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Cessna L19 Bird Dog ID... :: Archived
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SFC_Jeff_Button
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 05, 2006 9:45 pm
Post subject: Cessna L19 Bird Dog ID...

[img][/img]
This is a Cessna L19 Bird Dog (I believe). I am trying to find information out on this particular bird for a friend and this is my first stop on displaying this picture on as many mediums and sources as possible. I can't seem to find this bird listed on Joe Baughers site of aircraft serial numbers. Anyone have any other ideas where to search? I notice a small "Blackhorse" symbol at the top of the tail, similar to 11th ACR's. Anyone with clues can contact me via here or at my PM inbox.

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XcalibeR
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 05, 2006 10:40 pm
Post subject: Re: Cessna L19 Bird Dog ID...

I dunno about that specific plane, but I can tell you a few things about the crash Smile First, the crash was most likely caused by loss of directional control. Second, either the power was at idle or the engine had quit at impact, as noted by the props bent back. Third, a fire started after impact near the aft left side of the engine, and burnt it's way up the front left side of the cabin.

As for more information on that aircraft, the NTSB's website is always a good place to start, but it's busy or down right now...

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SFC_Jeff_Button
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2006 10:34 am
Post subject: Re: Cessna L19 Bird Dog ID...

Thanks for the info, Im having intenet problems myself, so I'll have to try the NTSB later.

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XcalibeR
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2006 1:27 pm
Post subject: Re: Cessna L19 Bird Dog ID...

Yeah, that was just me showing off from my Aviation Safety course :). But now I'm kind of interested in searching that specific crash. The NTSB doesn't have anything on it that I could find. Do you have any more information on the crash? When was it? where was it? where did you get the pics from?

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Doug_Kibbey
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2006 1:41 pm
Post subject: Re: Cessna L19 Bird Dog ID...

- XcalibeR
Yeah, that was just me showing off from my Aviation Safety course :). But now I'm kind of interested in searching that specific crash. The NTSB doesn't have anything on it that I could find. Do you have any more information on the crash? When was it? where was it? where did you get the pics from?


There is no more specific information available to augment the pics, which came from me. Including where (other than Vietnam) or when. That happens when you have some 500 pics that are ~35 years old and you served in two widely separate military regions. It is unknown if there was hostile fire involved or just mechanical failure, that's why we're asking.
For my money, the aircraft likely attempted to put down on the road and went wide. I also doubt that the insignia relates to the 11th Cav as this is an Air Force bird, the insignia is incomplete, and prancing black horses are a common theme anyway.
O-1's of the latest variant, L-19e's, ceased production in 1962, so this is an old airframe even if the latest variety. Almost certainly, it was written off as a combat loss and pitched at the Long Binh boneyard with nothing of it surviving.

And that is all I know about 'dat.
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XcalibeR
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2006 6:57 pm
Post subject: Re: Cessna L19 Bird Dog ID...

- Doug_Kibbey
For my money, the aircraft likely attempted to put down on the road and went wide.


That's probably not a bad guess. The steep bank and lack of a definate edge on the road suggests that it is, in fact, a road, not a runway. Also helping that idea is the drainage ditch in the background. It might be a bad picture or exposure, but it also looks like the road and drain are wet, which would help an already unstable plane into the ditch.

Also, after looking at those pics a bit more, I think I can justify myself a bit more on my previous information, and go a bit further. I'm pretty sure that the fire that occured in the engine started after the crash, as noted by the fact that it propogated up, instead of back. It might be possible, though, that there had been an engine fire, and the wind kept it inside the cowling until the aircraft crashed. Either way, it was a very hot fire to be able to scold and char the metal and deform the plastic of the windshield that much.

I am also pretty sure that the engine had in fact quit before touch down. Props that are bent back are almost always signs that the engine was at a low power setting when it hit. In this case, the slight bending of the right side prop versus the major deformation of the left side prop (closer to the camera) tells me that it was probably wind milling. The major fold in the left side prop was most likely caused when the plane went in the ditch, against those rocks.

A few other things to note. The wings and tail section look to have been mostly damaged by the impact, so I think we can rule out any mechanical fail of the airframe. The right cowling was probably also a casualty of the crash. Second, and on a different note, I noticed that in the back ground of the first image, there is a chapel, along with what looks to be either a VOR or Radar tower closer to the crash site. Both of these seem to point to the fact that it crashed right outside of a permanant air base. This is further supported by the fact that the fire on the aircraft was put out fairly quickly, becuase it didn't spread that far along the aircraft.

So where does that put us? Was the engine in fact failed, or was it idling for landing? If it was failed, what caused the failure? What started the fire? when did the fire start?

