The Ever Dependable 182

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Racing across an azure autumn sky, two thoughts suddenly occurred to me: not only did the original 182 fly 57 years ago—but the type is still in production today!

Entirely conventional both in appearance and design, the Skylane is an all-metal, strut-braced high-wing, powered by a single piston engine turning a metal, controllable pitch propeller that looks remarkably similar to many other spatted and strutted single-engine Cessnas.

Introduced in 1956 as a sort of tricycle version of the 180, (the name “Skylane” was added the following year) it may not be the fastest, the prettiest, or the most charismatic aircraft on the ramp, but it really is a solid, dependable aircraft.

The sales of the 182 speaks for itself—and not only within the civilian market. Around a dozen different air forces and government agencies purchased the aircraft, and by 1985 Cessna had built around over 20,000Skylanes. The type was also built under license in Argentina and France.That year (due mainly to the increasingly litigious climate in the United States at the time) Cessna suspended production of all piston-powered aircraft because of concern over product liability.

In the mid-1990s Cessna announced that it was once again in the business of building piston-powered aircraft, and resumed production of the 172, 182 and the 206.

When Luke Hall, Head of General Aviation at Cambridge Airport and CFI of the Cambridge Aero Club offered me the chance to fly a 2003 Cessna 182T, I jumped at the opportunity. I’d only flown a 182 once before, and that was about 25 years ago. It had been a D model, built in 1961.

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