The 150 is an all-metal, tricycle-gear airplane introduced by Cessna Aircraft Company in 1959. “The airplane was available in four different versions: Standard, Trainer, Commuter, and Patroller. Cockpit appointments were the major difference between the Standard and the Trainer. The Commuter was even nicer and came standard with wheel fairings. The patroller was for utility work, like pipeline inspections.”
Cessna promoted the 150 as the "world’s premier trainer" and borrowed many of the design characteristics from tailwheel Cessna models 120 and 140. Some of the 150's design improvements included side-by-side seating to facilitate instruction and tricycle landing gear for easier ground handling and landings. By the time the Cessna 152 replaced the 150 in 1978, more than 22,000 Model 150 airplanes had been manufactured. After the Cessna 172, the C-150/152 series was the second-best-selling Cessna aircraft.
The first C-150s came off the production line with a 100-hp Continental O-200 engine. It had a "turtledeck" fuselage, no back window, and a straight, squared-off tail. These unflattering characteristics meant poor visibility to the rear, modest baggage space, and a placard against spins. Over the years, the 150 experienced a number of modifications, some dramatic. In 1961, the main gear struts were moved aft two inches to improve tail-heavy tendencies on the ground, and tubular gear legs with a wider track were added in 1971. The baggage area was enlarged several times, and by the end of production, the 150 had more space than load capacity. A back window improved visibility in 1964, and appearance was enhanced by a swept tail in 1966. The gross weight was increased from 1,500 pounds to 1,600 pounds in 1964, and to 1,670 in 1978. Electric flaps of 40 degrees were installed in 1966; travel was later limited to 30Â°.
If considering the purchase of a 150/152, keep in mind that it was introduced as a small airplane, and despite Cessna’s modifications of bowing out the doors, narrowing the center console, and dropping the floor pan, it remained small throughout production. The seaplane and Aerobat are two variants of the 150/152 models.
Overall handling qualities of the Cessna 150 are described as "superb." The large number of civilian pilots introduced to flight in the Cessna 150/152 series is proof that Cessna was successful in designing a docile primary trainer. The first 150s produced cruised at 121 mph at 75% power, while the last 152 models cruised at 123 with the same power setting. When comparing the Piper Tomahawk, Beech Skipper, and Cessna 150, top speeds and useful load are very nearly the same in all three, but the Cessna tends to get off quicker and lands shorter. The 150's finest qualities are apparent during flight training procedures. It stalls well with a generous amount of warning and has "outstanding" stability on all axes. On the other hand, in anything other than light turbulence, the light wing loading can result in an uncomfortable ride.
If success can be measured by the number of pilots trained, the 150/152 is successful to the tune of 250,000. That's how many pilots have learned to fly in this airplane, and many more will.
- Brooks Whitney Almquist, AOPA Online
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