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by Mark Cardwell

The concept for an organization dedicated to the Cessna L-19/O-1 Bird Dog originated with Mr. Phil Philips of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Phil had served as a U.S. Army Aviator in Vietnam and had flown numerous combat missions in the Bird Dog. Once back in the States and beginning a career in the private sector, he thought affectionately about the humble little warbird from Cessna that had served him so well. Unfortunately, he was also frustrated. There was very little printed material about this noteworthy airplane and worse yet there was not a single flyable example anywhere near his hometown that would allow him to borrow a few minutes of "cockpit time" to reacquaint himself with his old mount. He set about to correct both problems.

Research indicated that there were a few demilitarized Bird Dogs that were in the hands of civilian owners. The Civil Air Patrol also had a few and there was a rumor that those airplanes might be sold to private individuals at some point. Interest was slowing picking up in the civilian market where the Dog's excellent flying characteristic and reasonable operating cost were beginning to cause some excitement. Phil found a tired old Bird Dog of his own and began a quality restoration. Before it was over, he not only had a Bird Dog to fly, but it was a show-stopper to boot!

Phil approached the Bird Dog's lack of notoriety with the same intensity. An organization was formed, the International Bird Dog Association (IBDA) and in 1984, Phil published the first issue of The Observer, a newsletter dedicated exclusively to the Bird Dog enthusiast. It contained a mixture of war stories, technical tips, and classified advertisements. Little by little, it caught on. It was appreciated by Bird Dog pilots and military aviation students alike and became the focus for a growing number of fans for this unsung little hero.

After serving the interests of this group for several years, Phil found that his business career was taking more and more time. Unfortunately, Phil's responsibilities forced the IBDA into an early retirement...until now.

The IBDA is back! Through the efforts of Mitch Leland and the BowWow website, the IBDA is poised once again serve as a focal point of interest in this wonderful piece of flying history. Frank Vranicar recognized the value of the work that Mitch had done in developing a Bird Dog web page. Never being one to wait for someone else to make things happen, Frank gathered up a contingent of Bird Dog folks at the annual Liaison fly-in in Keokuk, Iowa in 1998. All present agreed that the time had come to resurrect the IBDA. This informal meeting was followed by phone calls and more discussion. The result? After considerable encouragement, Mitch Leland agreed to become president of the new IBDA and to place his website at the disposal of the Association.

With the 50th Reunion/Anniversary event behind us we feel strongly about our future. We had 46 Birddogs on the ramp at KAM and over 250 people at our awards banquet. It was a great event that we'll all remember.

 

As a member of the International Bird Dog Association, you'll be supporting the preservation and enjoyment of the Bird Dog. You'll have special access to the member resources found on this website, including hard to find technical and authenticity information, history, Bird Dog photos, and more. You'll be able to network with Bird Dog pilots, owners and enthusiasts, from all over the world.

Joining the IBDA is easy, and the yearly dues are very reasonable at only $30.

Go to a printable application form. When you've finished printing the form, click on the "BACK" button at the top of your browser to return to this page.

For more information about the IBDA, contact Monte Bowe - Director of membership

 


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