Cess who? This piece on the Cessna 170 says it all!
As traffic jams become more commonplace in many busy cities around the world today, many would joke about taking helicopters to work. Many do not know, though, that in the 1940s, the Cessna Aircraft Company already thought about this. They thought of the man who traveled for work, or the “businessman-pilot.” Lo and behold, by 1948, the Cessna 170 was born.
According to a piece written by Mark Twombly for AOPA Pilot, the Cessna 170 “was conceived as a growth version of the two-seat Cessna 120/140.” Its wings were fabric-covered, had rounded tips, and V-type struts. It had a fuel tank capable of carrying 37.5 gallons of fuel — three times the capacity of its predecessor, the C140.
In February 1948, the first two Cessna 170 prototypes were built. In June of that year, it was certificated as a Normal category airplane. Its gross weight was 2,200 lbs. By July 1948, Cessna 170 received Utility category certification with a gross weight of 1,900 lbs.
There were 714 Cessna 170 airplanes built in 1948. Later that same year, the 170A was released. From 1948 to 1951, there were 1,522 Cessna 170As built. In 1952, the 170B was introduced. It possessed improvements from both the C170 and C170A models. Production of the Cessna 170 planes ceased in 1956 upon the introduction of the 172.
Today, this economical and versatile four-seater plane is still a joy to own and fly, for pilots young and old, and those curious about tailwheels which the Cessna 170 is known to have. (Tailwheel aircraft require more precise control on the ground, compared to those with nosewheels.)
Globalair.com lists the following specs of the C170, for proud owners and for those still planning to buy and fly this classic:
Exterior Height: 6 ft 7 in
Wing Span: 36 ft
Length: 24 ft 12 in
Max T/O Weight: 2200 Lb
Max Landing Weight: 1900 Lb
Empty Weight: 1260 Lb
Fuel Capacity: 42 gal Lb
Payload Useful: 995 Lb
Max Range: 514 nm
Service Ceiling: 15500 ft
Takeoff Distance: 650 ft
Landing Distance: 460 ft
Rate of Climb: 690 fpm
Max Speed: 140 kts
Normal Cruise: 124 kts
Economy Cruise: 105 kts
Engine Mfg: Continental
Engine Model: C1452
Maintaining a Cessna 170
The first Cessna 170 sold for USD $5,475 to USD $5,995 per unit in 1948. Today, it’s somewhere in the USD $150,000 price range. Think of it like a highly coveted classic car for pilots — the subject of many exciting restoration projects.
The Cessna 170 exhaust maintenance is important so you can keep flying your aircraft worry-free (so it does not just gather dust in a corner of a hangar). It requires careful and regular inspection to make sure your C170 stays in tip-top shape.
In the words of pilot Peter Turner who took a Cessna 170 for a test flight in 2018: “The Cessna 170 is a lovely benign aeroplane to fly. I cannot think of a taildragger that is so easy to operate, or so versatile, and this one is a beauty in every respect.”