The AT-17 was a military version of the commercial Cessna T-50 light transport. The Cessna Airplane Company first produced the wood and tubular steel, fabric-covered T-50 in 1939 for the civilian market, as a lightweight and low cost twin for personal use where larger aircraft such as the Beech 18 would be too expensive. A low-wing cantilever monoplane, it featured retractable main landing gear and wing trailing-edge flaps, both electrically actuated. The wing structure was built up of laminated spruce spar beams with spruce and plywood ribs. The fixed tailwheel is non-steerable and full-swivelling. The prototype T-50 made its maiden flight on 26 March 1939.
Sky King was a 1940s and 1950s American radio and television adventure series featuring Arizona rancher and aircraft pilot Schuyler (or Skyler) "Sky" King. The series was likely based on a true-life person, Jack Cones, the Flying Constable of Twentynine Palms during the 1930's. Although it had strong cowboy show elements, King always captured criminals and even spies and found lost hikers using his plane. King's personal plane was called the Songbird. Though he changed from one plane to another over the course of the show, the later plane was not given a number (i.e., "Songbird II"), but was simply known as Songbird.