Aircraft Data Sheet

for O-1


The O-1 Bird Dog is a two-place observation and liaison aircraft developed from the commercial Cessna Model 170 in 1949, and selected as the winner of a 1950 competition for a new two-seat liaison and observation monoplane. Originally designated as L-19s, "Bird Dogs" were used by the USAF, Army, and Marines for such tasks as artillery spotting, front-line communications, medical evacuation, and pilot training. In Vietnam, O-1s were used by forward air controllers (FACS) for reconnaissance. A "FAC", often an experienced fighter pilot, was assigned to a specific geographical area, so that he could readily identify enemy activity. If a FAC observed enemy ground targets, he marked them with smoke rockets so they could be easily attacked by fighter-bombers. Bird Dogs carried four rockets under each wing and at night carried flares of 2,000,000 candlepower to provide light for outposts under attack. The FAC remained on the scene to report bombing results. The USAF ordered more than 3,200 "Bird Dogs," most of which were built as L-19As between 1950 and 1959. 

Click on a picture to see larger version.


Photo by Aubrey Brittian.

Photo by Dave Hanson.

Photo by Frank Warren.

Remarks: Midway's O-1 was purchased from Air Repair Inc.  It arrived at the restoration hangar on 24 October 2006 where it is being restored for exhibition on the Midway in time for an anniversary observance of the landing of an O-1 on the Midway on 30 April 1975 during Operation Frequent Wind.  See more below.

Background graphic from

View photos and information in the National Museum of Naval Aviation Website.


Assignment Record

Assignment record not yet available.

Date of manufacture: Unknown 

Manufacturer: Cessna Aircraft Co.






Page updated on 15 March 2010