Cessna 0-1 Bird Dog

Design and Development:

The U.S. Army was searching for an aircraft that could adjust artillery fire, as well as perform liaison duties, and preferably be constructed of all metal, as the canvas covered Liaison airplanes used during World war II (primarily Stinson and Piper products) had a short service life. The US Army issued the specification for a two-seat liaison and observation monoplane and the Cessna Aircraft Company submitted the Cessna Model 305A a development of the Cessna 170. The Cessna 305A was a a single-engined light-weight strut-braced high-wing monoplane with a tailwheel landing gear. The greatest difference from the Cessna 170 was that the 305A only had two seats, in tandem configuration (the only tandem-seat plane that Cessna ever produced), with angled side windows to improve ground observation. Other differences included a re-designed rear fuselage, providing a view directly to the rear (a feature later dubbed "Omni-View" and carried to Cessna single-engine planes after 1964), and transparent panels in the wings' center-section (similar to those found on the Cessna 140 and the later Cessna 150 Aerobat model), which allowed the pilot to look directly overhead. A wider door was fitted to allow a stretcher to be loaded.

The U.S. Army awarded a contract to Cessna for 418 aircraft which was designated the L-19A Bird Dog. The prototype Cessna 305 (registration N41694) first flew on the 14 December 1949. Deliveries began in December 1950 and the aircraft was soon in use fighting its first war in Korea from 1950 through 1953. An instrument trainer variant was developed in 1953, later versions had constant-speed propellers and the final version the L-19E had a larger gross weight. Cessna produced 3,431 aircraft which was also built under licencs by Fuji in Japan.

Wikipedia: O-1 Bird Dog