Tag Archives: Continental Aircraft Engine Company

12 June 1955

Prototype Cessna 172 N41678, serial number 612. (Flying Magazine, December 1955, Volume 57, Number 6, at Page 22)

12 June 1955:  On Sunday morning, 12 June 1955, Cessna Aircraft Company test pilot Emil Brown (“Fritz”) Feutz, took off from Cessna Aircraft Field (CEA), southeast of Wichita, Kansas, with the new prototype Model 172, N41678, and flew west to a grass runway near Kingman, Kansas, approximately 48 miles (78 kilometers) to the west. Also on board was an observer, D.G. Underwood. The airplane was stored in a small hangar. Feutz conducted the flight and certification testing at Kingman.

This color photograph of the prototype Cessna 172, N41678, was featured in a 1956 sales brochure. (Cessna Airplane Co. via cessna.org)
A prototype Cessna 170C, this is 170B serial number 609, N37892. (Cessna Aircraft Co.)

N41678, serial number 612, was originally a prototype for the Model 170C “tail-dragger.” It featured new, straight tail surfaces, in place of the classic rounded style. The airplane was then modified with tricycle-configuration landing gear. With the airplane in a horizontal attitude, the pilot had better visibility while on the ground. Taxiing, takeoff and landing were much easier. Flight testing showed that the increased drag slowed the 172 by about 5 miles per hour (8 kilometers per hour) when compared to the 170.

The Civil Aeronautics Administration (predecessor to the Federal Aviation Administration) approved the airplane’s type certificate, 3A12, on 4 November 1955.

The Cessna 172 was an immediate success, with 1,174 being produced in 1956. Total production of the original model was 3,808, before production changed to the Model 172A in 1960. During the 1960s, Cessna began marketing the airplane with the name Skyhawk.

The 172 was in production from 1956 until 1986, when product liability lawsuits made the cost of the airplane unaffordable. Production resumed in 1996 and continues today. More than 44,000 have been built in at least 24 variants by Cessna and its licensee, Reims Aviation Industries, in France. This is greater than any other aircraft type, and only the Lockheed C-130 Hercules has been in production longer.

N41678, the first Cessna 172. (Cessna Aircraft Co.)

The Cessna 172 is a single-engine, four-place, high-wing, all-metal light airplane with fixed tricycle landing gear. The first production airplane was serial number 28000, registered N5000A. (This airplane is currently registered to an owner in Quincy, Illinois.) The list price in 1956 was $8,995.

Dimensions of the first Cessna 172 have been elusive. The current production model, the 172S Skyhawk, is 27 feet, 2 inches (8.280 meters) long, with a wingspan of 36 feet, 1 inch (10.998 meters) and height of 8 feet, 11 inches (2.718 meters). The wing is externally braced and has a 1° 30′ angle of incidence at the root, with 3° negative twist. The dihedral is 1° 44′. The total wing area is 174 square feet (16.17 square meters).

Certified in the Normal Category, the original Model 172 had an empty weight of 1,290 pounds (585 kilograms), and gross weight of 2,200 pounds (998 kilograms). It was also certified in the Utility Category as a 2-place airplane, with a maximum gross weight reduced to 1,950 pounds (885 kilograms). The Model 172S Skyhawk has a standard empty weight of 1,663 pounds (754 kilograms), and maximum takeoff weight of 2,550 pounds (1,157 kilograms).

Continental O-300 (Flying Magazine)

The Cessna 172 was powered by an air-cooled, normally-aspirated, 301.370 cubic inch (4.939 liter) Continental O-300-A ¹ six-cylinder, horizontally-opposed, overhead valve engine. It has two valves per cylinder, a compression ratio of 7.0:1, and is rated at 145 horsepower at 2,700 r.p.m. using 80/87-octane aviation gasoline. The O-300-A is a right-hand tractor, direct-drive engine which turns a two-bladed, fixed-pitch, metal propeller with a diameter of 6 feet, 4 inches (1.930 meters). It is  2 feet, 1115/32 inches (0.9009 meters) long, 2 feet, 7½ inches (0.800 meters) wide and 2 feet, 313/32 inches (0.6961 meters) high. This engine weighs 268 pounds (121.6 kilograms), dry.

