The Cessna T-41 Mescalero is a military version of the popular Cessna 172, operated by the United States Air Force and Army, as well as the armed forces of various other countries as a pilot training aircraft.[1][2]

Design and development

In 1964, the US Air Force decided to use the off-the-shelf Cessna 172F as a lead-in aircraft for student pilots rather than starting them out in the T-37 jet aircraft. The USAF ordered 237 T-41As from Cessna. The first USAF class (67-A) of students began training on the T-41 from the civilian airport in Big Spring, Texas, in August 1965.[1][2]

The T-41B' was the US Army version, with a 210 hp (160 kW) Continental IO-360 engine and constant-speed propeller in place of the 145 hp (108 kW) Continental O-300 and 7654 fixed-pitch propeller used in the 172 and the T-41A.[3][4][5]

In 1968, the US Air Force acquired 52 of the more powerful T-41Cs, which used 210 hp (160 kW) Continental IO-360 and a fixed-pitch climb propeller, for use at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs.[1][2]

In 1996, the aircraft were further upgraded to the T-41D, which included an upgrade in avionics[1] and to a constant-speed propeller.

Beginning in 1993, the United States Air Force replaced many of the T-41 fleet with the Slingsby T-3A Firefly for the flight screening role, and for aerobatic training, which was outside the design capabilities of the T-41. The T-3A fleet was indefinitely grounded in 1997 and scrapped in 2006 following a series of fatal accidents at the United States Air Force Academy.[2][6]

The Air Force now trains all prospective USAF pilots and navigators-nee-combat systems officers through a civilian contract with DOSS Aviation known as Initial Military Flight Screening which makes use of the Diamond DA20. This program is conducted for USAF line officer accession programs (e.g., USAFA, AFROTC, OTS), with said training taking place after these officers have been commissioned as second lieutenants. It is also conducted for USAF officers at the first lieutenant and captain level selected for flight training after an assignment as a nonaeronautically-rated officer.[7]

Four T-41s remain at the Air Force Academy to support certain academic classes, as well as the USAFA Flying Team.[8]

A number of air forces, including Saudi Arabia and Singapore, purchased various civilian models of the Cessna 172 for use in military training, transport, and liaison roles. While similar to the T-41, these aircraft were not T-41s and were powered by the standard 172 powerplants available in the model year purchased. These included the 145 hp (108 kW) Continental O-300 in pre-1968 aircraft and the 150 and 160 hp (120 kW) Lycoming O-320 in later 172s.[3]


Argentine Army Cessna T-41D Mescalero
United States Air Force version of the Cessna 172F for undergraduate pilot training, powered by 145 hp Continental O-300,[3] 211 built
United States Army version of the Cessna R172E for training and liaison duties, powered by 210 hp Continental IO-360,[4] 255 built[5]
A version of the T-41B for use by the USAF Academy, powered by 210 hp Continental IO-360,[4] 52 built
A version of the T-41B for export under the Military Aid Program with 28V electrical system and simplified equipment, powered by 210 hp Continental IO-360,[4] 238 built, first T-41D delivered to the Philippine Air Force in 1968[9]


Cessna T-41B of the Republic of Korea
 Dominican Republic
 El Salvador
 Khmer Republic
Laos Kingdom of Laos
  • Paraguayan Air Force (5× T-41B)
 South Korea
 South Vietnam
 United States

Aircraft on display

United States

Specifications (T-41C)

Data from Global Security[1]

General characteristics

  • Crew: one or two
  • Length: 26 ft 11 in (8.21 m)
  • Wingspan: 35 ft 10 in (10.92 m)
  • Height: 8 ft 10 in (2.69 m)
  • Wing area: 159 ft² (14.8 m²)
  • Empty weight: 1,363 lb (618 kg)
  • Loaded weight: 2,500 lb (1,134 kg)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Continental IO-360-D, 210 hp (160 kW)


See also

Related development
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era


  1. ^ a b c d e Pike, John (April 2005). "T-41A/C Mescalero". Retrieved 2008-05-13. 
  2. ^ a b c d United States Air Force (March 1998). "Broad Area Review of the Enhanced Flight Screening Program". Archived from the original on 2008-04-11. Retrieved 2008-05-13. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Taylor, John: Jane's Pocket Book of Military Transport and Training Aircraft, page 67. Macmillan Publishing Inc., 1974. Library of Congress 73-15288
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r Krivinyi, Nikolaus: World Military Aviation, page 148. Arco Publishing Co, 1977. ISBN 0-668-04348-2
  5. ^ a b WarbirdFlight.Net (2007). "T-41B". Archived from the original on 2009-08-21. Retrieved 2008-05-13. 
  6. ^ Pike, John (September 2006). "T-3A Firefly". Retrieved 2008-05-13. 
  7. ^ DOSS Aviation (2007). "About Doss IFS". Retrieved 2008-05-13. 
  8. ^ USAFA. "United States Air Force Academy Aircraft". Retrieved 2008-05-13. 
  9. ^ Sheil/Forsgren/Little 1976, p. 76
  10. ^ "Khmer Air Force History". aeroflight.co.uk. Retrieved 6 March 2016. 
  11. ^ a b Araneta, Macon Ramos (August 2008). "Air Force acquires 15 planes". Retrieved 2008-09-15. 
  12. ^ a b Sheil/Forsgren/Little 1976, pp. 91-92
  13. ^ http://www.flightglobal.com/airspace/media/reports_pdf/world-air-forces-2013-101015.aspx
  14. ^ Niles, Rick. "Our Fleet". Retrieved 2009-06-15. 
  15. ^ "Aircraft". Jax Navy Flying Club. Archived from the original on 2012-10-07. Retrieved 2012-11-05. 
  16. ^ "Cessna T-41C Kirtland Flight Center". Retrieved 2017-12-27. 
  17. ^ Patuxent River Navy Flying Club. "Aircraft". Archived from the original on April 4, 2009. Retrieved 2009-08-05. 
  18. ^ ( Eglin Aero Club. "Aircraft". Retrieved 2011-02-13. 
  19. ^ ( Travis Aero Club. "Aircraft/Rates". Archived from the original on 2011-04-25. Retrieved 2011-04-30. 
  20. ^ Gross, Tyler (August 25, 2010). "Construction of Vance's air park nears completion". Vance Air Force Base. Oklahoma. Retrieved 30 August 2016. 
  21. ^ "Airframe Dossier - Cessna T-41A Mescalero, s/n 65-5168 USAF". Aerial Visuals. AerialVisuals.ca. Retrieved 30 August 2016. 
  22. ^ "Airframe Dossier - Cessna172 / T-41 Mescalero, s/n 65-5226 USAF, c/r N5226F". Aerial Visuals. AerialVisuals.ca. Retrieved 30 August 2016. 
  23. ^ "Cessna T-41A Mescalero". National Museum of the US Air Force. Retrieved 30 August 2016. 
  24. ^ Kimberly, Wright (October 29, 2010). "OTS salutes heritage with T-41 display". Maxwell Air Force Base. Alabama. Retrieved 30 August 2016. 
  25. ^ "Maxwell AFB, AL T-41 OTS Display". Warbird Information Exchange. phpBB Group. Retrieved 30 August 2016. 
  • Walt Shiel; Jan Forsgren; Michael Little (2006). T-41 Mescalero: The Military Cessna 172. ISBN 978-0-9746553-3-8. 

External links