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And Then This Happened Aviation Breakthroughs/Oddities/Milestones: Cessna Single-Engine Evolution: 30 Years Of Magic

The progress of technology, materials and propulsion is only a small part of how over three decades Cessna evolved the concept of the small single-engine plane into a lineup of a dozen all-time classics.


The company Clyde Cessna founded in 1927, Cessna Aircraft, has been selling planes for 93 years now, but almost all of its single-engine magic was conjured up during a period that started in the early 1950s and effectively ended around 1968. During those 20-some-odd years, the world’s biggest little airplane company created a lineup of classic planes that fit the needs of just about every imaginable personal airplane flyer and a lot of commercial operators, as well. And along the way, there were very few missteps, and even some of those were failures of great ideas.

With that, let’s take a look at how a great company redefined the world of personal air transportation.

Cessna 150/152

Cessna 150/152

Cessna 150/152

It’s hard to believe that the nosewheel version of the Cessna 140 could become anything other than a forgettable staple of aviation’s past, but despite its small size and cozy seating, the 150 is not only one of the most-produced planes in history, it’s also one of the most important. While today the 172 is the most widely used trainer in the world, for decades that distinction went to the 150 and its successor, the 152, which were economical to buy, fly and fix. This magic formula, which has been nearly impossible to replicate in recent decades, allowed many tens of thousands of people to learn to fly, many of whom would be hard pressed to make it happen today. Cessna declined to reintroduce the 152 when it began building piston singles again in the early ’90s, though after the Skycatcher debacle, it probably wished that it had. First flight: 1977. Number built: 7,584. Status: Out of production.

This Incredible Plane: Cessna 140

This Incredible Plane: Cessna 152 Aerobat


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