The Cessna 172S has a Maximum Structural Cruising Speed (VNO) of 126 knots (145 miles per hour/233 kilometers per hour), and the Never Exceed speed (VNE) is 160 knots (184 miles per hour/296 kilometers per hour).

There are two 28.0-gallon (106.0 liter) fuel tanks in the wings, with 53.0 gallons (200.6 liters) usable. The airplane has a maximum range at 75% power and 8,500 feet (2,591 meters) is 518 nautical miles (596 statute miles/959 kilometers).

The service ceiling is 14,000 feet (4,267 meters).

A very early production Cessna 172, serial number 28008, registered N5008A. (Cessna Aircraft Co./Ed Coates Collection)

Emil Brown Feutz was born at Wichita, Kansas, 1 July 1923. He was the son of Wallace Frederic Feutz and Lelah Mae Brown Feutz. He attended the Missouri Military Academy, a private college preparatory school at Mexico, Missouri.

Emil Brown Feutz. (The 1942 Savitar)

In 1941, “Buddie” Feutz entered the University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri, as an engineering student. He was a member of the Sigma Nu (ΣΝ) fraternity.

Feutz was a member of the Class of 1945, but World War II interrupted his college plans. He enlisted in the United States Army at Jefferson Barracks, south of St. Louis, Missouri, on 25 January 1943. U.S. Army records say that was 6 feet, 0 inches (1.828 meters) tall and weighed 143 pounds (65 kilograms).

On 18 September 1949, Emil Feutz married Miss Dorothy Jean Estep, who was also at the University of Missouri, and an employee of LIFE Magazine. They would have four children.

Following the war, Feutz returned to the University of Missouri. He was a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the Engine Club. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering (B.S.M.E.) in 1952.

E.B. “Fritz” Feutz. (SETP)

Fritz Feutz worked as an aerodynamicist and flight test engineer for the Beech Aircraft Corporation, 1950 to 1953. He flew as a test pilot for Cessna from 1953 until 1957, then went to the McDonnell Aircraft Company at St. Louis, Missouri. In 1961, Feutz founded his own company, Testair, Inc., also in St. Louis. He was a member of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots.

Emil Brown Feutz died at his home in Columbia, Missouri, 1 September 2013, at the age of 90 years. He was buried at Elmwood Cemetery, Mexico, Missouri.

The new Cessna 172 was featured on the cover of the December 1955 issue of FLYING. (Ziff-Davis Publications)

¹ “0-300-A is similar to C145-2 except parts material and ignition component substitutions.”TYPE CERTIFICATE DATA SHEET NO. E-253

NOTE: TDiA reader steve.c told us about this 25-minute video from WQEC TV’s “Illinois Stories,” featuring the beautifully restored N5000A, the first production Cessna 172:

© 2018, Bryan R. Swopes

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10 April 1972

Windover’s Interstate Cadet S-1A, with Pikes Peak in the background. Inset: Lieutenant-Colonel W. Roy Windover, RCAF, in the cockpit of his Interstate Cadet. (UPI)
LCol W. Roy Windover RCAF

10 April 1972: Lieutenant-Colonel W. Roy Windover, Royal Canadian Air Force, a pilot assigned to the North American Air Defense Command (NORAD), set a Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) World Record for Altitude when he flew a 1941 Interstate Cadet S-1A, N37239, to an altitude of 9,388 meters (30,801 feet) ¹ over Pikes Peak, a 14,115 foot (4,320 meter) mountain in the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains, near Colorado Springs, Colorado.

For this achievement, the FAI awarded him its Médaille Louis Blériot.

Lieutenant-Colonel Windover had previously set a Canadian national record by flying a Cessna 140 to 27,050 feet (8,245 meters).

