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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 185

Cessna 185

Cessna 185 Skywagon

As far as the 185 is concerned, all that’s true for the 180 is true and then some for the light and rugged 185, which was one of Cessna’s longest-produced aircraft, getting its start in 1961 and continuing to be built until 1985. The 185 is powered by Continental six-cylinder engines, the 470 early on and, later, 520-series engines of up to 300-hp, giving it a payload of around 1,400 pounds. Because of their capacity and power, 185s are popular floatplanes. First flight: July 1960. Number built: More than 4,400. Status: Out of production.

Flickr User Eric Salard

This Incredible Plane: Cessna 140

This Incredible Plane: Cessna 152 Aerobat


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