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AT-17 “Bobcat”


  • Wing Span — 41'11"

  • Length — 32'9"

  • Height — 9'11"

  • Maximum Speed — 195 M.P.H. at Sea Level

  • Service Ceiling — 22,000 Ft.

  • Range — 869 Miles

  • Crew/Passengers — 1 or 2 crew, 4 passengers

  • Engines — 2 x 245 H.P. Jacobs R-775-9 radial engines

In 1939, the United States Army Air Corps published specifications for a light twin engine trainer. Cessna responded with its commercial model T-50. This de­sign was accepted by the Army Air Corps as the advance trainer AT-8. Later, in the early part of the war, upgraded engines were added on the produc­tion line. These models were designated AT-17's. Our "Bobcat" is the AT-17 navigator trainer version.

The "Bobcat" has a tubular steel frame fuselage and a wooden wing. Both are covered with dope and fabric. This earned the AT-17 the nickname of the "Bamboo Bomber:' Thirty-three AT-8s were built for the U.S. Army Air Corps, and production continued under the designation AT-17 reflecting a change in equipment and engine types.


In 1942, the U.S Army Air Force adopted the Bobcat as a light personnel transport and those delivered after January 1, 1943 were designated UC-78s. By the end of World War II, Cessna had produced more than 4,600 Bobcats for the U.S. military. The aircraft did not last long in North American post-war military service. Few (if any) Bobcats were in service with the United States Air Force when it was formed in September, 1947. Surviving military aircraft were declared obsolete in 1949. Dubbed the "Bamboo Bomber" by the pilots who flew them, it was one of the aircraft featured in the popular television series "Sky King" of early to mid-50s. The aircraft was replaced in later episodes by the T-50's successor, the all-metal Cessna 310

Slideshow of Restoration our AT-17 "Bobcat"

At Oshkosh 2013

Information based on, “Travis Heritage Center” by Nick Veronico, copyright Travis AFB Historical Society and Travis AFB Heritage Center Foundation.

This book is available from the Travis Heritage Center gift shop.

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