More than eight decades ago, a small aircraft company started in Wichita, Kansas with a plan to produce and sell a safe and affordable plane that would allow anyone to learn how to fly.
Clyde Cessna, a farmer in Kansas, built his aircraft and flew it in June 1911. When bankers refused to lend him more money to expand his business and produce his planes, he decided to move to Wichita. For a big part of the 20th century, Cessna was one of the highest-volume producers of general aviation aircraft in the world.
Cessna Aircraft was formed when Clyde Cessna and Victor Roos became partners and created Cessna-Roos Aircraft Company in 1927. But only one month into the partnership, Roos resigned and sold back his interest to Cessna.
The company was purchased by General Dynamics in 1985, then by Textron, Inc., in 1992. In March 2014, when Textron purchased the Beechcraft and Hawker Aircraft corporations, Cessna ceased operations as a subsidiary company and joined the others as one of the three distinct brands produced by Textron Aviation.
During its history, especially after WW II, Cessna became best known for producing high-wing small aircraft with wings placed above the main body of the plane. This structural feature is still an iconic distinction among planes being manufactured under the Cessna brand.
Cessna returned to commercial production in 1946 with the release of the Model 120 and Model 140. They introduced a new line of all-metal aircraft that used production tools, jigs and dies, rather than the hand-built tube-and-fabric construction process used before the war.
The Cessna 172 was introduced in 1956. It became the most-produced airplane in history. During the post-World War II era, Cessna was known as one of the “Big Three” in aviation aircraft manufacturing, together with Piper and Beechcraft.
The Cessna 152 was introduced in 1977 as an update to the popular 150 model. The biggest change was the addition of a more powerful engine, which made the aircraft more capable and reliable. Over the years, the 152 has become one of the most popular training aircraft in the world. It is known for its docile flying characteristics and forgiving nature.
More Cessna 172 Skyhawks have been sold than any other aircraft, period. This four-seat, single-engine, high wing personal aircraft has been sold more than 43,000 times and is still in production today.
Reliable, affordable, and stable, the Skyhawk is the staple plane of flight training schools everywhere. Its modest performance and longevity creates the ideal mode of transportation for private pilots across the globe. Skyhawk’s success drove the Cessna Aircraft Company to domination in the light aircraft market.
Thanks to Cessna’s innovative designs and commitment to quality, flying a plane is now within reach of everyone who has ever dreamed of taking to the skies.