Australian & New Zealand Military Aircraft Serials & History
ARMY Cessna 305 L-19/0-1 Bird Dog

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Cessna O-1E Bird Dog 51-11969 
161 Reconnaissance Flight, Australian Army, 
Nui Dat, South Vietnam


Cessna O-1 Bird Dog Image Gallery

  In 1967 the OC of 161 (Independant) Recconaissnace Flight, Major George Constable, organised the loan of O-1 Cessna Bird Dog aircraft from the US Army, 54th Aviation Company, at Phu Loi to supplement the unit's fleet of Cesna 180's. At that time the Flight was operating six Bell 47G-3B1 Sioux helicopters and three Cessna 180 fixed wing aircraft.

The two Bird Dogss on loan to the Flight, from 28 Aug 67 until 23 May 68 flew a total of at least 921.35 hours.

Pilots of 161 (Indep) Recce Flt that are known to have flown one or both of the Birddogs on loan to the Fligh include George Constable, Bernie Forrest, Tom Guivarra, David McFerran, Steve Tizzard and Peter Garton.

The two Birddogs were used as required in support of 1 ATF and flew the same missions that the Cessna 180s flew including Visual Reconnaissance , night flying missions where the starlite scope was used, first and last light recce, search and rescue missions, AOP flights, transit flights and convoy cover missions.

On 23 May 68, Major Constable was killed flying 51-11969 when the aircraft was shot down and destroyed.

The unit's second Bird Dog O1-G 52-2608 was returned to the US Army on 27/02/1968.

In August 1970 the remains of a third crashed Bird Dog were acquired by 161 (Indep) Recce Flt at Nui Dat where it was rebuilt to flying configuration as "Bunny II" and first flew on 9 May 1971 before being shipped to Australia.


Cessna Bird Dogs Operated by the Australian Army

Type C/N Serial US.Serial Aircraft History
O-1E ?   51-11969 ??/??/1952 L-19A with the batch 51-11912/12911,
??/??/195? Modified up to O-1E model, post 1956, before being sent to Vietnam,
16/03/1968 Collected from the US Army at Phu Loi and flown back to Nui Dat by Bernie Forest,
17/03/1968 Commenced operations with 161 Flight,
23/05/1968 Major George Constable was flying 51-11969 when the aircraft was shot down and destroyed and he was killed in the crash.
At the time he was shot down he was flying a vehicle convoy cover mission for an Australian convoy returning from Fire Support Base Coral.

Cessna O-1E Bird Dog 51-11969 
161 Reconnaissance Flight, Australian Army, 
Nui Dat, South Vietnam

O-1G ?   56-2608 ??/04/1957 Manufacured as L-19E,
??/??/195? Modified to O-1E Standard,
28/08/1967 George Constable, Peter Robinson (EO) and John Wright (fixed wing pilot) flew to Phu Loi to pick up the "first" 161 Recce Flight Bird Dog and deliver it to 161 Recconaissance Flight atNui Dat,
29/08/1967 This aircraft began operations with 161 (Indep) Recce Flt,
07/09/1967 Capt O'Malley from the 54th Avn Co flew conversion flights with David McFerran, Tom Guivarra and Bernie Forrest in 56-2608. Tom Guivarra only had two flights in this aircraft. The first on 07 Sept and the second on 08 Sept when he flew the aircraft from Nui Dat to the airfield at Black Horse.
08/09/1967 During the landing phase the aircraft slid off the runway and nose dived into a large ditch on the side of the runway,
The aircraft was recovered to Vung Tau where it was repaired,
14/10/1967 Returned to 161 (Indep) Recce Flt on 14 Oct 67 when George Constable with Peter Robinson as his passenger flew the aircraft back to Nui Dat,
27/02/1968 Flown to Phu Loi by Bernie Forrest with Mike Boland (EO) and returned to the US Army.
O-1 ? "161"


??/08/1970 the remains of three crashed Birddogs were delivered to 161 (Indep) Recce Flt at Nui Dat where one it was rebuilt to flying configuration as "Bunny II".
The original fuselage and "bits and pieces" which became Bunny II were recovered from a graveyard at Vung Tau by Charlie Miller.
09/05/1971 Completed and test flown by Charlie Brewster.
The aircraft was shipped to Australia in 1971 and trucked to the Army Aviation Base at Oakey, Queensland.
The aircraft has been flown on a number of occasions but it is now on static display at the Museum of Australian Army Flying at Oakey.

