N65809, a 1943 UC-78 painted to represent an AT-8, and
owned at the time by Ron Huckins.
(Photo source unknown. Please contact us if you deserve credit.)
History: First flown in 1939, the Cessna T-50
was that companys bid for a successful five-seat commercial transport typical of
many other aircraft built in the late thirties. While the wings and tail unit were wood,
the fuselage was a welded steel-tube design with fabric over wooden skinning. A low-wing
cantilever monoplane, it featured a unique retractable tailwheel and wing trailing-edge
flaps, both electrically actuated.
The need for a training plane to help pilots convert from
single to twin-engine aircraft enabled Cessna to sell 550 aircraft for this purpose to
Canada (Under the designation Crane), followed by 33 T-50s
to the U.S. Army Air Corps under the designation AT-8. In 1942,
the USAAF felt the T-50s would work well as light personnel transports and for
liaison/communication. 1,287 AT-17 Bobcats (later designated as UC-78s)
were delivered and served in all theaters of war. Not to be outdone, the U.S. Navy in
1942-43 purchased 67 planes, which they designated JRC-1s, to
ferry pilots between delivery ports and transport navy pilots to new duty stations. The
T-50 served in these various roles for several years after the war. Over two dozen Bobcats
still roam the skies of the USA, Canada, and Australia/New Zealand.
Nicknames: The Bamboo Bomber;
Useless-78, The Wichita Wobbler; Brasshat; Double-Breasted Cub; Boxkite; Rhapsody in Glue;
San Joaquin Beaufighter
Engines: Two 245-hp Jacobs R-755-9 radial piston engines
Weight: Empty 3,500 lbs., Max
Takeoff 5,700 lbs.
Wing Span: 41ft. 11in.
Length: 32ft. 9in.
Height: 9ft. 11in.
Range: 750 miles
Number Built: ~5400 of all models
Number Still Airworthy: ~25
UC-78 Bobcat page
Museum of Naval Aviation: Bamboo Bomber page
Rag Wings and Radials -- Operators
of a UC-78
USAF Museum UC-78B
[ UC-78 / T-50
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Doublestar Group, unless otherwise noted.
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