If I'm even close on those observations, then I could put forth one probable cause. Take it for what it's worth, cause it's most likely very wrong. Using the above information, I would take and gander at it and that perhaps the pilot, whether just after taking off or just arriving, noticed smoke coming into the cabin. To meet the emergency, he probably cut the fuel supply to the engine (to help control the fire), which would, of course, shut down the engine. Since he's so near a base, I would say he was trying to make a runway, decided he couldn't make it, tried for the road, and slid off the side. After crashing, the fire then propogated up the side of the plane while the fire squad got out there.

Makes for a good story, eh? Mr. Green

Don't take any of that story as a given. It is only what one college sophmore can come up with from looking at three old pictures. If you want to do a bit more research on the engine, the L-19 used a Continental O-470-11 engine. I think if there was a fuel line that goes along the left hand side of the engine, that would further support the findings I put forward.

I'm not fairing too well on finding any info on this crash on the web, so you might have to resort back to your own memory to try to figure out where and when this occured.

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SFC_Jeff_Button
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2006 8:19 pm
Post subject: Re: Cessna L19 Bird Dog ID...

I research and documented an F-105D-31-RE that crashed here at Ft Irwin, 11 Feb 1964. No one knew anything till I found a partial serial number and tried looking for it on Joe Baughers web-site. He lists all miliatry planes built by serial number from 1921 to present. I could not find anything close. I'll be damned if I wont find out though. Doug showed me this picture and I thought I could find it within 10 minutes. The fact that I haven't has made me want to find it even more and I will. I have a contact that may be of some help, but it will probably take 2-3 weeks of research for him to find. But for free, I can't knock it.
Are we sure this is an L19? What is the differnece between it and an OE-1 and some of the other "Bird Dog" variations? Are those white phos rocket mounts under the wings that I see?

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Doug_Kibbey
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2006 8:31 pm
Post subject: Re: Cessna L19 Bird Dog ID...

- SFC_Jeff_Button
I research and documented an F-105D-31-RE that crashed here at Ft Irwin, 11 Feb 1964. No one knew anything till I found a partial serial number and tried looking for it on Joe Baughers web-site. He lists all miliatry planes built by serial number from 1921 to present. I could not find anything close. I'll be damned if I wont find out though. Doug showed me this picture and I thought I could find it within 10 minutes. The fact that I haven't has made me want to find it even more and I will. I have a contact that may be of some help, but it will probably take 2-3 weeks of research for him to find. But for free, I can't knock it.
Are we sure this is an L19? What is the differnece between it and an OE-1 and some of the other "Bird Dog" variations? Are those white phos rocket mounts under the wings that I see?


Jeff,
All L-19's were based on the Cessna 170. The L-19 designation seems to have been dropped officially after Korea and changed to O-1. But as a type, there were several models of "L-19", the last being the "e" model, as noted. You will see claims that L-19's were long gone by the '70's in VN (and correctly, out of the Army altogether by '74), but we know they were around....
A VNAF pilot made the only unarrested landing of one on the U.S.S Midway with no barrier with four members of his family in a well documented and filmed landing during the evacuation of Saigon in '75. Numerous pics can be found of this feat on the 'net.

The O-2 was the Cessna "Skymaster" or "push me/pull me" with the twin boom, and are more associated, now, with Vietnam, but the O-1 was very much still around.

If it helps, I have "Googled" the bejeezus out of that number and all variants of type designators to no effect yet, over the course of several years. Pounded all the websites featuring O-1's and L-19's too. Official records don't always tell the whole story...and neither do tail numbers...this is especially true of Vietnam (and that number is unlike anything I've seen on the usual L-19's with pics around).
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SFC_Jeff_Button
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2006 9:38 pm
Post subject: Re: Cessna L19 Bird Dog ID...

In my numerous "travels" via the internet to research Chuck Yeagers F-100F and that F105D that crashed here, I have made a few contacts that know "Wingy Thingys" and I plan to contact them tomorrow if my work computer is working, (much of Ft Irwins server was down today). I have now become officially infatuated with finding out the history on this airplane, even if it is only limited history. Besides, I've researched everything here at Irwin, I need a new challenge to occupy my down time. Besides, I told you I'd find out for you, what kind of friend would I be if I didn't follow through. I only posted it here first because I've found that sometimes the answers to questions, can sometimes be found close to home rather than searching far and wide, (like I might end up doing). Gotta run.

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Thud68
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2006 6:45 am
Post subject: Re: Cessna L19 Bird Dog ID...

Back in 1988 I got curious about what happened to an F-105D I crewed at Korat RTAFB from Feb68 to Sep68. First I called the AMARC storage center at Davis-Monthan AFB here in Tucson. All they could tell me was that there records indicated it was not physically there, and that it had been involved in an accident while assigned to an Air Guard outfit in the DC area. They did provide me with this address for further info:
Department of the Air Force/ Headquarters Air Force Inspection and Safety Center/ Norton AFB, CA/ 92409-7001.
What I got from them was the crash package on that plane to included radio transcripts between Coast Guard, Pilot, and Tower during the incident. Even some pictures of parts brought up from the bottom of Chesepeake Bay. Pilot survived, plane didn't.
If you have the serial number or tail number and the date and location of the incident I would try the folks at Norton. Remember, my quest was in 1988 and things may have changed a bit. May also have been a small cost involved, with age CRS has set in ( can't remember s***).
Anywho, good luck!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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SFC_Jeff_Button
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 10, 2006 10:39 am
Post subject: Re: Cessna L19 Bird Dog ID...

