Hapkido Online

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Aviation: Were Cessna's ever Cool?

The Ubiquitous Cessna 172

Ever walked up to the ramp and looked at the planes that are tied down?  Your eye usually roams right over the Cessna's. Maybe it will be drawn to the Grumman Tiger or perhaps a Taylorcraft. Only rarely will you just stop and say 'Look a Cessna!'  I think Cessna is a victim of its own success.  In fact they have grown from a brand of aircraft to something generic.  If you point to any small aircraft flying overhead and ask a non-flier what it is they will undoubtedly answer 'it's a Cessna'.

I have said on here before that Cessna's don't stir my blood.  They look kind of boring to me.  Furthermore the new ones are way expensive.  All this being said I have more hours logged in Cessna's and Pipers than just about any other aircraft.  What can I say? Cessna's are what's available most of the time.

Is the Cessna an aircraft for the next century?  The only sane answer is yes.  It will endure even if the company goes under and why?  Well it's common.  If an asteroid struck the earth and wiped out 99% of all life what would be left; cockroaches, rat's, and weeds.  Why? Well they are common, like Cessna's.  Does the Cessna deserve my respect?  Well yes it does deserve my respect, it's a solid, reliable aircraft and has taught more fliers than any other.  Do I like to admit this?  No, not really.

So I ask again, Were Cessna's ever cool?  I think yes that SOME varieties of Cessna are cool and furthermore worthy of mention.

Cessna 152 Aerobat

The Cessna 152 Aerobat has always been a favorite of mine.  It's kind of like when someone like Carol Shelby takes an ordinary Mustang and works his performance magic with it.  As much as I like the Shelby Mustang I love the Cessna 152 Aerobat.  What separates an A152 from the typical 152?  Well at first glance you will notice the factory has given it a special red, white and blue checkerboard paint scheme.  They have beefed up the airframe to withstand +6/-3 G's.  The Aerobat also comes standard with four point harnesses for pilot and passenger.  Other goodies include skylight, jettisonable doors, and removable seat cushions for folks wearing parachutes.  This wolf in sheep's clothing sports the Lycoming O-235-L2C with 110-hp.  The Aerobat is CERTIFIED to perform chandelles, barrel rolls, snap rolls, loops, spins, aileron rolls, Cuban eights, stalls (no not whip stalls) and the beloved Immelmann turn.  Unfortunately Cessna in their infinite wisdom only built about 300 Aerobats.  I suspect a liability lawyer somewhere is responsible for this idiocy.  Cessna if you are out there listening start building the Aerobat again and earn back your cool points!

Cessna 195

What other Cessna's are cool?  Well any Cessna with conventional gear (tail dragger).  I am particularly fond of the Cessna 195.  It get's cool points for many reasons.  One, it's a tail dragger.  Two, it is an antique.  Three, it has a radial engine.  Are you listening Cessna?  This stuff is cool, don't you want to be cool?

What is not cool.  What is not cool seems to be what Cessna has decided to sell for the last 30 years.  The same bland 172 with ever more expensive engines and avionics.  Glass cockpits are not cool.  Gizmo's do not make the plane!  Painting the swoop differently this year is not cool either.

Cessna Corvalis

In recent years Cessna has released the Skycatcher and the Corvalis.  These are high end aircraft very much in the grain of the Lancair.  Cool?  Maybe, I am on the fence.  I tell you what though, they are expensive.  Cessna you have given us the Ford Taurus of airplanes for years and years.  I suspect Cessna like most aircraft manufacturers have seen their numbers fall.  This is because nobody wants a Ford Taurus and especially if it costs as much as a Ferrari.

Cessna this author represents the pilots, are you listening?  Give us a plane that costs less than a KIA and is so much fun we never want to land.  Make it a tail dragger and I will eat every word I have written here with a big slice of humble pie.


Works Cited: