Blog : Historical Feature

Cessna: The Postwar Years – Part Two

Cessna: The Postwar Years – Part Two

The two-place Model 120/140 were modern, all-metal designs that established Wichita’s Cessna Aircraft Company as a leader in the highly competitive personal, training and business aviation markets. After five years of massive bloodshed, incalculable destruction and indescribable human suffering, World War II had ended in victory for the allied nations. During that terrible time the…

Year of the Swallow

Year of the Swallow

A century ago, the Laird Swallow launched Wichita, Kansas, on its way to becoming the “Air Capital of the World.” In 1920 a number of significant events occurred: the Treaty of Versailles took effect, officially ending World War I; the 19th Amendment became law, giving women the right to vote and Adolf Hitler organized the…

Cessna: The Postwar Years – Part One

Cessna: The Postwar Years – Part One

During the mid-1940s the Cessna Aircraft Company worked overtime to meet soaring demand for modern, all-metal monoplanes. In August 1945, after more than five years of vicious fighting, the worst war the world had ever experienced was finally over. Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich, which he boasted would last a thousand years, was gone after only…

Revival!

Revival!

In 1933 the Stearman Aircraft Company’s Model 73 biplane helped save the company and brought national recognition of Wichita, Kansas, as a major provider of commercial and military aircraft. Five years after the worst economic debacle in American history had gutted Wall Street and laid waste to billions of dollars-worth of investments, personal fortunes and…

Airmaster! – Part Two

Airmaster! – Part Two

Sales success of the Cessna C-34 led to three improved versions of the versatile monoplane before the winds of war forced an end to production. The year 1936 witnessed a slow return to economic stability for the United States. Times were still tough and unemployment remained high, but Americans were going back to work thanks…

Airmaster! (Part One)

Airmaster! (Part One)

In 1933 Dwane L. Wallace and his brother Dwight resurrected the Cessna Aircraft Company, launched the new Model C-34 and restored their uncle Clyde V. Cessna as president of the company that bore his name. Four years after the devastating stock market crash of 1929, the United States was slowly beginning to emerge from the…

Econo-Jet – the Model 73

Econo-Jet – the Model 73

Beech Aircraft Corporation’s Jet Mentor was built on a tight budget and performed well but lost its bid to be the U.S. Air Force’s first turbine-powered basic trainer to crosstown rival Cessna Aircraft Company’s Model 318. During the early 1950s, excitement about the “Dawn of the Jet Age” was capturing the imagination of the American…

Sportster!

Sportster!

In 1933 the Stearman Aircraft Company unveiled the Model 80 and Model 81 – transtional designs that represented the ultimate biplane at the dawn of the monoplane age. In 1932, the halcyon days of the “‘Roarin’ Twenties” were nothing more than painful memories for the American people. Wall Street was still in shambles three years…

Wichita’s Greatest  Gamble – Part Two

Wichita’s Greatest Gamble – Part Two

On August 16, 1927, two airplanes built in Wichita, Kansas, took off from Oakland, California, bound for the shores of Hawaii, but only one would return triumphant. By early August both Arthur Goebel and Bennett Griffin had arrived at the Oakland airport with their new Travel Air monoplanes, the Woolaroc and Oklahoma, respectively. Resplendent in…

Wichita’s Greatest Gamble – Part One

Wichita’s Greatest Gamble – Part One

In the summer of 1927 two airframe manufacturers bet the future on an ill-fated race across the Pacific Ocean – a race that left one company in a tailspin and the other flying high. By 1927 the commercial aviation industry in the United States was still in its infancy. By contrast, cars and jazz music…