Bird Dog

Technically it’s a Cessna 305A, but they were used in Korea and Vietnam as observation and reconnaissance aircraft, known in the military as an L-19 Bird Dog.

IMG_9330 small

This one I spotted a couple of years back in the big CAF hangar in Midland, Texas. The CAF High Flight Wing is still there, but at the time the CAF Headquarters was there as well. (They’ve since moved to Dallas.)

You can see a huge whip antenna up on top of the cabin, a directional loop antenna just behind the rear window, and two dipole antennas on the leading edges of the horizontal stabilizer. The Bird Dog was used extensively as a forward fire control aircraft, spotting enemy positions and directing artillery fire onto the target. Because of this, even though the Bird Dog flew low and slow and made an easy target for ground fire, enemy troops were hesitant to fire on one for fear of giving away their positions.

This looks like a fun little plane to fly – top speed about 100 knots.


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