Since the 185 is obviously not the "best" Cessna ever made, let's discuss the 170 series.
Good looking, honest, esteemed, and venerable.
Will they haul the biggest load? Absolutely not. Will they get you there fast? Not a chance. But they are phenomenal flying airplanes, have excellent control harmony, unparalleled visibility (from a high-wing airplane anyway), and are generally well-mannered on the ground. Many people have opted to add more power, and those people are probably on to something. The C-145/O-300 is the weakest link in the design. It sounds great and is butter smooth, but just doesn't have enough power to get out of its own way when it's hot and DAs are at elevations that most people cruise.
Most of my total experience, as well as experience with 170s, has been in my family's 1952 170B that my grandfather bought when I was six months old. I've got every piece of paperwork on the airplane from the last 30 years, save all the dirty water from washes, and paper towels from checking the oil (kidding about the last two of course, but I do have a complete set of records). The airplane has not been damaged in the past, but has been through many owners and did sit outside for a period of two years when it was a year old and living in San Diego. On the east coast since 1957, she's lived on Ohio/PA/Virginia/New York/Maryland/North Carolina since then. I started flying the airplane when I was tall enough to reach the rudder pedals (10) and I turn 31 in May. I'm very attached to say the least, and the airplane is one of my few memories of my grandfather, who died when I was young, and is one of the few things that have bonded my father and I. I obviously took most of my primary training in the airplane, and took my commercial checkride in the airplane on Thanksgiving Day 2016. It's been threatened that I should fly it for a portion of my initial CFI ride in a few weeks.
I've flown a stock 1949 A model, another stock 1952 B model, another 1952 B model with 220 Franklin, and a 1953 model with a Continental IO-360. Both of the big engined ones had constant speed propellers. Oddly enough, the Lycoming O-360 is the most popular engine conversion in these airplanes, and the one I've yet to fly. Go figure.
But with relatively few ADs, good parts availability, and ravishing good looks, the airplane gets compliments wherever I land...even though she's far from a perfect example with moderate corrosion, hail damage, and shiny 20 year-old Imron with trash in every square inch of the paint as it was painted outside.
I've been fortunate enough to fly a sizable chunk of the SE engine legacy makes/models Cessna has produced, to include all of their taildraggers except a 185 and 120. If I were of unlimited means, I'd have one of every metal tailwheel design they've made. The 170 is a fine compromise of all of them, though a 180/185 is an unreal performer that has left me in serious doubts of my loyalty to its smaller sister, and the 190/195 will rarely be upstaged on any ramp onto which it taxis. I'm a big guy, so a 120/140 isn't much use for me and certainly doesn't have the room that the larger designs have.
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- Shot with my iPhone when I flew to another airport to do a post MX test flight on a BE-58 with a friend. Too pretty not to capture.
- 15219442_10102609850186351_6648341485179221769_n.jpg (92.46 KiB) Viewed 900 times
Why not indeed? A marvelous flying machine. I am saving my pennies for a 52 B that has been close to the family for at least 40 years. Hopefully this year. Ryan, where is yours located? I'd love to get a up close tour of an unmolested original 170.
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