Scott Kinney
Reims Aviation & the French Cessnas

Reims Aviation & the French Cessnas

 

A History of Cessna Aircraft’s Partnership in France.

The French city of Reims is best known to aviation historians for the Grande Semaine d’ Aviation de la Champagne, the first international airshow, held in August 1909. The Grande Semaine rivaled today’s EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, with some 500,000 visitors over the course of a week. The Grande Semaine featured air races and exhibition flights, and was considered by many to be a coming-out party for the commercial viability of heavier-than-air aviation.

Fifty years later, Reims was the site for another meeting of international aviation minds; this one would shape European General Aviation for several decades to come. 

Looking for opportunity

General Aviation was booming in the United States in the late 1950s. Cessna Aircraft Co. had emerged as a leader in the light aircraft market, riding the success of the Cessna 140 and 170 series into the even more popular Cessna 172. 

Cessna was looking to broaden its distribution outside the United States, and saw opportunity in the quickly-growing European General Aviation market. Cessna had established a dealer network abroad, but transportation costs and high tariffs made it difficult for Cessna to bring price-competitive products to Europe. 

Executives began the search for a European partner which could manufacture Cessna products under license. The ideal partner would have spare production capacity and a trained workforce to facilitate a rapid spool-up of production of Cessna-licensed aircraft. 

French aircraft manufacturer Societe Nouvelle des Avions Max Holste was founded in 1933 by engineer Max Holste. Avions Max Holste had produced several airplanes (both of their own design and on license) in the postwar years. However, it had not found a large market for its flagship Broussard series of turboprop transports and by the end of the 1950s, the company was facing financial trouble.

France was Europe’s most active country for General Aviation at the time, with more than 3,000 aircraft in the air. A partnership with Avions Max Holste made good sense for both sides. Cessna would gain access to a skilled workforce and manufacturing facilities in the heart of France; Avions Max Holste could delicately extract itself from its financial woes by spinning off its turboprop line to Nord Aviation, and focus on producing commercially-proven Cessna aircraft.

Negotiations were brief, spanning only a few meetings. A partnership agreement was signed February 16, 1960. The agreement was approved by the French government in May of the same year. Cessna would own a 49 percent share of a new company, Reims Aviation, with the shareholders of Avions Max Holste retaining the balance of ownership. At the time of the agreement, Reims had 280 employees. The name change became official in January 1962.

Reims Aviation was granted the sole franchise to produce Cessna products in Europe. Cessna promised Reims Aviation access to their existing Cessna International dealer network. 

To start, Reims would produce the Cessna 172 and 175. Other models would follow after the completion of the initial production run, which was slated to begin in 1963 with full production by 1964. 

The first models

Production started on time. The first Reims Cessna aircraft was completed in April 1963 and rolled off the line bearing serial number F1720001, with the F-prefix denoting an aircraft assembled in France. This “F” nomenclature carried through to the model number—the 172Ds produced by Reims would be the Reims Aviation F172D. 

The F172D was essentially a kit version of the Cessna 172D. All airframe parts were manufactured by Cessna in the United States and shipped to Reims for final assembly and paint. The engine was a 145 hp Continental O-300-D produced by Rolls-Royce in England. With the exception of their data plates and flight paperwork, the first 18 Reims F172Ds were identical to their U.S. counterparts.

 

The F172 was a hit, and production ramped up quickly. By the end of 1964, Reims Aviation had produced 100 F172s, and a dozen aircraft a month were leaving the small Reims factory.

At the same time, Cessna attempted to import the rebadged Cessna 175, known as the “Powermatic” P172D. The Powermatic featured a 175 hp Rolls-Royce Continental GO-300-E engine with a geared reduction drive and constant-speed propeller. The P172D was pulled from Cessna’s U.S. lineup in 1963; and only three FP172Ds left the Reims factory. 

Another P172D airframe was received by Reims and converted into a prototype for a military liaison light aircraft; powered by a Continental IO-360. This prototype, bearing the model designation FP172M, provided a proof-of-concept for the Cessna T-41B training aircraft, later produced in the United States for the U.S. Army. The FP172M project was abandoned.

The transition from kit assembler to manufacturer was rapid. Reims Aviation began to manufacture subassemblies in early 1964. Nearly all components for the F172 were being made in France by 1965. The Rolls-Royce Continental engine and spring steel landing gear were the only imported parts in 1965’s F172E models.

Though Reims was bound by agreement to make their aircraft parts-compatible with U.S.-manufactured Cessnas, Reims made small improvements in their assembly process. Most importantly, all aircraft leaving the Reims factory after mid-1964 were corrosion-proofed. 

Full production

Reims Aviation reached full production capacity in 1965. The F172’s price point (approximately $10,000) appealed to flight clubs and private owners. A French government program helped to boost sales—the program subsidized up to 50 percent of a French-built aircraft’s cost when purchased for flying club use. At the end of 1965, Reims was producing 15 F172s per month.

Even with brisk sales of the F172, Reims and Cessna saw additional opportunity in Europe. European customers clamored for a two-seat trainer: the Cessna 150. The model was extremely popular among U.S. customers. Cessna produced some 3,000 Cessna 150s in the United States in 1966 alone. However, tariffs and transportation costs made the F172 a cheaper option than an imported U.S.-made Cessna 150.

Plans were made to bring the Cessna 150 to Europe. Production of the F150 began in February 1967. In the first year of production, Reims Aviation produced 67 F150F aircraft.

Reims Aviation needed more space to meet the increased production demand, and broke ground in April 1967 on a 150,000 square foot factory at Reims-Prunay Aerodrome (LFQA). By June 1968, Reims had transitioned all production to the new facility, which soon expanded to over 200,000 square feet.

Cessna’s European dealer network had also grown to help distribute Reims and Cessna aircraft. Based in Brussels, Belgium, Cessna Europe had 38 dealers in 24 countries, including a distributor behind the Iron Curtain in Czechoslovakia. 

Reims Aviation’s CEO, former French fighter ace Pierre Clostermann, bragged in a 1968 Flying interview that Reims would soon be supplying Cessna’s European dealer network with most of its single-engine aircraft. He predicted Reims’ production would hit 1,000 aircraft a year by 1975. These bold estimates were based in part on a new product positioned to expand Reims’ portfolio beyond the F150 and F172. 

The FP172M concept, the 210 hp IO-360-powered prototype which had been mothballed in 1963, re-emerged at the 1967 Paris Airshow as Reims’ new flagship product: the Reims Rocket Model FR172E. This new high performance 172 would be produced exclusively for civilian sale in Europe by Reims Aviation. The Rocket was positioned to fill the niche between the F172 and the imported Cessna 182 Skylane. In this respect, it was similar to the fixed-gear Cessna 177 Cardinal, which was not produced in Europe. 