William Roy Windover was born 26 November 1924 at Belleville, Ontario, Canada. He was the son of William Everette Windover and Ella May Charlton Windover.

Pikes Peak, 14,115.19 feet (4,302.31 meters), west of Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Roy Windover learned to fly in 1941. He joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1943. He was “seconded” to the Royal Navy and Royal Canadian Navy.

Windover married Genevia Topelko, 10 Feb 1945. They would have three children, Jo-Anne, Roy and Rodderick. They later divorced. Mrs. Windover died in 2005.

In 1958, Flight Lieutenant Windover had been the first Royal Canadian Air Force Red Knight, a solo aerobatics demonstration performer, flying a bright red Canadair CT-133 Silver Star.

In 1974–1974, Windover served at National Defense Headquarters, Ottawa.

On 26 April 1983, Lieutenant-Colonel Windover married Cecile Rose Bruyere.

Lieutenant-Colonel William Roy Windover, Royal Canadian Air Force, Retired, died in an automobile accident, 29 May 1990 at the age of 65 years. He was buried at the Beechwood National Cemetery, Carleton, Ontario.

Roy Windover’s Red Knight CT-133 Silver Star, 21057.

Windover’s Interstate Cadet S-1A, serial number 82, was built by the Interstate Aircraft and Engineering Company, El Segundo, California, in 1941. The airplane was assigned an Airworthiness Certificate on 18 December 1958 and registered N37239.

The Cadet was a single-engine, high-wing monoplane with a tandem cockpit and fixed landing gear. The fuselage of the Cadet was built of a tubular steel framework. The wings had two spruce spars with Alclad metal ribs. The leading edges were covered in Dural sheet and the complete wing then covered in doped fabric. The wing support struts were made of tubular steel. The S-1A was 24 feet, 0 inches (7.315 meters) long with a wingspan of 35 feet, 6 inches (10.820 meters) and height of 7 feet, 3 inches (2.210 meters). The airplane had an empty weight of 720 pounds (327 kilograms) and maximum weight of 1,200 pounds (544 kilograms).

Interstate Cadet S-1A NC34939, the same type airplane flown W. Roy Windover to set a World Record for Altitude 10 April 1972.

The Interstate Cadet S-1A was powered by an air-cooled, normally-aspirated 171.002-cubic-inch-displacement (2.802 liter) Continental A65-8 horizontally-opposed four cylinder direct-drive engine, with a compression ratio of 6.3:1. It was rated at 65 horsepower at 2,300 r.p.m. at Sea Level, using 73-octane gasoline. The engine turned a two-bladed fixed-pitch wooden propeller with a diameter of 6 feet, 4 inches (1.930 meters).

At the time N37239 set this record, it was powered by an air-cooled, normally-aspirated, 171.002-cubic-inch-displacement (2.802 liter) Continental A75 horizontally-opposed four-cylinder engine with a compression ratio of 6.3:1, rated at 75 horsepower at 2,600–2,650 r.p.m. (depending on variant) at Sea Level. The A75 also required a minimum grade73-octane aviation gasoline.

The Cadet S-1A had a maximum speed of 103 miles per hour (166 kilometers per hour) in level flight, and 139 miles per hour (224 kilometers per hour) in a dive. The service ceiling was 14,500 feet (4,420 meters). The S-1A’s fuel capacity was 15 gallons (57 liters). Its maximum range was approximately 350 miles (563 kilometers).

Approximately 320 Cadets were built by Interstate during 1941–1942. In 1942 and 1943, another 259 were built as OX-63, L-6 and L-8 Grasshopper light observation airplanes.

N37239 caught fire during a training flight near Amarillo, Texas, 12 January 1995. After an emergency landing, the airplane was destroyed by the fire. The cause was not determined. The airplane was rebuilt and issued an Airworthiness Certificate 8 April 1999. It is currently registered in Farmington, Missouri.²

¹ FAI Record File Number 1918

² FAA registration cancelled 12 March 2018.

© 2019, Bryan R. Swopes

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