Bit of Cessna nostalgia and sunset over the Rockies

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I know Cessna aircraft have a passionate following - in RW and in the SIM. My personal SIM experience had started, when I'd pushed the throttles on my Saitek controller making the default Cessna-172 of FS2004 (A Century of Flight) to roll with what I'd considered a heart-stopping thunder of the engine! So, in a way, just as most RW pilots probably got their exposure to real flight via a Cessna, for me Cessna was also the first exposure to what I came to know as an "aircraft" - in the SIM world! However, until recently, I had not known much of the entrepreneur, Clyde Cessna, from Kansas, who had started it all. In 1911, Clyde Cessna built his first airplane, which he named "Silverwing", from spruce and linen, with a 40-hp 2-stroke/4-cylinder engine. His first 13 attempts to fly it ended in some kind of failure e.g. the first attempt ended in a ground-loop, which (reportedly) required "$100" to repair. On his 13th attempt, his aircraft (successfully) bounced up into the air for a short time before crashing into the trees. He is then reported to have exclaimed in frustration,"I'm going to fly this thing, then I'm going to set it afire and never have another thing to with aeroplanes!". Fortunately, he changed his mind, and the rest is history...

Here, for a bit of nostalgic remembrance, I've picked one of the earliest Cessna aircraft, the Cessna C-37 Airmaster (a FW SIM model, thanks to David Wooster, and the only one I could find - could not find the earliest Airmaster which was actually C-34). The Airmaster is basically the aircraft that infused new life into the Cessna Company after the crash of the aviation industry during the Great Depression. Without this aircraft, who knows, the Cessna company may not have survived, and we may not be having the Cessnas of today, that we've grown to love.

Not long after the introduction of the first Airmaster C-34, in 1935, founder Clyde Cessna retired from the aviation industry (returned to a life of farming), leaving the company to his nephew Dwane Wallace, who is credited with the original design of the first Airmaster. Under Dwane's guidance, the Airmaster quickly progressed through C34->C37->C38->(C39=C145)->C165. However, at the the beginning of World War II, the Airmaster line came to an end. The welded tubular fuselage, fabric-covered body, extensive woodwork, and radial engines, all characteristic of 1930s-era aircraft technology, became too expensive and slow to produce. The old-style aircraft was quickly replaced with aircraft constructed from aluminum with strut braced wings first seen in the Cessna 120. However, Cessna 195, even though being a later Cessna design, and regarded as one of the finest classics ever built, is reminiscent (and evolution) of the old Airmaster design. Alabeo and Flysimware have SIMs for C195, if you wish to explore this old-classic-style Cessna design.

Please find below, some pictures of the Cessna C-37, in a dusk flight from Denver (KDEN) north towards the (small) Christmas Field Airport (CO55) - skirting the foothills of the Rockies on the eastern front. And, maybe, when we now fly our latest fastest (or slowest) Cessna, we should remember this humble beginning of the Cessna aircraft lineage. Thanks for viewing. [FW(C37)/MSE(CO)/REX]



















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Once more, hats off to you. Superb description and images to suit. I will be PM-ing you re:that PBY Catalina okay.

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