 

The FR172E Reims Rocket’s 210 hp Rolls-Royce Continental IO-360-D fuel-injected engine and constant-speed propeller produced a maximum of 2,800 rpm at takeoff and gave the aircraft a 125-knot cruise speed. The aircraft was at least 20 knots faster than comparable F172s, with only slightly increased fuel consumption and maintenance costs. 

The Rocket’s name was as much for its sound as its speed. An article in Flying described the Rocket as producing “a helluva racket—about 84 dB at 1,000 feet.” The Rocket also boasted a 2,500-pound gross weight (an increase of 200 pounds from the standard F172) and a useful load of approximately 1,000 pounds. The aircraft was in many respects superior to the early 177 Cardinals, and close in performance and payload to the Cessna 182. The Reims Rocket was produced through 1977. Reims built almost 600 Rockets in the ten-year production run.

Military customers also expressed interest in the Rocket. Reims produced eight specially-equipped FR172E aircraft in 1969 for the Irish Air Corps. These aircraft saw active duty fighting in Northern Ireland. 

Cessna’s eight-seat twin-engine Model 411 made a brief appearance at the Reims factory in 1967 and 1968. Eight aircraft were assembled from kit form and delivered as the Reims Cessna F411. 

As the 1960s came to a close, 400 employees of Reims Aviation were producing approximately 300 aircraft a year. The first five years (1965–1969) of full production at Reims were an overwhelming success. A total of 1,331 aircraft rolled off the line, compared with the production plan’s goal of 1,017. About two-thirds were F172s. The remainder was split between the F150 and the new FR172E.

1970s

The 1970s saw the continuation of F150, F172 and FR172E production, and the adoption of several other popular Cessna models.

Cessna’s 150 Aerobat was the next model to cross the Atlantic. The A150K Aerobat was produced by Reims Aviation starting in late 1969 as the FA150K. These FA150K Aerobats were powered by the same Rolls-Royce Continental O-200-A engine as the standard F150 models. A total of 120 FA150K and FA150L models were produced.

The Aerobat soon received a Reims customization and was upgraded with a Rolls-Royce Continental O-240-A engine producing 130 hp. This Aerobat, known as the FRA150L, has a high power-to-weight ratio and members of online European aviation forums often call it a joy to fly. Both L and M models were produced in fair numbers, for a total of 272 FRA150L and FRA150M models.

 

From 1968 to 1971, the Reims F172s differed somewhat from their U.S. counterparts. Cessna changed the 172’s powerplant to the four-cylinder 150 hp Lycoming O-320-E2D starting with 1968’s Cessna 172I model; Reims did not adopt the new engine until 1972’s F172L.

1974 marked the peak of Reims Aviation’s production. Reims’ 515 employees produced 474 aircraft at the 260,500-square-foot Prunay Aerodrome factory. The F172 was the most common aircraft, with a production rate of 150 aircraft per year at the end of 1974, followed by 105 F150s, 31 FR172s and 20 FRA-150s. 

While the fixed-gear Cardinal was not produced by Reims, the 177RG Cardinal RG retractable made a brief appearance in France. A total of 177 FR177RG aircraft were produced from 1972 to 1978. 

The Cessna 182 was not licensed to Reims in its early years, perhaps due to the success of the Reims Rocket. This changed in 1975, when Cessna granted Reims the license to produce the 182P Skylane and R182 Skylane RG. 25 F182P models, 145 F182Q models and 67 FR182 models were manufactured by Reims between 1976 and 1984.

 

The F150 was replaced by the F152 in 1978 and mirrored the Cessna 152s sold in the United States. Reims also produced a 152 Aerobat, the FA152. Reims manufactured 622 F152 and FA152s between 1978 and 1985.

The Reims Rocket was supplanted by the Hawk XP in 1977. The Hawk XP, also known as the FR172K, featured the same airframe and powerplant combination as the Reims Rocket, though the Rolls-Royce Continental IO-360-K engine was derated to 195 hp and 2,600 rpm on takeoff. This adjustment complied with new European noise regulations. The new aircraft was nearly identical to the U.S. model Hawk XP. Reims produced 85 Hawk XPs between 1977 and 1981.

The Cessna 337 Super Skymaster was licensed to Reims Aviation in 1969, with the first delivery in 1972. Reims produced almost 200 Super Skymasters between 1972 and 1980, divided nearly equally between pressurized and nonpressurized versions.

 

Approximately 60 of the pressurized Super Skymasters were equipped with special STOL modifications and provisions for carrying military ordinance. 21 of these FTB337G model Skymasters were sold to the Rhodesian Air Force. In 1980, Cessna gave full Super Skymaster production rights to Reims. However, Reims did not produce any Super Skymasters after 1980.

Reims Aviation employed 540 people at the end of 1979 and produced 373 aircraft that year.

1980s

As with many major aircraft manufacturers, Reims was hit hard by the downturn in General Aviation which started in the late 1970s. 

Production slowed to a trickle by 1983. Though Reims Aviation had 531 employees at the end of the year, only 92 aircraft left the factory. By 1986, Reims Aviation, like Cessna, was no longer producing piston singles. Reims directed its attention to the production of a new aircraft. 

The Reims F406 Caravan II, a twin-turboprop derivative of the Cessna 404, debuted at the Paris Air Show in May 1983. The Caravan II could carry up to 12 passengers at just over 250 knots, with a range of 1,030 nm. Cessna produced most of the parts in the United States and final airframe assembly took place at Reims Aviation’s Prunay factory. The first aircraft was delivered in April 1985.

By 1989, Reims Aviation was only producing one model of aircraft, the F406 Caravan II, at a rate of one per month. 

 

In May 1989, Cessna chose to divest from its interest in Reims Aviation; selling its shares to Compagnie Francaise Chaufour Investissement (CFCI) of Paris. As part of the sale, Cessna agreed to offer CFCI the right of first refusal to produce Cessna products in Europe if Cessna were to ever restart piston-powered aircraft production. 

1990s

The employees of Reims Aviation continued to work throughout the early 1990s, though much of their efforts were concentrated on producing parts for other manufacturers’ aircraft, including Dassault, Airbus and ATR. Reims saw a brief renaissance, reporting over 500 employees in 1991.

In 1991, Cessna considered relaunching the Model 425 Conquest I and contracting with Reims Aviation for production. Ultimately, this project fell through. A few years later, Reims’ maintenance department began to remanufacture used Reims Cessna light aircraft (primarily F172s), offering complete refurbishment for a fraction of the price of a new aircraft.

Cessna declared in 1994 that its single-engine restart program would not include a production license for Reims Aviation. In December 1995, Cessna reversed course, announcing that Reims would produce 200 airplanes a year for European and African markets. A follow-up announcement in 1997 indicated that Reims would also start to remanufacture Reims Cessna F150 and F152 airframes for use in flying clubs and flight schools. 

