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Home > Fact Sheets > Cessna O-1G Bird Dog


Posted 3/3/2015 Printable Fact Sheet
DAYTON, Ohio -- Cessna O1-G in the Southeast Asia War Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)
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The O-1G was a two-place observation and liaison aircraft developed from the commercial Cessna Model 170 in 1949. Originally designated L-19s, Bird Dogs were used by the U.S. Air Force, Army and Marine Corps for such tasks as artillery spotting, front-line communications, medical evacuation and pilot training.

In Southeast Asia, the O-1s became a USAF forward air control aircraft. A forward air controller (FAC), often an experienced fighter pilot, flew in a specific geographical area so that he could readily identify enemy activity. If a controller observed enemy ground targets, he marked them with smoke rockets so for attack by fighter-bombers. The FAC remained on the scene to report bombing results. 

The single-engine O-1 was slow and vulnerable to enemy fire. This, along with its limited range and small payload, led to its eventual replacement by the twin-engine O-2 Skymaster and OV-10 Bronco.

The USAF ordered more than 3,200 Bird Dogs, most of which were built as L-19As between 1950 and 1959. The O-1G on display was transferred to the museum in 1971.

Armament: Generally none except smoke rockets
Engine: 213-hp Continental O-470
Maximum speed: 150 mph
Cruising speed: 115 mph
Range: 530 miles
Service ceiling: 20,300 ft.
Span: 36 ft.
Length: 25 ft. 10 in.
Height: 9 ft. 2 in.
Weight: 2,400 lbs. loaded
Serial number: 51-11917

Click here to return to the Southeast Asia War Gallery.

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Related Fact Sheets
A Dangerous Business: Forward Air Control in Southeast Asia
Cessna O-2A Skymaster
North American Rockwell OV-10A Bronco
Continental O-470-13A Engine
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