1/72 Cessna Bulldog

Gallery Article by 63CPE on Jan 3 2017

Silly Week 2017



In the early 50-ies Helio corporation developed the Courier (knows as U-10 or Super Courier) and started the development of the U-5 or Twin Courier in the early 60-ies as the CIA had immediate needs for an rugged 4-6 seat C/STOL aircraft service in south-east asia for their Air America services. 

Sadly Helio ran out of money and the Twin Courier project was terminated although the aircraft structure was later developed in the Helio Stallion, a single-engine turboprop version of the more successful Helio Courier.

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As, in nature, Cessna heard of the financial difficulties of Helio and the urgent requirements from the CIA and threw in their proposal the Cessna Bulldog as it was called by the Cessna employees. This design was not entirely new. To keep the development costs low and the development fast the fuselage of the L-19/ O-1 Bird Dog was slightly altered by adding an new more efficient and STOL capable wing. Like the Twin Courier twin Lycoming engines were mounted on top of the high-set wing, close to the fuselage. [1]  With the engines mounted in this manner, lateral and over-the-nose visibility were much improved while the propellers were kept clear of cabin doors and away from possible debris damage during rough field operations. This was a tail-wheel design, so the vertical component of propeller thrust assisted STOL take-off performance from rough fields. Also the tail section was changed and the seat capability was enlarged to accommodate 3 to 4 passengers.

The CIA officials approved the low rate initial production for ten airframes. Soon testing began and proved the Bulldog C/STOL capable, overpowered but too small for the required needs. Cessna hastily proposed an armed version with FLIR turret, miniguns and rocket pods but to no avail. Cessna soon realized it needed an all new designed airframe to keep the military customers satisfied. This situation started the development of the O-2 Skymaster.

According to Cessna’s administration all Bulldogs were tested in the US although sources mentioned there was at least one airframe tested in Southeast Asia as one was lost in an crash over the Laotian jungle.

Ok, It’s actually an mix of the 1/72 Airfix O-1 Bird Dog fuselage found in the parts bin. Engine clipped and faired over with OV-10 extreme nose. Wings and tailsection came from 1/200 Heller Transall (way too thick cross section). Engines came from Zvezda’s Disney’s “rochelle”-model. 

The complete album is to be found here:

I hope you like it.

63CPE aka David

Photos and text © by 63CPE