A trial production run was conducted in 1997 and three Cessna 172R Skyhawk kits were shipped to Reims Aviation. By September, Reims had booked 22 orders for new 172s and 182s. 

However, the CFCI investment group decided against restarting Cessna production and chose to focus on producing the F406 Caravan II and subcontracting for other manufacturers. The three 172R aircraft were returned unsold to Cessna. 

Caravan II production continued, and 80 aircraft were delivered to customers between 1985 and 1997. Most were configured for transport use, though customs and border protection agencies of several nations ordered surveillance versions. 

2000s

In 2003, Reims Aviation declared bankruptcy. The bankruptcy court split the company into Reims Aerospace, which would focus on subcontracting; and Reims Aviation Industries, which would produce the F406 Caravan II. 

The Type Certificates for most of the Reims-produced Cessna aircraft were transferred to Cessna in 2006. This allowed owners of Reims Cessnas to register their aircraft on the U.S. N-number registry with minimal difficulty. In the eyes of the FAA, Reims Cessnas are “considered domestic products for the purpose of design certification and continued airworthiness” per Type Certificate A4EU.

Reims Aviation Industries continued production of the F406 Caravan II until 2013 when the company went into receivership, leaving its 70 employees out of work. 

In March 2014, the remains of Reims Aviation Industries were sold. The Type Certificate and production rights to the F406 were transferred to ASI Innovation. Continental Motors has since partnered with ASI Innovation with the intent to restart production of the F406, but to date, no aircraft have been built.

Reims Aerospace was bought and renamed in 2011 by Austrian investors to Novae Aerospace Industry. This company continues to operate in the former Reims Aviation facility at Reims-Prunay Aerodrome, producing parts for Airbus, Dassault and others.

Vive le avion!

Reims Aviation’s partnership with Cessna followed the same arc as Cessna’s business in the United States. 1965 to 1975 were the golden years at Reims Aviation, followed by gradually waning demand in the mid-1980s. By 1986, both Reims and Cessna had abandoned light piston singles; choosing instead to focus on multi-engine aircraft.

Over the course of its 23-year run of producing Cessna singles, Reims Aviation helped bolster the growth of European General Aviation by bringing affordable aircraft to the European market en masse. 

Reims Aviation built more than 6,300 aircraft, including 12 different Cessna single-engine models and four twins. Reims Aviation no longer exists, but thousands of Reims aircraft continue to ply the skies over Europe and around the world.

Scott Kinney is a self-described aviation geek (#avgeek), private pilot and instructor (CFI-Sport, AGI). He is a technical editor for Cessna Flyer. Scott and his partner Julia are based in Eugene, Oregon. They are often found buzzing around the West in their vintage airplane. Send questions or comments to .

Sources Online:
Marais, Frédéric. “Novae Aerospace Industry, ou le spectaculaire redressement d’un avionneur historique de Reims.” Traces Ecrities News, May 9, 2017. www.tracesecritesnews.fr/actualite/novae-aerospace-industry-ou-le-spectaculaire-redressement-d-un-avionneur-97202

 
“GECI Aviation, an organisation making a place for itself on the world twin turboprop aircraft market.” GECI Aviation. April 5, 2010. www.geci.net/files/UKPDF20100405_CPAGE_RAI.pdf


“Divestiture of Reims Aviation Industries and bankruptcy of GECI Aviation.” GECI Aviation. April 28, 2014. www.geci.net/files/UKPDF20140428_GA_PLAN_RAI_LIQUIDATION_GA.pdf


Pope, Steven. “Continental To Build Former Cessna Cabin Class Twin.” Flying, March 27, 2014. www.flyingmag.com/aircraft/turboprops/continental-build-former-cessna-cabin-class-twin


Flying. Apr. 1965, Jan. 1966, Sep. 1967, Apr. 1968, Jun. 1969, Jun. 1970, Jun 1977, Oct. 1979, Sep. 1980, Aug. 1983, May 1989, Jul. 1989, Dec. 1991, May 1993, Dec. 1994, Jan. 1996, Mar. 1997, Sep. 1997. [Note: many back issues of Flying, including all cited above, are available free on Google Books, books.google.com]

FAA listing of Reims Cessna
TCDS documents (past and current):
rgl.faa.gov/Regulatory_and_Guidance_Library/rgMakeModel.nsf/WebSearchAll?SearchView&Query=Reims%20AND%20Aviation%20AND%20S.A.&SearchOrder=1&SearchMax=0&SearchWV=TRUE&SearchFuzzy=FALSE&Start=1&Count=1000#

Print:

Jane’s All the World’s Aircraft. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, 1967, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1976, 1980, 1985, 1988, 1996, 1999.


Murphy, Daryl. The Planes of Wichita: The People and the Aircraft of the Air Capital. Bloomington, IN: iUniverse, 2008.


Schoenberg, Eyvinn Hansen. Plane Talk: Cessna Export Tales. Philadelphia, PA: Xlibris, 2003.


Simpson, R.W. Airlife’s General Aviation: A Guide to Postwar General Aviation Manufacturers and Their Aircraft. Shrewsbury (UK): Airlife Publishing, 2000.


Simpson, Rod. The General Aviation Handbook. Hinckley, MN: Midland, 2005. 


Smith, Ron. Cessna 172: A Pocket History. Stroud (UK): Amberley, 2010.


Shiel, Walt, Jan Forsgren, and Michael R. Little. T-41 Mescalero: The Military Cessna 172. Lake Linden, MI: Slipdown Mountain Publications, 2006.

Oregon Coast: Choose Your Adventure

Oregon Coast: Choose Your Adventure

Fall is the best time of the year on the coast, and you have plenty of airports to pick from.

Welcome to the (Oregon) coast. 

First things first: if you want to try to blend in, even as a temporary interloper, it’s “the coast.” Yes, I know, elsewhere you may take trips to the beach, to the shore, to the oceanside, to the waterfront… but here in Oregon, it’s not any of these, or anything other than simply the coast. 

The Oregon coast is 363 miles long, bordered to the north by the mouth of the mighty Columbia River, where Lewis and Clark first sighted the Pacific Ocean in November 1805. At the southernmost end of the coast, you’ll find the redwood forests of northern California. In between is some of the most beautiful, wild shoreline in the Lower 48, with attractions and outdoor-centric activities to appeal to just about everyone. 

Perhaps you’ll build a sandcastle, fly a kite and take a hike through the dunes, or maybe you’re after no activities at all. The Oregon coast is a great place to grab a well-loved book, a warm cup of cider and a blanket next to a roaring fire. 

A drive to the coast from Oregon’s inland population centers of Portland, Salem or Eugene takes around 90 minutes. Two-lane highways wind slowly up through Douglas fir forests, then over low Coast Range mountain passes before following sparkling rivers down to the sea. 

