Cessna T-41A Mescalero
Single-engine four-seat pilot primary trainer cabin monoplane, U.S.A.

Archive Photos 1

Cessna T-41A "Mescalero" c.2001 at the National Museum of the United States Air Forced, WPAFB, Dayton, OH (Photos by John Shupek)

Overview 2, 4

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.

Design and Development 2, 4

In 1964, the U.S. 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 Cessna T-37 jet aircraft. The USAF ordered 237 Cessna T-41As from Cessna. The first USAF class (67-A) of students began training on the Cessna T-41 from the civilian airport in Big Springs, TX in August 1965.

The Cessna T-41B was the U.S. 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 Cessna 172 and the Cessna T-41A.

In 1968, the U.S. Air Force acquired 52 more powerful Cessna T-41Cs, which used 210 hp (160 kW) Continental IO-360 and a fixed-pitch climb propeller, for use at the Air Force Academy (USAFA) in Colorado Springs.

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

Beginning in 1993, the United States Air Force replaced much of the Cessna 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 Cessna T-41. The Slingsby 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.

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 non-aeronautically rated officer.

Four Cessna T-41s remain at the Air Force Academy in order to support certain academic classes as well as the USAFA Flying Team.

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 Cessna T-41, these aircraft were not Cessna T-41s and were powered by the standard Cessna 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 hp and 160 hp (120 kW) Lycoming O-320 in later Cessna 172s.

Variants 2, 4

Operators 2, 4

1971 Cessna T-41A Mescalero Specifications and Performance Data 2




Tail Unit

Landing Gear

Power Plant



Electronics and Equipment

Dimensions, External


Weights and Loadings

Performance at Maximum T-O Weight


  1. Shupek, John. Photos by John Shupek, Copyright © 2001 Skytamer Images (Skytamer.com). All Rights Reserved
  2. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Cessna 172
  3. Taylor, John W.R.. Jane’s All The World’s Aircraft 1976-77. Cessna: Cessna Skyhawk/ T-41 Mescalero, New York: Jane’s Yearbooks/Franklin Watts Inc., 1976, ISBN 0-531 03260 4, p 255.
  4. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Cessna T-41 Mescalero

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