Plane & Pilot
Friday, February 1, 2008

Cessna 195: Getting Down To Business

Cessna’s postwar, art-deco Businessliner neither outsold nor outran the model 35 Bonanza, but it outclassed practically every other lightplane in the sky

cessnaThere’s no precise way to define taste, but it is possible to define class. Okay, perhaps class can also be difficult to define, but most of us feel it’s easy to recognize. To paraphrase a totally unknown art critic/congressman/pundit, “I can’t define class, but I know it when I see it.”
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Factory ComparisonCessna 195 Businessliner Cessna 195 Skywagon
Max Cruise Speed (kts.):
Climb Rate, SL (fpm):
Service Ceiling (ft.):
Takeoff Distance, 50 ft. (ft.):
Landing Distance, 50 ft. (ft.):
Gross Weight (lbs.):
Useful Load (lbs.):
Wing Loading (lbs./sq. ft.):
Power Loading (lbs./hp):
Fuel Capacity (gals.):
61 std., 80 l/r
Landing Gear Type:
Conv./Fixed Conv./Fixed
Seating Capacity:
Source: Jane’s All-The-World’s Aircraft and Intertec’s Aircraft Bluebook Price Digest.
Farrow flies his big Cessna regularly all over the Midwest. Just as with his Baron, he uses the airplane for corporate travel in pursuit of business for Snap-on Tools. “The company has a toolbox plant in Algona, Iowa, 50 miles from Mason City, and there’s no convenient airline service. With the 195, I fly out of my local airport near St. Louis and into the small, general-aviation Algona airport, do business, and I’m home for dinner.”

Farrow also makes the occasional weekend hamburger flight and regular vacation trips to the Bahamas. He’s an enthusiastic air-show fan, and that’s where we caught up with him, at the 2007 EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wis.

We jumped at the chance to fly Farrow’s near-perfect 195. Engine start is a little different from firing up a standard Continental or Lycoming. After all the usual preliminaries, you engage the starter, then flip the mag switch to “Batt” after six blades have rotated past. In typical radial style, the cylinders cough and sputter, voting on whether conditions are right to run, then gradually come on line until the “Shaky Jake” has all seven cylinders firing.

Actually, the Jacobs’ nickname seems inappropriate for the 195’s R755. This engine is generally remarkably smooth, turning only 2,200 rpm at redline. “Leaky Jake” might be a more appropriate moniker. It seems all radials leak oil, so much so that the R755 features a huge, five-gallon, dry-sump oil tank mounted just behind the instrument panel. (One peripheral benefit of this arrangement is that in frigid weather, you have five gallons of warm oil circulating through the forward cabin to help reduce the chill.)

Just as with turbines, insufficient battery power can result in a piston version of a “hot” start. If the engine backfires during start, not uncommon with Jacobs radials, you can wind up with an induction fire. Standard procedure is to continue cranking to suck the flames back into the engine. If your battery is low on volts and can’t continue to turn the starter, you could be in a bad situation.

cessna panelTaxiing to the runway is a little different in a 195 because the airplane is effectively blind on the right. Scrunch your head against the left sidewall and you have a semblance of visibility straight ahead, but S-turns are still mandatory because of the deck angle. The panel is so wide, you’d have to make radical left S-turns to see anything forward on the right. Some pilots prefer to make severe left turns to open up the view straight ahead.

You have the same problem on takeoff, but the tail comes up fairly quickly so you can see what you’re about to hit. The big wing levitates like an elevator rather than pitching up precipitously, and the airplane clears the ground at 1,000 fpm at Vy. Again, though, forward visibility is severely limited at such a pitch attitude, and most pilots, Farrow included, prefer to ascend at a cruise climb of 110 to 115 mph, usually worth 750 fpm.


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