For those of us who are blessed with the gift of flight, our airplanes can spirit us to the ocean’s edge in 30 minutes or less. From any of the inland cities, it’s only around 50 nm to the Pacific as the Cessna flies.

When you begin your descent toward the ocean, you’ll have your choice of 15 airports, evenly spaced along the coast. Your pick will no doubt be guided by your aircraft, your skill, your intended ground destination and the weather. 

It’s time to choose your adventure.

Sunset surf session at Pacific City. 
Pacific City: Weekend getaway

Despite its name, Pacific City isn’t a big place. Around 1,000 people call the town home year-round. Pacific City used to be a quiet backwater with a small fishing fleet and a few dairy farms. Things have changed in the past two decades; it’s now a trendy destination in the summer tourist season and the beach can get quite busy (by Oregon standards). 

Fly in to Pacific City in March or November, and you’d never suspect all that hubbub. You might well have the place to yourself.

Activities and amenities at Pacific City are centered around Cape Kiwanda and its signature offshore sea stack, Chief Kiawanda Rock. (Not a typo; the cape and the rock have different spellings.) It’s hard to miss from the air and even harder to miss from the ground. 

To get to Cape Kiwanda from the airport, walk a few blocks to the west toward the sound of the waves, turn right and stroll up the beach. It’s about a 20-minute walk over the sand to the cape. 

The first thing you’ll notice when you arrive is the funny-looking boats on the beach and the boat trailers backed into the surf. The Pacific City dory boat fleet launches directly off the beach to chase salmon, tuna and rockfish just a few miles offshore. You can charter a boat from one of several operators; to arrange a charter, ask the captains at the beach a day or two before you want to fish. (See Resources for a brief video showing how a dory boat is launched. —Ed.)

Cape Kiwanda is a protected natural area and marine life fills the tidepools. The rocks and pools just to the north of the boat launch give children and adults alike up-close views of sea stars, anemones and crabs. 

Feeling up for a workout? Grab a kayak from Nestucca Adventures and head off into the winding Nestucca Bay estuary. Birdwatching is especially good in the fall. 

If conditions are right, surfers play in the beach break just south of Cape Kiwanda or the point break to the north. Information, rentals and lessons are available from Moment Surf Company. 

If you see surfers here, you’ll notice they wear wetsuits—the Pacific Ocean is cold year-round. Peak water temperatures in the summer rarely exceed 60 F. 

Strong waves, cold water and lack of lifeguards make swimming here (and anywhere else on the Oregon coast) a poor and possibly dangerous idea. Wading is fine, but keep your eye toward the ocean. Occasional large waves have surprised many a beachgoer.

After you’ve explored the beach at Pacific City, there’s no need to head elsewhere for lunch or dinner. Grab a cold Northwest IPA, a glass of wine—or an iced tea, if you’re flying out soon—and watch the people and boats come and go from a comfortable perch at Pelican Brewing’s beachfront taproom. 

Meridian Restaurant & Bar, just to the north of Pelican, offers upscale dining with locally sourced ingredients and a fantastic view. You’ll want reservations during the high season and on holidays.

Lodging books up quickly, as there are only a few boutique hotels and inns in Pacific City. Airbnb options are usually a better bet on short notice, and if you’re lucky, you may be able to snag one of the units adjacent to the airport.

As for Pacific City State Airport (KPFC), it’s a handful. The runway is a mere 1,860 feet long by 30 feet wide, and there are several buildings and trees near the runway. The runway is at only 5 feet msl and is adjacent to the Nestucca River. The runway occasionally floods. Heed the FAA Chart Supplement’s suggestion to call the Oregon Department of Aviation at 503-378-4880 before using KPFC, especially during the winter. 

Make sure your aircraft and personal skills are suited for operations here. Though the airport is challenging, it also serves to keep the crowds down; I have only once seen the six transient tiedowns full. Other than tiedowns, there aren’t any aviation services at KPFC.

The nearest fuel is at Tillamook (KTMK), which also makes a good alternate. KTMK has longer and wider runways, AWOS-3 weather reporting and a GPS approach with 750-1 minimums. Since it’s inland about 6 miles, Tillamook usually has calmer winds than Pacific City and other airports nearer to the beach. You can rent a car at Tillamook and make the 30-minute drive to Pacific City. If you’re there already, it’s tempting to take a quick detour and stop by the Tillamook Air Museum’s huge blimp hangar, or the Tillamook Creamery for a free tasting and tour.

Whether you turn left or right when you get to the ocean, you’ll find your way to a fun destination. 
Newport: Family-friendly fun

Roughly halfway down the Oregon coast, the bustling town of Newport sits on the north shore of Yaquina (pronounced “Ya-kee-nah”) Bay. 

Newport has been an escape for Oregon families since the early 1900s; the Nye Beach historic district was, and is, especially popular. Visitors can browse through art galleries, antique shops or simply just sip a cup of coffee with brunch (the best on the coast) at the Nye Beach Café. The sounds of the ocean are never far away. I’ve always found Nye Beach to be a comfortable, quiet area to stay the night; there are numerous lodging options here and throughout town.

The Bayfront District has a decidedly different feel (and occasionally, an unusual smell). Yaquina Bay is home to Oregon’s second-largest commercial fishing fleet and the Bayfront is very much a working waterfront. The fishing fleet processes most of its catch here, much to the delight of the hundreds of sea lions that inhabit the Bayfront docks. 

The sea lions are easily seen and photographed at the docks next to Mariner Square on Southwest Bay Blvd. If you’re having trouble finding them, just listen for their barks.

You could choose to battle these 1,000-pound pinnipeds for fish scraps, but it’s a safer bet to go to one of several fish markets nearby. I like Fish Peddler’s Market; they have fresh-off-the-boat seafood for cooking at home, and also do an excellent grab-and-go fish ‘n chips. 

Mo’s Seafood and Chowder is an Oregon institution and was a staple of my childhood trips to the coast. There are now several locations on the coast and the original location is in Newport. However, I think there’s better seafood at Local Ocean Seafoods. Beer hounds love Rogue Ales and Spirits’ three Newport locations. 

Newport’s premier attraction is, perhaps unsurprisingly, ocean-oriented. Oregon Coast Aquarium is open daily, both summer and winter. Its mission is “to create unique and engaging experiences that connect you to the Oregon coast and inspire ocean conservation.” 

The museum grounds cover several acres. You can easily spend a full afternoon visiting all the exhibits. My favorite is the Passages of the Deep exhibit, where visitors pass through a series of underwater walkways covering the three different ecosystems (reef, shelf, offshore) present in the nearby Pacific Ocean. For intrepid younger explorers, you can even book an overnight stay in the exhibit. To be honest, I’m not sure how well I’d sleep while surrounded by sharks.

