Birddog 51-11971, a 1951 TL-19A Birddog
This Aircraft is a Cessna TL-19A (TO-1A), Bu No. 51-11971, Cessna Serial Number 22285. It rolled out the doors of the Cessna Aircraft Company Pawnee Division in Wichita on 24 January, 1951 as the 1285th Birddog built and the first of four completed that day out of a total production run of 3437. Assigned to the U.S. Army Aviation Training Center at Fort Rucker, Alabama, many Army Aviators learned to fly in 971 during it’s 9 year tenure there. The Black & White Photo shows it tied down at Schell AAF, one of the satellite Army Airfields around Ft. Rucker during the fifties in it’s current paint scheme. A retired Army Aviator in Appleton, WI. verified the Schell location as he flew it there and identified every door & window in the building behind the aircraft. Many of the Army Aviators trained in 971 later became Forward Air Controllers (FAC’s) during the Vietnam Conflict. Scores of infantry soldiers owe their lives to the FAC’s whom came to the troops’ rescue via directing artillery and air strikes on their behalf.
1960 found 971 being assigned to the Wisconsin Army National Guard at West Bend, Wisconsin along with 14 of its siblings. Since it’s purchase, we have had the honor of meeting with three former Guard members, two of them Pilots. One provided original orders assigning him to fly it to & from I.R.O.A.N. (Inspect And Repair Only As Necessary) in Springfield, Missouri. Another, a crew chief/mechanic, relayed a story of how another Guard member earned his nickname in it while on a training exercise in Minnesota.
On 31 December, 1971, 971 was retired by the Army and given to the U.S. Air Force. They promptly assigned it to it’s civilian volunteer auxiliary, the Wisconsin Wing of the Civil Air Patrol, along with one other WIANG O-1, 51-11988. Licensed as a civilian aircraft for the first time, 971 became N5166G based in Superior and 988 became N5167G assigned to both Appleton and Eagle River, WI. Squadrons. Both were painted in the then standard CAP paint scheme of White and Blue with International Orange bands. A photo of it in this scheme on hydraulic skis was published on the cover of the 3rd September issue of Trade-A-Plane along with another O-1 on floats. (See Photos) Being a Birddog enthusiast, I saved the photo when first published and 25 years later own one of the planes in it! A short article about 66G was written by (retired) EAA writer Norm Petersen when one of it’s previous owners brought it to Oshkosh’82 on floats.
Both 66G & 67G were sold in 1980 with 66G going to a partnership in the area where it spent the next 5-6 years on floats during summer and hydraulic skis in winter. A Soaring Club near Ann Arbor, Mi. purchased it in 1986 where it became a Glider Tug. Damaged in the late eighties, it was sold and rebuilt with the work completed in September of ’95 when it became N90671.
This aircraft is a flying tribute to all Pilots and Birddogs flown during both Korean and Vie
|Registration Number||Date of Manufacture|
|N90671||24 January, 1951|
|iaison/Observation/Forward Air Controller||Birddog|
|Cessna L-19/ O-1||36 feet|
|Overall length:||Empty weight:|
|25 feet 1 inches||1614 pounds|
|Gross weight:||Fuel capacity:|
|2400 pounds||530 mph|
|Oil capacity||Engine type:|
|Single 213 hp Continental O 470-11 piston engine|
|Propeller type:||Max Speed|
|Rate of Climb||Cruise Speed|
|Service Ceiling||Number of Crew|
|Under Wing Smoke or White Phosphorus||None|
|Number Built||Number Surviving|
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