Take a Cessna 182. Now stretch it a bit so that it can hold five passengers and carry 63 gallons of fuel. That’s essentially the Cessna 206, also known as the Stationair. Like the 182, the 206 is a high-wing, strut-braced, fixed-gear airplane.
The 206 has done well for the Cessna brand since its introduction in 1964; Textron still produces the turbo version of the 206 at its factory in Wichita, Kansas, and it is one of only three Cessna piston singles manufactured today. The 206s in the field do heavy lifting as family wagons, cargo carriers, small air taxi operators, and skydiver transports. They can land on unimproved airstrips in the jungle, tundra, mountains, or anything in between. Put them on amphibious floats or skis and they’re perfectly at home on the water or on snow. AOPA’s 1999 sweepstakes airplane was a Cessna 206 dubbed the Aero SUV.
The standard 206 flies behind a 285-horsepower Continental IO-520 engine; the turbocharged version hustles along behind a 310-horsepower Lycoming IO-540. The 206 is said to be a stable airplane with somewhat heavy controls. That useful load we’ve been hinting at is 1,750 pounds. For the normally aspirated engine expect a cruise speed of 142 knots at 75 percent power. In the turbo version you’re likely to see 154 knots true airspeed at 75 percent power, with a fuel burn of 19.1 gph.