Cessna has a rich history as one of the most popular small aircraft manufacturers of all time. So as a company, it has been key to the development of general aviation for nearly a century. Today, we’ll look at the wonderful history of Cessna Aircraft.
Cessna Aircraft Company History:
Cessna – Clyde Developmental Years
Cessna named lyde Cessna after its founder. When he was two years old, his father migrated the family farm from a small southwestern Iowa town to Rago, Kansas. Clyde learned to repair and continue improving machinery like tractors and automobiles as he grew up, tending to crops and livestock. Cessna was a brilliant engineer despite only receiving formal qualifications up to the fifth grade. Finally, the hard-working spirit he developed since helping on the farm pursued him throughout his career and the early years of Cessna Aircraft.
The First Monoplanes of Clyde Cessna
Cessna Aircraft Company had moved from Kansas to Enid, Oklahoma, by the age of 30, a town he would soon put on the map. At the time, the potential aircraft designer worked in the automobile sector, selling and repairing cars. But he was attracted by this modern concept of flying, especially after as the motivation for the creation of Cessna Aircraft.
He left his position in automobiles after gaining knowledge of how much money airplane barnstormers made. And used the payout to fund a different project. People will indeed pay a premium to see an airplane in action, zipping around the sky, because they were such a novelty in the early 1900s. Clyde Cessna couldn’t prevent the allure of thousands of dollars and aviation fame. He briefly migrated to New York, where he worked at Queen Aeroplane Company, trying to perfect his already mechanically inclined skills. Soon after, he paid $7,500 for a Moisant Blériot airplane kit and began assembling it home. Cessna built the monoplane from light spruce wood and fine linen. It was a two-stroke, four-cylinder 50-hp Elbridge modified boat motor.
In 1911, Cessna reputedly tested his new aircraft, lovingly called “Silverwing,” on Oklahoma’s flat, barren Great Salt Plains. Crowds would gather to watch him probably attempt to get his monoplane off the ground. Remember that the Wright Brothers had achieved aircraft for the first time just a decade before, so there was still room for improvement. The maiden flight was, expectedly, a disaster for an inexperienced Cessna. The plane maintained extensive, costly damage, and audience members dismissed Silverwing as nothing more than a novelty. But that wasn’t going to suddenly stop the man from trying again. He repeatedly brought his monoplane to the Great Salt Flats and failed to take off a dozen times.
Cessna’s Silverwing finally left the ground on the 13th attempt, though it crashed into the brush. By June of that year, Cessna had completed his first successful flight, earning him the nickname “Birdman of Enid”. Also gained some regional notoriety for his piloting abilities. By December, Cessna had built his reputation to the point where he could take off and land on a five-mile flight, making him the first individual to fly between the Mississippi River and the Rocky Mountains.
Cessna Aircraft Company was founded.
After a series of successful flights, Clyde Cessna started work on several new monoplanes, which he showcased at various exhibitions, fairs, and barnstorming events to help finance his operation. He was pretty shortly earning hundreds of dollars per show, enough to finance his manufacturing vision. In 1916, he and his brother established the Cessna Aircrafts Exhibition Company and hired factory space in the Jones Motor Car plant in Wichita. This location also accommodated one of the Midwest’s first flight schools. However, bad luck struck the following year when the United States began World War I. Fuel rationing and a draft had already put an end to any art show flying in the country.
With shrinking investor support and no money from the government, Clyde decided to close the business and decided to return to the family farm in Rago, Kansas in 1918. Nonetheless, the Cessna brothers created two semi-successful planes: an art show separate and a long-distance two-seater known as the “Comet,” able to fly from Oklahoma to New York. Even after having returned to his farm, Cessna waited patiently for such a war to end so he could return to the aviation world. In 1925, the Travel Air Manufacturing Company established Walter Beech and Lloyd Stearman.
With Cessna as president, the new company became one of the most popular aircraft brands in the world, establishing numerous distance and speed records. Unfortunately, Cessna’s committed commitment to the effective plan design would be the company’s undoing. Cessna left Travel Air Manufacturing Company only two years and started his own company.
Cessna-Roos Aircraft build in mid-1927 by Victor Roos an aircraft entrepreneur, but it only survived a few weeks. Cessna Aircraft Company officially registered in December of that year after Roos resigned. Despite constructing the A Series (also known as AWS), 4 high monoplanes, Cessna continued to struggle to bring efficient products to the market throughout the late 1920s.
Soon after, he created a more powerful BW series, which followed the 6 racer CW-6 and the DC-6 the following year. Finally, by 1930, he and his son Eldon had developed the CR series of racing airplanes. Despite the popularity, with top finishes in many competitive air races, Cessna would face much more turmoil over the next several years as a result of the Great Depression. The market crash had a significant impact on aircraft sales across the industry, prompting Cessna to declare bankruptcy and close the company in 1931.
