Many a pilot has earned his or her wings in a Cessna trainer. “We like to say that we taught the world to fly,” said Cessna’s Angela Baldwin in this week’s selection from The Aviators.
The prolific general aviation aircraft manufacturer made its name in single-engine monoplanes. This year, the company is paying tribute to founder Clyde Cessna, who took flight 100 years ago. According to Cessna, Clyde purchased a copy of a Blériot XI fuselage, after watching the aircraft perform in Oklahoma City, Okla.; he and his brother mounted the engine and propeller. His first flights took place in May and June that year, Cessna said, and he started manufacturing aircraft in Wichita, Kan., in 1926.
“It's a source of pride for all Cessnans to know we are carrying the torch for a company started by a man with such a pioneering and tenacious spirit. One hundred years ago, Clyde Cessna taught himself to fly just eight years after the Wright brothers flew. That's historically significant, and that 'can do' spirit defines this company and is something all of us at Cessna intend to carry on," Cessna Senior Vice President of Product Engineering Dave Brant said in a news release.
Over the decades, Cessna has continued with that pioneering spirit, expanding beyond single-engine aircraft. Now the company has a product line ranging from trainers to business jets—and jets like the Citation Mustang are “not your grandaddy’s Cessna,” The Aviators’ Anthony Nalli said.