OK, I admit I thought this would be easier than it has turned out to be. The Historical Freedom of Information Act Manager, Louie Alley at Kirtland AFB couldn't turn up anything on this bird. He was the one that helped me find records on F-105's and F-100's that were lost, and I didn't have pictures of them. However I'm on the trail! I have since contacted 16 other sources and hope for positive results soon, esspecially from one that wrote a detailed book on the Bird Dog's. I will keep you posted.

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SFC_Jeff_Button
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 10, 2006 7:48 pm
Post subject: Re: Cessna L19 Bird Dog ID...

One of my "sources" has contacted me about the airplane in the picture above. He is about 90% sure about the info he provided me. First, the plane was built in 1956, as one in a batch of 74 birds for that particular contract run, (serial numbers 56-4161 thru 56-4235). Not being able to see the final digit of the tail number, he has narrowed it be between 56-4180 and 56-4189. However in his "files" he shows that 180, 185, and 186 were NOT listed as being on the "Known Destroyed Birddog Lists". That narrows it to one of 7 serial numbers that are left. The plane was also built originally as an L-19E. He says the picture shows a USAF Tactical Air Support Squadron (TASS) aircraft, and these were called O-1E's by the Air Force.
The one thing he didn't say, was which TASS unit it was. I guess you'd have to look up area of operations for each unit and try to piece it together from that.
Hey "Thud 68" did you ever find out the ultimate demise of your bird? If not, tell me the tail number and I'll snoop around some.

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SFC_Jeff_Button
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 14, 2006 10:04 am
Post subject: Re: Cessna L19 Bird Dog ID...

Here is another bit of information found on this Bird Dog. I contacted the International Bird Dog Association and a number of its members for help. Below is one of the responses. I hope it helps somewhat. I may get more info and if I do, I'll post it here.

Jim, Ron, guys...
Looking at the photos, the last digit of the tail number is missing. The little logo at the top of the vertical may help track it down. Don't knmow what TASS used the little horsey... It's not Seahorses and not 1st Cav art because it's an Air Force E-model from the 1956 contract series that was built in 57: The number is 0 (of course over 10 years old airframe) plus the 6 from the '56 contract run plus the 4181 or 82, 83, 84, or 87, 88, 89. Only 4180, 4185 and 4186 are shown as not destroyed in service. All others are listed as destroyed. And only 80, 85 and 86 did not get the "Vietnam" modifications with the dual FM command set installations plus other radio mods. Those three may have remained Stateside - and that's why they're not shown as destroyed (see Minard's book, pp 208 and 216 for info; s/n range 23815 - 23826.) Several in that series got the self-sealing tanks and Geise gear, too. All mods were made under an Air Force modifications contract, so that seems to support AF ownership as does the use of the rotating beacon in a cup on the top of the cabin. As far as I know, only AF did that for visibility with the fast-movers. Too bad the last digit is missing in the photo of the tail.


If it was Air Force, that may explain why no joy in Army records.


Ron, since he contacted you, if any of this makes sense to you, do you want to pass this on to SFC Jeff Button?

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SFC_Jeff_Button
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 14, 2006 10:29 am
Post subject: Re: Cessna L19 Bird Dog ID...

Doug, this is where that serial number for the Bird Dog falls into. Because the bird was over 10 years old/modified, it got a "0" as its first digit. The "6" is for the year (1956), and then the 418_ is the serial number. Thats why we were having problems finding it initially. My guess is that the bird in the picruee is either 4181, 82, 83, 84, 87, 88, or 89. Still don't know the unit though. See the excerpt below that I cut and paste from Joe Baughers site;

56-4161/4235 Cessna L-19E Bird Dog
4173 and 4174 transferred to USN as OE-1 BuNo 144663/144664.
Some sold to Thailand.
Redesignated O-1E in 1962.
4164 to N6234
4208 on display at Commado Air Park, Hurlburt Field, FL in 1973
4211 to Thai AF
4215 to Thai AF

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Doug_Kibbey
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 14, 2006 10:32 am
Post subject: Re: Cessna L19 Bird Dog ID...

Thanks, Jeff...
I thought it was pretty clear this was an Air Force plane from the color and side markings (All Army one's I've seen from this ere were OD green).

No pic I'm in possession of (I have four) show any greater detail that would be useful in the ID. Pity about the tail number, especially. Sad
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