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Clyde Cessna

Written by Daryl Murphy
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January 2005

The old saying, “You can take the boy out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the boy,” was certainly true of Clyde V. Cessna.

Raised in South Central Kansas, he soon learned how clever he was with mechanical devices and began working for an implement/auto dealer. Then he discovered a hidden talent for sales. Those two attributes led him to early success as an automobile dealer—until the day he discovered airplanes.

Smitten with the new flying machine, Cessna bought an early Bleriot XI replica and doggedly tried and tried until both he and the airplane learned to fly in 1911. Then he embarked on a career of exhibition flying, returning to the farm in the off-season to build an improved model of the machine for the next year.

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