For offseason travelers, the Newport Seafood and Wine Festival features hundreds of Northwest wines and seafood offerings from up and down the coast. The 2019 festival is February 21–24. 

Newport offers some of the most accessible whale-watching on the Oregon coast. Gray whales migrate along the coast in the early winter and again in the late spring. Several charter operators run whale-watching tours from the Bayfront District. A two-hour family-friendly “Sea Life” cruise with Marine Discovery Tours costs $42 for adults and $28 for children. 

For the do-it-yourselfer, drive just a few miles north to Agate Beach and Yaquina Head Lighthouse. You don’t have to climb the lighthouse to spot whales, but you certainly can if you’ve arranged a tour in advance. 

Newport Municipal Airport (KONP) is about 3 miles south of the Bayfront District. The airport is one of the best on the Oregon coast, with two good runways (the larger of the two measures 5,398 feet by 100 feet). KONP has several instrument approaches; two VOR approaches, a VOR-A approach, two GPS approaches and an ILS approach. The ILS and GPS approaches to Runway 16 have minimums of 250-3/4. 

Fuel is competitively priced at $5.00/gal for self-serve 100LL and $3.90/gal for full-service Jet A. The City of Newport runs the FBO and offers a courtesy vehicle during business hours (maximum two hours). For longer stays, you’ll need to call a cab or rent a car. Tiedowns are always available. If you show up on a Saturday in the summer, there’s a free barbecue at noon to welcome visiting pilots! 

 
Herb-crusted halibut with English peas, rhubarb, turnip, fiddlehead and asparagus.
 
A tiny crab found in a tidepool.
 
The Tillamook Air Museum is housed in a World War II-era blimp hangar, the largest clear-span wooden structure in the world.
The brave can spend a night and sleep with sharks in the Oregon Coast Aquarium’s Passages of the Deep exhibit. 
Whale-watching tours leave daily from Newport’s waterfront during the summer and fall. 
Manzanita/Nehalem Bay: “Roughing it”

Nehalem Bay State Airport (3S7) is a treasure for visiting pilots. Touch down, then taxi off the paved runway and onto the grass. Pull into the clearly-marked tiedown area and shut down. Unpack and pitch your tent in one of the several campsites nestled in the trees, just a few hundred yards from the beach. You’re home for the night at Nehalem Bay.

The Oregon Department of Aviation and Oregon State Parks have made six fly-in camping spots available exclusively for the aviating public. In Oregon, standard campsites at state parks are by reservation only and are often booked several months in advance. That’s not the case at Nehalem Bay’s fly-in campground. The sites are first-come, first-served and are seldom full, even on the busiest summer weekends, though you might want to come in on Thursday to guarantee a spot. 

Camping is $11 per night, per plane. That gets you access to the park facilities, including water and hot showers. For a few bucks, you can pick up a bundle of firewood from the camp host. During the summer, rangers present nightly interpretive programs about local history and wildlife at the park’s amphitheater. Pack an inflatable kayak and you can launch it right off the end of the runway to explore the bay.

The beach is about a 10-minute walk to the west through the trees; those with more energy can hike to the Nehalem Bay Jetty, a 5-mile roundtrip from the campground. Walking a mile to the north will have you in downtown Manzanita. To get to town you can also take the scenic route, via the beach.

Nehalem Bay is a straightforward small airport (the runway is 2,350 feet by 50 feet) when conditions are benign. You’ll fly your downwind over the ocean, turn base and cross over the sand spit, and then turn north on final. Final puts you over Nehalem Bay; the runway threshold is only a few feet from the water. 

Here’s the catch: when it gets windy, Nehalem Bay will bite you. There’s high terrain to the north of the airport, and on summer afternoons, strong winds can spill over and cause all sorts of unpleasantness at the surface at Nehalem Bay. Be ready to go around and/or divert if the conditions exceed your comfort level. 

Nehalem Bay has no aviation services, but Tillamook (17 nm to the south) has fuel and can serve as a diversion.

 

 

 
Time to unload the camping gear!
 
Walking south on the beach toward Nehalem Bay Jetty.
 
Winds at Nehalem Bay typically favor a landing to the north. 
Planning your flight

You’ll want to keep an eye out for forest fire TFRs in the summer and fall. Fire TFRs often affect routes to and from the inland population hubs. Smoke can also affect in-flight visibility.

All but one of the airports along the Oregon coast are non-towered. Fourteen coastal airports share three radio frequencies: 122.7, 122.8 and 122.9. Make sure you’re on the right frequency and announce your position as well as the relevant airport. En route, I like to monitor 122.9; it’s an unofficial frequency for low-level traffic along the beach. 

Several MOAs overlie the Oregon coast and nearshore waters. I have never seen military traffic in any of these MOAs, but you should nonetheless check notams for current status.

Many of the rocks, islands and reefs near the coast are part of the U.S. National Wildlife Refuge system. These refuges are marked on VFR sectional charts. Pilots are requested to maintain a minimum of 2,000 agl above these refuges. Low flights that disturb wildlife are a violation. 

Flying over the beach and out over the water is part of the adventure and allure of flying along the coast. Prudent pilots will maintain an altitude that allows for a safe emergency landing ashore should an unexpected loss of power occur. Beaches are usually the best option for forced landings. 

Much of the land along the coast is rocky or tree-covered. Still, land is likely a better bet than an offshore ditching in the ice-cold Pacific. For extended routes over water (as found on IFR T-route T257), you will want to bring a life raft, life vests and an extremely reliable engine (or better yet, bring a twin). 

 
Summer means frequent fog along the coast.
 
Sometimes, the difference between VMC and IMC is only a few hundred yards.
 
Grab the KTMK courtesy car and enjoy an afternoon on the beach at Oceanside.
Gold Beach, like many coastal airports, has self-serve 100LL for a reasonable price. 
Weather considerations

You’ve probably heard it rains a lot in Oregon—you’ve heard right. It certainly does rain, in the winter and spring. The rainy season typically extends from mid-October until mid-April. Moisture-laden storm systems roll ashore every few days and drop their cargo as they ascend the slope of the Coast Range.

Even during prolonged stormy periods, the skies will often clear up long enough for a VFR flight as bands of clouds and rain pass through. Winter winds are usually more problematic than visibility and ceilings. Icing is a concern, especially when colder systems descend from the Gulf of Alaska bringing the freezing level close to the surface. 

For as much as it rains in the winter, it doesn’t rain much at all in the summer. However, the best weather on the Oregon coast is not during the height of the summer tourist season (June–August). Summertime is fog time and wind time. Coastal fog can appear in the blink of an eye. I’ve had to hasten a departure more than a few times as the fog bank approached the airport. 