Another horrible tragedy in Clyde Cessna’s life happened when a good friend and fellow pilot Roy Liggett died in a plane crash while flying his CR-2 racer. Just after this event, the founder of one of the world’s most influential aviation companies lost much of his real motive to carry on with his life’s work. Even though restarting his factory near the start of World War II, he sold the entire company to his nephews, Dwane and Dwight Wallace, in 1934. Cessna decided to participate in the company ceremonially but avoided day-to-day work until his death in the 1950s. His pioneering spirit, which had been present since the beginning, would, however, stay with the company in the future.
Cessna’s New Creation in WWII
Clyde Cessna’s younger nephew, Dwane Wallace, graduated from Wichita Graduated with a bachelor’s in aeronautical engineering in 1933 and went to work for Beech Aircraft Company Because that occupied a section of the abandoned Cessna factory, an opportunity arose when Beech decided to move back to his factory. Together with his brother Dwight, he compelled their uncle to reopen his when first airplane manufacturing plant. The brothers oversaw the design and development of a new model of aircraft, the C-34 Airmaster, as company officers. Dwane Wallace formed the design, which included cantilever wings, a four-seat cabin, and a 145-hp piston engine. With the plane’s popularity at the view to promotion across the United States, this new model helped Cessna get back on its feet.
Cessna built its first official twin-engine aircraft, the T-50 Bobcat, in the stream to World War II, with the Wallace brothers at the helm. The plane had been designed and developed in just nine months to meet military orders. The T-50 served as a significant training aircraft for new pilots in both the United States and Canada. Due to the obvious war effort, Cessna’s huge way from a few hundred to over 1,500 employees in just two years. By 1941, the company’s product line had expanded and included cargo planes and troop light aircraft in addition to trainer planes. WWII offered Cessna with plenty of work, resulting in a tenfold increase in manufacturing size and a workforce of over 6,000 employees. However, by the 1950s, with the war out, military contracts were fixed, and it was time for the Wallaces to pivot the business.
Cessna 172 and Business Jets are introduced.
During the period of the pre-War II business boom, there was growing pressure on industry aircraft. With supply scarcity, Cessna decided to join the market, launching the Cessna 310 model in 1954, a plane specifically developed for executives. Synchronously, the company launched the T-37, a small jet trainer for the Air Force. In 1959, the Cessna Model 150 was another huge milestone. This was Cessna’s first and only, 100-horsepower aircraft, which was also an absolute favorite among flight schools. However, the introduction of the Cessna 172 in 1956 would elevate the company into the “Big Three,” along with Beechcraft and Piper.
Through the late 1960s, the company was making over 3,000 aircraft per year while also accumulating several companies such as Aircraft Radio Corporation and Reims Aviation. They also accomplished milestones such as the rollout of their first agriculture-class aircraft and the 411 cabin-class plane. They have therefore officially reinforced their position in the business aviation market. Following the arrival of several brands into the corporate jet market, also including Lear, Beechcraft, and Mooney, Cessna decided to respond with its first corporate jets, the Publication date, and Conquest. Generate profits speaking for a home run. These two planes would become one of the company’s best-performing designs through the time Dwane Wallace stepped down as chairman and was replaced by Russell Meyer in 1975. This resulted in the sector being the largest a billion dollars and a market share of 54 percent by 1980.
Consolidations and Upcoming Branding
Developing an aircraft manufacturing company isn’t cheap, as Cessna established the hard way. By 1985, General Dynamics, a defense contractor reduced reserves and costs skyrocketed. The collaborative effort benefited both companies, with Cessna having provided engineering for missile defense systems and General Dynamics providing financial protection and business experience. It wasn’t hard before the two companies split up, and by 1992, General Dynamics would have sold Cessna to Textron, the parent company of Bell Helicopter and Beechcraft.
Involvement and participation led the company to better outcomes with its line of business jets, including the Publications X, the world’s fastest corporate plane at the time. Once President Bill Clinton signed the General Aviation Reconstruction and rehabilitation Act of 1994, single-engine piston aircraft were reintroduced. CEO Russ Meyer was present for the signing and rapidly resumed plans for a piston aircraft line, which would include the Cessna model 172 and Cessna model 182. Because of its different product offerings, Cessna remained the country’s largest private aircraft manufacturer as the millennium approached. Their new partnership with Textron continues to remain important to the company today, and they lead the pack as America’s best small aircraft company.
Is the Cessna aircraft still in deployment? Where They Are Now
Cessna particularly affected the Great Recession of 2008 after successfully navigating the early 2000s. Despite significant layoffs and budget cuts, they could not recover from the effects of the largest market crash since the 1930s. And, whereas they got through the Great Depression just fine, they weren’t so lucky this time. As a result, Textron Aviation acquired the company, and Cessna went out of business in 2014. The Cessna spirit and commercial success finally live on. In fact, not many pilots flying today haven’t logged some hours in a Cessna 172 Skyhawk, which Textron Aviation still manufactures.