Le Cessna L-19/O-1 Bird Dog era un aereo di collegamento e osservazione. Fu il primo aereo ad ala fissa completamente metallico ordinato per e dall'esercito degli Stati Uniti da quando le U.S. Army Air Forces si separarono dall'esercito nel 1947, diventando un proprio ramo di servizio, la United States Air Force. Il Bird Dog ebbe una lunga carriera nell'esercito degli Stati Uniti, così come in altri paesi.
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The Cessna L-19 Bird Dog is a versatile aircraft that was designed for observation, liaison and training purposes. It was the first all-metal fixed-wing aircraft ordered by and for the United States Army after World War II. The Cessna L-19 Bird Dog has a long and distinguished service history in various military and civilian roles around the world. The Cessna L-19 Bird Dog is based on the Cessna 170, a popular light aircraft that was introduced in 1948. The main differences between the two models are that the L-19 Bird Dog has tandem seats, angled side windows, transparent wing panels, a wider door, a redesigned rear fuselage and a more powerful engine. The L-19 Bird Dog can carry two people and some equipment, or one stretcher in case of medical evacuation. The Cessna L-19 Bird Dog first flew on December 14, 1949, and entered service with the U.S. Army in 1950. It was used extensively during the Korean War and the Vietnam War for artillery spotting, reconnaissance, communication and forward air control. The L-19 Bird Dog was also adopted by other branches of the U.S. military, such as the Air Force, the Marine Corps and the Navy, as well as by many foreign allies, such as Canada, France, Japan, South Korea and Thailand. The Cessna L-19 Bird Dog was produced until 1959, with a total of 3,431 units built by Cessna and Fuji in Japan. The L-19 Bird Dog underwent several modifications and improvements over the years, resulting in different variants with different designations, such as O-1, OE-1, TL-19 and TO-1. The L-19 Bird Dog received its nickname from a contest held among Cessna employees to name the aircraft. The name reflects its role of finding and marking enemy targets for artillery or air strikes. The Cessna L-19 Bird Dog is still in use today by some military and civilian operators, as well as by enthusiasts and collectors. The L-19 Bird Dog is appreciated for its reliability, simplicity, performance and versatility. It can operate from short and rough fields, fly for long distances and endure harsh conditions. The L-19 Bird Dog is a classic example of a successful military aircraft that has also found a niche in civil aviation.