Summer surface winds are nearly always out of the north and can approach 40 knots in the afternoons and early evenings. Schedule your flights to arrive and depart early in the day and winds are usually a nonissue.

In my opinion, fall is the time to go. But if you pick your days (or bring your instrument rating), there’s great flying to be had year-round.

September is the warmest month of the year along the Oregon coast. There’s usually very little wind; the fog machine slows down and there is less traffic both in the air and on the beach. 

 
Wind is a constant in the early summer months.
 
Fall brings warmer air temperatures and clear skies.
VFR or IFR?

You can certainly travel the coast VFR in a VFR-only airplane—I do, quite often—but you’ll run the risk of having to divert or cancel more often than if you hold an instrument rating and fly an all-weather aircraft. 

An instrument ticket will help you get to the coast—even if you’re unable to get in to your VFR-only airport of choice, you can land elsewhere, rent a car and drive the rest of the way. That’s a big deal if you’ve got a weeklong non-refundable hotel reservation. 

Four of the coast airports have GPS approaches, and three have ILS approaches. Though these approaches won’t be of much help in winter high winds, they will certainly assist in punching through the pesky summertime 600-foot-agl marine layer.

From a smiles-per-mile perspective, do everything you can to make your flight on a clear day. You want your passengers’ noses to be pressed against the side windows, watching the ocean for whales and the treetops for bald eagles. It’s not nearly as fun to stare at the inside of a cloud.

Each one of Oregon’s 15 coastal airports has its own story and set of things to see and do nearby. Load up your family and friends, start your engine and point your trusty bird toward the ocean and all the Oregon coast has to offer. I look forward to seeing you there!

Though you can land under VFR, will you be able to leave? 

Scott Kinney is a self-described aviation geek (#avgeek), private pilot and instructor (CFI-Sport, AGI). He is associate editor for Piper Flyer. Scott and his partner Julia are based in Eugene, Oregon. They are often found buzzing around the western U.S. in their vintage airplane. Send questions or comments to .

RESOURCES >>>>>

PILOT AND AIRPORT INFORMATION
Pacific City, Nehalem Bay and 
other state-owned airports 
https://www.oregon.gov/aviation/Pages/State-of-Oregon-Airports.aspx

Newport Municipal Airport FBO
newportoregon.gov/dept/onp

VISITOR INFORMATION
Oregon Coast Visitors Association
visittheoregoncoast.com

Travel Oregon
traveloregon.com

PACIFIC CITY
Dory launch at Pacific City
youtu.be/Al5H_r4EZvw

Meridian Restaurant & Bar
headlandslodge.com/dining/meridian

Moment Surf Company
momentsurfco.com

Nestucca Adventures LLC
nestuccaadventures.com

Pelican Brewing Company
pelicanbrewing.com

Tillamook Air Museum
tillamookair.com

Tillamook Creamery
tillamook.com

NEHALEM BAY
Nehalem Bay State Park
oregonstateparks.org/index.cfm?do=parkPage.dsp_parkPage&parkId=142


NEWPORT
Local Ocean Seafoods
localocean.net

Marine Discovery Tours
marinediscoverytours.com

Mo’s Seafood and Chowder
moschowder.com

Newport Seafood and Wine Festival
seafoodandwine.com

Nye Beach Café
nyebeachcafe.wordpress.com

Oregon Coast Aquarium
aquarium.org

Rogue Ales and Spirits
rogue.com/meeting-halls

Yaquina Head Lighthouse
blm.gov/learn/interpretive-centers/yaquina

Big-airplane Features for a Small-airplane Price: The Cessna 175

Big-airplane Features for a Small-airplane Price: The Cessna 175

Cessna introduced the 175 hp, four-seat Cessna 175 in 1958; with the goal of filling the gap between the 172’s price and the 182’s performance. The 175 garnered positive initial reviews. Yet only six years later, the model was discontinued. So, what went wrong? 

Just over 60 years ago, on March 22, 1958, Cessna offered its first Cessna 175 for sale. Then, as now, marketing departments used flowery language to sell the dream of “the family airplane.” 

A big and beautiful two-page ad in the April 1958 issue of Flying offered readers the “big, beautiful” new “Power-Geared” Cessna 175. The 175 promised “big-airplane stability, big-airplane comfort, big-airplane speeds”—but for a small-airplane price.

On the surface, the 175 seemed to fit perfectly in the Cessna lineup. 

At the time the 175 debuted, the 172 was Cessna’s entry-level model (the two-seat 150 wasn’t introduced until late 1958). The 182, though quite capable and roomy, was a significant step up from the 172 in both price and performance.

In 1958, a 172 cost $8,995. A standard 182 was $14,350. The deluxe 182 Skylane was $16,850. The 175, priced at only $10,995 while offering “big-airplane” features, seemed to be what General Aviation buyers desired. Flying reviewed the 175 in July 1958 and deemed it to be “an answer to a market requirement—a constructive answer.”

However, after only a few short years, the market soured on the Cessna 175. The last aircraft carrying the 175 name were produced in 1962. 

A close relative of the 172

At a distance, it’s difficult to distinguish a Cessna 175 from a Cessna 172 of the same era. This is especially true for earlier 175 models, before the 175A adopted a noticeably “humped” cowl. The 175 and 172 airframes were developed concurrently, with extensive parts commonality. 

Delays with the Cessna 175’s newly-developed Continental GO-300A powerplant meant that the 175 debuted two years later than the Cessna 172 and 182, which were both first sold in 1956. 

The 175 prototype took to the skies over Wichita April 26, 1956. The Cessna 175 received type certification on January 14, 1958. An aggressive schedule brought the aircraft to market by late March 1958. 

 

Model evolution

The 175 and 172, though extremely similar when viewed from across the tarmac, do exhibit differences, especially under the cowl and in the cabin. 

Early straight-tail 175s and 172s (pre-A models) have the same fuselage dimensions. However, the firewall position and firewall structures differ. 

The 175’s firewall is a stepped design, rather than the flat firewall of the early 172. The 175’s firewall is further rearward on the fuselage than that of the 172, allowing for a longer, more gradually-tapered cowl with larger inlets for cooling air. The cowls of early 175s appear more like those found on Cessna 182s.

The position of the 175’s firewall affects the position of other internal fuselage components. The instrument panel is correspondingly further rearward, in a wider area of the fuselage. Cessna engineers took advantage of this increased panel width and designed a new instrument panel exclusive to the 175; the early 172’s “shotgun panel” layout was not used. 

The 175’s instruments are clustered on the left side of the cabin, in clear view of the pilot. Though not a quite a linear six-pack arrangement, the 175 has a modern-looking instrument panel. The instrument panel layout was “easy-to-work, easy-to-read,” according to Cessna’s marketing. 

