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News & Events

KAC Finds L-19E Bird Dog For Barrett-Jackson Auction

NEW CENTURY, Kan. -- Kansas Aircraft Corporation teamed up with Cessna Aircraft Company and Okoboji Classic Cars to createa one-of-a-kind historical package for auction at the 43rd annual Barrett-Jackson auto auction. A restored Cessna L-19E Bird Dog and a Dodge M37 pickup will be auctioned in a live, televised, FOX network broadcast on Saturday, January 18 with proceeds to benefit the Armed Forces Foundation.

John, Dianne & Tim

“Kansas Aircraft is thrilled to contribute our expertise and knowledge to this unique project,” said Tim White, CEO and owner. “Our resources and relationships throughout the aviation industry were key to finding this unique aircraft. In January at Barrett-Jackson, someone is going home with an outstanding aircraft with the proceeds going to a fantastic cause.”

Plans to secretly acquire the ideal L-19 Bird Dog began last January at the 2013 Barrett-Jackson auction. Because of Kansas Aircraft’s deep knowledge and extensive network of aircraft owners, collectors and aficionados, Cessna asked the company to take the lead on finding the right Bird Dog. In addition, Kansas Aircraft’s involvement ensured the project remained a secret until Cessna revealed the final auction package this week.

Mike Lester, Kansas Aircraft’s manager of research & sales support, spent months researching the market and talking to L-19 owners. Because of the low number of aircraft remaining, the L-19 community is extremely tightknit with the International Bird Dog Association serving as a clearinghouse for information about the aircraft.

“Because the L-19 community is so close, it was important that we immerse ourselves and work with our current connections to find the right aircraft. L-19 owners are very proud of the aircraft’s history and are dedicated to preserving its legacy,” said Lester.

Relying on relationships built over years of working in the aircraft sales business, Lester and the Kansas Aircraft team located and successfully acquired a L-19E Bird Dog from Dr. Wallace Nelms of Wilson, N.C. John Young, Kansas Aircraft’s VP of jet sales, served as a liaison between Cessna and the seller, and helped orchestrate the final purchase and delivery of the aircraft to Cessna.  Young was also one of the original architects of the L-19 charity auction concept.

“To see this entire project come together is extremely rewarding. Barrett-Jackson is the ideal place to bring together this vintage warbird aircraft with this classic Dodge M37. I look forward to watching the auction unfold and seeing the results go to benefit the men and women who have served our country,” said Young.

Former owner Dr. Nelms, who plans to attend the Barrett-Jackson auction, added, “This aircraft was my pride and joy, so it was important to me that the aircraft end up in the right hands. When Kansas Aircraft revealed who the purchaser was and their intentions with the aircraft, it warmed my heart to know it will benefit such as great cause.”

Charity fundraising is a cornerstone of all Barrett-Jackson events. The proceeds from the L-19/M37 auction will support Armed Forces Foundation’s efforts to educate the public about the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury.

History of N711WN – L-19E Bird Dog

For the soldiers on the battlefield, the L-19 was their best friend. Known for its rugged design, short-field capabilities, and excellent payload, the Bird Dog saw action in the Korean and Viet Nam wars as a low-level reconnaissance aircraft. The L-19 was first built in 1950 at the behest of the U.S. Army, with approximately 3,400 manufactured over a 10-year period. The L-19 served in military forces around the world as well as domestic patrol and law enforcement roles. Today, with less than 140 still in airworthy condition, it is a highly desirable warbird and a fun aircraft to fly.

N711WN (Serial 24501) was manufactured in January 16, 1957 in Wichita, Kan., at Cessna’s Pawnee plant. It was the first serial number of a block of aircraft shipped to France, where it was used for training. The aircraft returned to the United States in 1984, and purchased by Dr. Wallace Nelms in 2005. The aircraft underwent extensive restoration from 2006 to 2008, returning the aircraft to authentic U.S. Army markings and decals and mil spec interior upholstery.

Following the restoration, the aircraft won the Phoenix Award at the 2008 Sun ‘N Fun air show. With less than 6,700 total hours on the airframe, this aircraft features munitions hard points, authentic comm antennas, 60-degree flaps, Whelen strobe lights, French vents, P. Ponk landing gear kit, and a classic Eisenhower step.  L-19s that have French training pedigree are usually more desirable aircraft as they typically have lower total time on the airframe.

This L-19E will celebrate its 56th birthday during the Barrett-Jackson auction event.


280 Gardner Drive – Suite 2, New Century, KS 66031 | 913.782.8212 | sales@kansasaircraft.com