CESSNA L-19 Bird Dog
General Historical Data
The Cessna L-19 Bird Dog was developed for the US Army as a light reconnaissance and observation plane for the artillery. It could also be used as a liaison and trainer aircraft. The first requisition of 418 aircraft for the US Army came in 1950.
Historical Data from Norway
Between 1960 and 1968 a total of 27 aircraft of this type arrived in Norway as a supplement to the 16 Piper L-18C Super Cubs that the Field Artillery's OP service already had at their disposal. The aircraft were divided between the various artillery units whose headquarters were at Sæthermoen in the north and Haslemoen in the south.
The Bird Dog is a robust aircraft and is easy to operate from small, improvised air strips, country roads or fields. It can use either wheels or skids as landing gear.
The aircraft has no weapons or armour and travels at low speed. In battle the pilot's ability to exploit the aircraft's manoeuvrability and the terrain to the full, in order to avoid coming under fire from the ground or from other aircraft, was of decisive importance. The task of the FAOPT involved airborne observation, artillery fire direction, reconnaissance, liaison flights, reporting, etc. The aircraft were also fitted with equipment for monitoring areas of radioactivity.
The aircraft were gradually run-down, and in 1992 the FAOPT was brought to a close.