What is the history behind Cessna airplanes?


Quick Answer

The history of Cessna airplanes began with Clyde Cessna, who first tried to establish the aircraft business in Oklahoma but ended up moving to Kansas. Despite his efforts, he quit the aviation industry for good. It was his nephew, Dwane Wallace, who made Cessna into what it is. The company now operates under Textron Aviation.

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Full Answer

In June 1911, Clyde Cessna became the first person to build a powered aircraft between the Mississippi River and the Rocky Mountains. He began building aircraft in Oklahoma but could not secure funding there, so he moved to Kansas. In 1924, Cessna founded the Travel Air Manufacturing Co. Inc with Lloyd C. Stearman and Walter H. Beech. He served as the company's president for three years and founded his own business in 1927. He named his new company Cessna Aircraft Company.

However, the crash of the stock market greatly reduced his sales in 1929. Affected by the plummeting sales, the company's board of directors removed Cessna from office in 1931 and closed the factory. Clyde Cessna retreated to his farm in Rago and never returned to aviation.

In 1934, Dwane Wallace took control of the company and revitalized it. Cessna first introduced the 170 in 1948. The company then introduced a tricycle version of the plane in 1955 and called it Skyhawk. The plane became a great success, and Cessna built more than 1,400 Skyhawks in the plane's first year.

General Dynamics Corporation bought Cessna in 1985 and ceased the production of piston-engine models. Textron Aviation bought Cessna in 1992 and overturned General Dynamics' decision. In 2007, Cessna purchased Columbia Aircraft and began manufacturing some of its aircraft. The company is still active and operates under Textron Aviation. As of 2015, it produces citation business jets, caravan turboprops and single engine aircraft.

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