11, 6

cyl., air cooled

Power: 216hp

Wingspan: 36ft Oin (1O.97m)

Length: 25ft lOin (7.87m)

Height: 7ft 4in (2.23m)

Wing area: 174sq ft (16.16m2)

Max take-off weight: 2,4001b


Empty weight: 1,6141b (732 kg)

Max speed: 130mph (209km/h)

Service ceiling: 18,500ft (5,640m)

Range: 530mi (853km)

Crew: 3



Got an Email from a modeler who says the wings are wrong on the Bird Dog model. Checked it again, and the colors of this very unique light plane of Gereral Eisenhower's DID have wings with the alternate light green coloring on the model.

Whooops! Cessna L-19 Birddog


Museums and Associations that feature the Cessna Bird Dog

TAYLORCRAFT (reference)

A lot of general aviation has forgotten Taylorcraft ever built a tandem model because the BC-12 side-by-side model was so tremendously successful. However, prior to the war, the company built the Model D, most of which originally went to the Civilian Pilot Training (CPT) program. As with most of the other Liaison aircraft, when it was drafted into the military, one of the first things the military did was put as much glass in the airplane as possible. The glass was unique on the L-2 because, rather than just running windows around the existing fuselage as on the other kbirds, the rear fuselage line was lowered and a formed, Plexiglas section was installed, which completed the step from the vving down to the fuselage.

Most military adaptations of civilian airplanes worked to reduce the use of war-critical materials, so the wings of the L-2 were made entirely of wood, rather than using pressed aluminum ribs as on the BC-series Taylorcrafts. Since no one ever thought they'd be flying a half-century later, there wasn't that much thought given to longevity during their production. Also, in the passing years, almost all of the less popular L-birds, such as the L-2, spent part of their lives collecting mice and birds' nests as the local airport derelicts.

During that period of their lives, the wing structure on some of them suffered mightily.Cessna L-19 Birddog

So, if you're thinking about a wooden wing L-bird, inspect it carefully for wood and glue joint deterioration. Also, check the fuselage tubing for rust, as 50 years is a long time and rust never sleeps.

The usual engine was the Continental A-65, and the airplane isn't light (815 pounds-100 pounds more than a stock Cub), so it doesn't exactly rocket off the ground.

The airplane is like most other L-birds in that it's the soul of docility. However, it also uses the semisymmetrical wing of all other Taylorcrafts, so it's (marginally) faster than the rest, but the others can often outclimb it. It can also be a real floater if brought in fast. Its tendency to float prompted the military to put spoilers on the L-2M. Unfortunately, the FAA has said the spoilers have to be deactivated on certain airplanes.

The paces on the L-2 seem to be moving faster than those on the other L-birds and are hovering in the $15,000 to $20,000 range.

Cessna Bird Dog by James Duckworth model


Home page
CD ordering information

sign up for our newsletter