Highlight for Album: Cessna Bird Dog 
"Bunny II"


Cessna Bird Dog Vung Tau photo Laurie Branch Via Gordon Branch Cessna O-1Bird Dog Luscombe Airfield.  Behind are Bell Sioux Helicoptes of 161 Reconnaisance Flight, Australian Army AWM P01673 Anthony Blake via Brendan Cowan


Other Cessna Bird Dogs Operated in Australia

  Several Cessna Bird Dogs have been imported and operated in Australia including some which have signifigant combat histories in Vietnam and a few also have signifigant Australian associations. For these reason we have recorded these aircraft on this page despite not having been operated by the Australian Army directly.  
Type Model C/N US.Serial Registration Aircraft History
  22602 50-12288 VH-YAP Manufactured 1950,
21/06/1991 Registered VH-YAP
30/03/1993 Registered to Peter.M.Willard, Scone, NSW,

Cessna Bird Dog 51-12288 VH-YAP Scone via Alan Butters

  21416 51-4591 VH-OIE Manufactured 1951
To US Army,
To Royal Thai Air Force,
To Thai Army,
24/03/1992 Registered VH-OIE,
25/11/1995 registered to RAAF Museum Director, RAAF Point Cook, Victoria.

Cessna O-1F Bird Dog 305E 0-14591 VH-OIE

O-1A   21445   VH-LPH Manufactured 1952,
10/04/1991 Registered VH-LPH
17/12/1996 Registered Alan.W.Young, Wee Waa, NSW.
O-1A   21491   VH-LRE Manufactured 1952,
13/11/1991 Registered VH-LRE
30/03/1993 Registered Gordon.F.Glynn, Baulkham Hills, NSW.
305A 21520 TBA VH-OIA Manufactured 1951,
26/05/2011 Registered VH-OIA to Peter.N.Anderson, Bangor, NSW.
VH-XVB Manufactured 1951,
Imported from Thailand by Col Pay,
07/05/1992 Registered VH-XVB "Little Puff" Randal MacFarlane,
16/10/2015 Registered to Stuart.F.C.Lee, Elanora, Queensland.
305D 21633 51-4748 VH-LPV Manufactured 1951,
To Australia 1991,
16/07/1991 Registered VH-LPV,
13/07/1993 Registered to David.T.Bartter, Hanwood, NSW.
305F 21774 TBA VH-XTI Manufactured 1952,
16/07/1991 Registered VH-XTI,
05/03/2012 Registered to Michael.C.Davidson, Riddells Creek, Victoria.
305A 21894 TBA VH-LAO Manufactured 1952,
11/12/1991 Registered VH-LAO,
19/03/1997 Registered to Margot.S.Raynor, Bingie, NSW.
305F 22918 51-12476 VH-SCB Manufactured 1952,
24/04/1992 Registered VH-SCB to Oberon Aviation Services, Albury, NSW.

Cessna Bird Dog 51-12476 VH-SCB via Alan Butters

305D 21922 TBA VH-UXX Manufactured 1952,
11/12/1991 Registered VH-UXX,
28/06/2012 Registered to Leonardo Canteri, Moonee Ponds, Victoria.
305F 21986 51-5081 VH-XVN Manufactured 1951,
01/10/1993 Registered VH-XVN,
20/11/2008 Registered to James.T.Williams, Albury East, NSW.
305A 22115 51-12001 VH-LQX Manufactured 1952,
28/02/1968 Damaged by motar with 19th TASS at Duc Hoa, South Vietnam,
28/08/1991 Registered VH-LQX,
31/05/1995 Registered to Denair
Pty Ltd, Essendon, Victoria.
TBA TBA 22290 "51-14661" TBA TBA (Cross check with VH-XVB)
305D 22448 51-12134 VH-FAC Manufactured 1952,
Royal thai Air Force?,
15/01/1997 Registered VH-?AG,
12/06/2015 Registered VH-FAC to Matthew.J.Henderson, Kyneton, Victoria.

Cessna O-1E Bird Dog 51-12134 VH-FAC Point Cook March 2014 Photo Graeme Molineux

305D 22559 51-12245 VH-LQS Manufactured 1951,
30/07/1991 Registered VH-LQS to Pays Air Service, Scone, NSW.

Cessna Bird Dog 51-12245 VH-LQS via Alan Butters

O-1G   22913 51-12471 VH-FXY Manufactured 1953,
Ex Thailand?,
17/12/1996 Registered VH-FXY To Robert.L.Fox, Bentleigh, Victoria.
305D 23355 TBA VH-EAZ Manufactured 1954,
03/04/2009 Registered VH-EAZ,
26/11/2012 Registered to Mark.D.Binskin, Campbell,ACT.

This page is managed and updated by Brendan Cowan.

Sources: Possums & Bird Dogs, Australian Army Aviation's 161 reconnaissance Flight in South Vietnam, Peter Nolan, , , Target Charlie, 161 Recce Flight Website, National Archives,

Emails: Darren Crick, Len Avery, The Phantom, Rob Fox,

Page Updated 21 April 2016


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