Images of various Artifacts of the Month's

July 2019

Artifact of the Month

L-19/O-1 Bird Dog

In 1950, the Army sought a military light plane to replace the World War II L-4, L-5, and L-16 aircraft. Cessna competed with a modification of their civilian Model 170. By mid-summer, Cessna was awarded the initial contract for 418 of the newest and first ever all-metal, high-flying observation plane.

Cessna exceeded competitors,' as well as the Army's, required capabilities, and the aircraft became the L-19 Bird Dog. The Bird Dog had an impressive ability to take off and land in short distances. Many L-19s were fitted with large all-terrain landing wheels, so they could land in many of the forward combat zones that did not support major airstrips. Others had skids placed on them for landing on snow and ice. It quickly became a popular commodity in the Korean Conflict.

Most light observation planes like the L-19 Bird Dog reverted to US Air Force control in 1965. The L-19 continued use throughout the Vietnam conflict, but was redesignated as the O-1, and was found useful in tactical air support. The Army finally discontinued the L-19 in 1974 after 24 years’ service.