In 1960, the Cessna 175A—as well as the 172A—received Cessna’s new swept-tail design, paired with the “fastback” fuselage. The 175A and later models are fitted with a distinctive “humped” cowl. 

The 172B borrowed from the 175’s design: Cessna adopted the stepped firewall of the 175, a longer engine mount and cowl, and also changed the instrument panel layout to match the 175’s. 

The 172B and 175B fuselages—and in fact, the entire airplanes—are dimensionally nearly identical.

The 175’s wing structure is very similar to that of the 172, with differences in the internal inboard third of the wing to account for the fuel tanks. 

 

Fuel

The 175 has two tanks, one in each wing, that hold a total of 52 gallons of fuel; an upgrade from the 42 gallons of the 172.

Due to the location of the fuel pickups in the tanks, only 42 of the 52 gallons is usable in all flight conditions. The 175’s POH states that an additional nine gallons are usable in “level flight.” However, the 175’s TCDS carries a rather ominous warning: “The Models 175A and 175B fuel system does not comply with CAR 3.433 and 3.434 for horsepower greater than 167 at the best angle of climb which is the most critical attitude.”

 

Options

The deluxe trim model offered from late 1959 onward was called the “Skylark”—all Skylarks are 175s, but not all 175s are Skylarks. Some were fitted with Levelair T-2 or Tactair T-3 autopilots. 

The 175 could be ordered as a seaplane, also. This option boosted gross weight by 100 pounds for the 175A and 175B.

In addition, an 18-gallon auxiliary tank was available for the 175 as a factory-installed option. The tank was installed on the baggage compartment floor with a filler neck on the right side of the fuselage. An electric pump connected the tank to the right wing tank.

Powerplant

As the 175 was being developed, Continental Motors offered Cessna the exclusive use of a new high-rpm 175 hp variant of the O-300. This new powerplant, which would become the Continental GO-300, promised increased performance with a negligible weight penalty. 

According to a July 1958 Flying review of the 175, Cessna engineers debated whether the high-rpm engine design would be better served by connecting a smaller-diameter propeller directly to the crankshaft or by gearing down to a larger prop. Connecting the propeller directly to the crankshaft in a standard arrangement would be no doubt simpler mechanically, but the geared reduction drive offered the lure of more efficient operation, especially at takeoff and climb speeds. They chose to use a geared drive. 

Cessna Flyer contributing editor and A&P/IA Steve Ells explains how it works:

“The reduction gear assembly consisted of spur-type gears with the propeller shaft located above the engine crankshaft centerline. The propeller’s center was approximately nine inches above the center of the crankshaft. This arrangement enabled the installation of a much longer propeller than was possible in any direct-drive engine. The Cessna 175 landplane swung an 84-inch McCauley prop that produced more thrust than the 172’s 76-inch propeller. 

The offset of the reduction drive still provided the required flat nose tire and flat strut prop-to-ground clearance distance mandated by airplane certification regulations. An enormous 90-inch prop was approved on the 175A and 175B when on floats.

A propeller-to-engine reduction ratio of 0.75 provided 2,400 prop rpm at the takeoff power setting of 3,200 crankshaft rpm. At the recommended cruise rpm of 3,000 on the tachometer, the prop settled down to 2,250 rpm. This slower prop speed resulted in lower prop-generated noise at both takeoff and cruise power settings.”

The 175 hp GO-300A spun at a maximum of 3,200 rpm; noticeably faster than the non-geared O-300 which redlined at 2,700 rpm. The difference in engine rotational speed had a price. While the O-300 had a TBO of 1,800 hours, the GO-300s found in 175s had a TBO of 1,200 hours. 

The GO-300A of the early 175 was replaced by the GO-300C and -300D in 1959. The last 175s used the GO-300E and swung a constant-speed propeller. 

The decision to use the high-rpm GO-300 engine and geared reduction drive would ultimately determine the success of the 175 and Skylark names. 

Performance

The most noticeable difference between the 175 and 172, aside from the engine, reduction drive and panel layout, is their relative performance. 

Steve Ells found this to be the case several decades ago: 

“In 1985, I was dropped off with a box of tools at an unimproved strip across from Kenai, Alaska, on the west side of the Cook Inlet to troubleshoot engine problems in a customer’s Cessna 175. I loosened up a draggy exhaust valve with a liberal dosing of Kroil penetrating oil before flying back. 

Although the inlet is less than 30 nm across at that point, I knew if I had to ditch in the cold waters I was a goner, so I climbed up to 8,500 feet before turning toward home and the other shore. 

The GO-300 never missed a lick and I was very impressed with how much more power it seemed to have versus the 172s I have flown previously.” 

Pilots with time in unmodified straight-tail 172s know that they’re sweet-handling aircraft; they also realize that the 145 hp Continental O-300 gives merely adequate performance. Cruise speeds are typically around 120 mph tas (104 ktas). Though early 172s are light airframes (over 300 pounds lighter than today’s 172s), their low MTOW of 2,200 pounds limits payload. After filling the tanks, about 640 pounds are left for passengers and luggage. 

A stock 175 weighs about 100 pounds more than its 172 counterpart, but that is offset by a 150-pound increase in MTOW from 2,200 to 2,350 pounds. Useful load is best on the standard model (just over 1,000 pounds) and lower on the deluxe Skylark, at approximately 950 pounds. After the tanks are filled, the 175 Skylark has a slightly lower payload than the 172; in the 630-pound range. 

Cessna claims the 175 cruises in the 135–140 mph tas range (117–122 ktas), and with larger tanks than the 172, the 175 can go about 100 miles further nonstop. 

According to book numbers, the 175 also sports much-improved short-field and climb performance, nearly on par with the 182. The 175 Owner’s Manual states the aircraft can climb at 850 fpm at sea level at its full 2,350-pound mtow, while the takeoff ground roll consumes only 735 feet of runway. At lighter weights, climb rate approaches 1,400 fpm, and the 175 needs just 345 feet to get off the ground. 

 

Engine issues

The 175, at least on the surface, offered a great value proposition for buyers. The 1958 and 1959 models of the Cessna 175 sold well: 1,239 left the factory in the first two years of production.

Cessna’s 1959 ads claimed that the 175 could provide “8 cents-per-mile operation,” including fuel, maintenance, storage, insurance and depreciation. 

However, issues with the GO-300 engine soon challenged Cessna’s assertion. Many GO-300s never made it to the promised 1,000-hour TBO, and those that did often required cylinder work to get there.

Steve Ells shares his thoughts on the engine: 

“It’s often thought that the 175 lost favor with buyers because the engine was rumored to be unreliable. The GO-300 initially had a 1,000-hour TBO (amended to 1,200 in 1968), which was not uncommon for that era. One very experienced engine builder described the GO-300 to me as a powerful smooth-running engine, but cylinder problems seemed to head the list of issues. 

