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Clyde Cessna and the Cessna Aircraft Company

Clyde Cessna and the Cessna Aircraft Company, Clyde Cessna and the Aircraft Brand that Bears his Name

Image by www.firstflight.org

Born 5 December 1879 in Hawthorne, Iowa, Clyde Vernon Cessna was both a distinguished aviator and aviation pioneer. His name had been synonymous with aircraft designs which comprised the majority of piston-powered general aviation aircraft in the market to date aside from its line of light and medium-sized executive business jets.

An unspoken farmer from Rago, Kansas Clyde Cessna had tried various jobs from the farm as a threshing-machine operator to being a car salesman and had a change of heart to devote his time in aviation the moment he saw a flying circus in 1911 while in Oklahoma. His drive to learn about flying was fuelled by the fact that pilots of that period were paid some $1,000 per show, the drive became a passion and in the end he learned more than flying and even building the aircraft that he would fly and soon sell to the world.

Image by www.kshs.org 

Clyde Cessna built his own monoplane in 1911 eight years after the Wright Brothers which may have been a great influence why he took learning to fly on his own by trial and error. Starting a shop to concentrate on building and improving his aircraft designs, the Exhibition Flying at state fairs and public celebrations became his testing ground for his ideas, a dream that once caught his enthusiasm to join the trade. His designs had greatly improved starting 1917 when four of his monoplane models were utilized for pilot training. Eight years later, his role in the founding of the Travel Air Manufacturing Company along with Walter Beech and Lloyd Stearman became another highlight in his aviation career which produced two more prototypes that set records in 1927. That same year he left the Travel Air as president to focus on the cantilever wing design founding the Cessna Aircraft Company.

The Great Depression of the 1930s made an impact to Cessna’s struggling company that brought its closure but with his son, Eldon’s effort it was re-established as Cessna Aeroplane Company in partnership with shareholders. The new company produced successful racing aircraft designs, the CR-1, CR-3 and the C-34 that ruled at the National Air Races in 1936.

Clyde sold his company to nephews Dwane and Dwight Wallace agreeing to act as consultant afterwards. Returning to his simple life in farming, he devoted his later years with his wife residing at his farm in Rago, Kansas where it all began and where he resided after his marriage in 1905. A man of simple visions and accomplished dreams, Clyde Cessna died in 1954 at the age of 74. Here was a former farmer that would leave his family name to nearly half of general aviation aircraft flying to date, Cessna.

 

The Cessna Logo as it appears today by www.atalink.org

Cessna Aircraft merged with General Dynamics in 1985 and was sold to Textron Inc. in 1992 but the Cessna logo remains in honor of the man who made it all possible after starting things out by the way each of us probably knew but with some daring to do, trial and error.

References:

http://www.cessna.com/CessnaHistory/His/History-1927-1939.html

APA Style:   Cessna, Clyde Vernon. (2011). Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Ultimate Reference Suite.  Chicago: Encyclopædia Britannica.

http://www.wingsoverkansas.com/profiles/article.asp?id=70

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clyde_Vernon_Cessna

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Comments (12)

Good to info about Cessna, kabayan, salamat.

Interesting and well presented presentation.Thanks

Very interesting Will.

Fascinating, educational and very well writen article. I often marveled about this man's ability and I am so glad to have read this from you about the Cessna. Voted up.

Thanks a lot for the reactions everyone.

Neat article. All my life I've had relatives and friends who were private pilots, so I have heard the name Cessna forever, yet I never knew this history.

Never knew this bio and history, thanks Will.

Well done. Voted you up.

interesting history of aircraft company. voted up!

I loved this! I didn't know anything about the man and it's good to know he rose from humble beginnings. A truly great article, deep :D

Really nice share and some very interesting facts about Clyde Cessna. Thanks for sharing. Voted up!

Very informative post. You really are Number 1 Expert on this theme, Will.

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