O-1/L-19 Birddog

Technical Specs

  • Max Speed: 146 mph
  • Cruising Speed: 105 mph
  • Range: 679 miles
  • Service Ceiling: 21,300 feet
  • Wingspan: 36’ 0”
  • Length: 25’ 9”
  • Height: 7’ 6”
  • Weight: 2,400 lbs max

Armament

Four underwing pylons for mixed stores of smoke canisters and “Willie-Pete” white phosphorus marking rockets

Engine

213 hp Continental O-470-11

General Information

The L19/O-1 is another example of a civilian aircraft being modified for military service. Originally designed and manufactured by Cessna Aircraft the 305A was developed from the model 170 to Army specifications. The key difference between the 170 and the 305 is the seating; the 305 has only two seats, in a tandem configuration. Other important changes included angled side windows for improved ground observation, a re-designed rear fuselage which provided a clear view to the rear, and transparent panels in the wings’ center section which allowed a clear view directly overhead.

In total, over 3200 L-19 Bird Dogs were built for the Army between 1950 and 1959. They were used for artillery spotting, front line communications, medevac, and training during the Korean conflict. When the Vietnam conflict started, the Army L-19 was redesignated as the O-1 and was flown by South Vietnamese airmen, US Army pilots, and clandestine air crews known as the Ravens. In 1964 the majority of Bird Dogs were transitioned out of the Army and into the Air Force where they were used as observation and forward air control (FAC) aircraft until the war’s end in 1975. The O-1 was gradually supplemented, and ultimately replaced, by the O-2 Skymaster.

The Museum is pleased to have amongst its regular visitors two O-1 Vietnam Veterans: Sam Raines & Dick Storgaard. As with so many of the aviators who come through our doors, many stepped out of their aircraft on some remote airfield during a time of conflict and never imagined that they would have the opportunity to come into contact with such an aircraft again… As always, we are so pleased and so proud to ‘reunite’ our visiting Veterans with the birds that they flew.

Specific Information

This aircraft was purchased by Heritage flight museum in February of 2005. It is a Cessna 305A with FAA-approved Macone modifications that give it it’s L-19 designation.