One plausible theory is that pilots that had been flying Cessna single-engine airplanes at cruise rpm of 2,350 to 2,500 were very reluctant to cruise at the GO-300’s preferred 3,000 rpm, so they pulled the throttle back to what they thought was the “correct” rpm. 

I believe that if the tachometer had shown propeller rpm instead of crankshaft engine rpm, the engine reputation would not have suffered as much as it did.”

The lower power settings may have “sounded” right to pilots used to standard engines, but at low rpm, the GO-300 didn’t develop sufficient oil pressure to provide lubrication and cooling. 

A 1972 Flying article entitled “Cessna’s Neglected 175” concurred: “People ran the 175s as they would have a 172… the engines warped their valves, broke rings, scored cylinders, cracked pistons. The bad-mouthing began as engines started to fold in 500 hours of a promised 1,000 [hour] TBO.”

Airflow for cooling also likely suffered at low speeds in early tightly-cowled 175s, contributing to premature cylinder issues. Later 175s suffered the opposite problem. The redesigned cowl of the A and later models brought plenty of air to the cylinders. Shock cooling became an issue in low- or idle-power descents.

The Cessna 175’s POH listed cruise speeds and fuel burns down to 36 percent power and 2,400 engine rpm, which may have exacerbated these issues by giving pilots the impression that this was a “safe” power setting.

In addition to the engine problems, the GO-300’s gearbox was prone to issues if operated incorrectly. Numerous posts on today’s Cessna 175 type forums warn pilots to always keep a load on the engine; and under no circumstances to let the propeller “drive” the engine at idle. Gradual, constant-power descents are advised.

 

Declining production

By 1960 and the 175A model, sales had slowed: 540 175As were produced in 1960. Only 225 175B aircraft were sold in 1961.

The 1962 175C model, sporting a Continental GO-300E driving a constant-speed propeller, offered performance and payload improvements. Despite better climb numbers and a greater MTOW of 2,450 pounds, the 175C didn’t sell any better. Only 117 175Cs were produced.

When a 175 isn’t a 175 any longer

In 1963, with a marketing sleight-of-hand, the model that would have been the Cessna 175D morphed into the “Powermatic P172D Skyhawk.” Ostensibly, Cessna calculated that the 172 brand was stronger and the change would help dissociate the airframe from the troubled 175/Skylark name. 

Cessna upped the MTOW to 2,500 pounds, which gave the P172D an impressive 1,100 pounds of useful load. The P172D dropped the fastback fuselage and received the “OmniVision” rear window. It also was fitted with cowl flaps for better engine cooling. 

However, the market didn’t bend. Only 72 of the Powermatics were built; 69 in the United States and three which were assembled under license by Reims Aviation in France as FP172Ds. (The “F” prefix was for “French-produced.”) 

The 175 lives on

Cessna 175 and P172D  production ceased in 1963, after a total production run of 2,118 aircraft. The Skylark was abandoned—almost. 

In addition to the three FP172Ds which had been delivered to European buyers by Reims Aviation, a fourth airframe had been shipped to France.

In mid-1963, Reims engineers converted this airframe into a prototype military liaison aircraft. It featured a 210 hp Continental IO-360-D powerplant matched with a constant-speed propeller.

This proof-of-concept would inspire a number of variants—several of which Cessna eventually certified under the 175 Type Certificate, including the US Air Force T-41B through D (and non-USAF versions, the R172E through J) and the R172K Hawk XP (profiled in the April 2018 issue of Cessna Flyer). 

Cessna produced 2,080 of these IO-360-powered “172s” which were, at least from a certification basis standpoint, 175s.

Though the Reims Rocket is nearly equivalent to the T-41B and shares a common ancestry, it is not included on the 175’s Type Certificate, nor was the French-produced FR172K Hawk XP.

In late 1978, Cessna created a version of the airframe with a retractable undercarriage, a 180 hp Lycoming O-360-F1A6 engine and a three-bladed constant-speed prop. This aircraft, the 172RG Cutlass RG, though a 172 in name, is also on the 175 Type Certificate. 1,191 172RGs were produced between 1980 and 1985.

In total, some 3,271 of these “175 derivatives” left the Cessna factory.

The early positive reception for the 175, the later success of “souped-up 172s” like the R172K Hawk XP, and the number of STC’d 180 hp conversions of legacy 172 airframes demonstrated that there was, and still is, a market for an airplane that is a step up from a standard 172. 

However, the Cessna 175’s reliance on a new, unproven engine to achieve “big-airplane performance” was its ultimate undoing.

As a further testament to the “172-plus” concept and the 175 airframe itself, many of today’s still-flying 175s have been upgraded with one of several STC’d engine conversions. 

Next month: Cessna 175 STCs and modifications, and a flight test of an O-360-powered Skylark.

 

Scott Kinney is a self-described aviation geek (#avgeek), private pilot and instructor (CFI-Sport, AGI). He is associate editor for Cessna Flyer. Scott and his partner Julia are based in Eugene, Oregon. They are often found buzzing around the West in their vintage airplane. Send questions or comments to .

SOURCES (ONLINE)
Type Certificate Data Sheet No. 3A17 Rev. 46, May 14, 2007; Skylark Associ-ation International Forums, cessna175.org; Flying, Apr. 1958, Jul. 1958, Sep. 1958, Mar. 1959, Jun. 1959, Nov. 1961, Aug. 1972, Sep. 2008. [Note: many back issues of Flying, including all cited here, are available free on Google Books: books.google.com.]
 
SOURCES (PRINT)
“Airlife’s General Aviation: A Guide to Postwar General Aviation Manufacturers and Their Aircraft” 
R.W. Simpson. Shrewsbury (UK): Airlife Publishing, 2000. 
 
“Cessna 172: A Pocket History”
Ron Smith. Stroud (UK): Amberley, 2010. 
 
“Cessna: Wings for the World”
William D. Thompson. Bend, Oregon: Maverick Publications, 1991.
 
“The General Aviation Handbook”
Rod Simpson. Hinckley, Minnesota: Midland, 2005. 
 
Jane’s All the World’s Aircraft 
New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, 1967. 
 
“The Planes of Wichita: The People and the Aircraft of the Air Capital”
Daryl Murphy. Bloomington, Indiana: iUniverse, 2008. 
 
“T-41 Mescalero: The Military Cessna 172” Walt Shiel, Jan Forsgren and Michael R. Little. Lake Linden, Michigan: Slipdown Mountain Publications, 2006.
 
Resources
FURTHER READING
“Cessna’s In-between Single: The R172K Hawk XP” 
by Steve Ells. Cessna Flyer, April 2018.

Available at https://www.cessnaflyer.org/magazines/item/1036-april-2018-cessna-flyer-magazine.html