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Classic Wings Magazine WWII Naval Aviation Research Pacific Luftwaffe Resource Center
When Hollywood Ruled The Skies - Volumes 1 through 4 by Bruce Oriss

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 07, 2018 5:08 pm 

Joined: Wed Jun 01, 2011 11:23 am
Posts: 587
I'm doing a magazine article on the full restoration of the number-one Cessna 172, which won the Vintage Contemporary category as Oshkosh last summer.

Which got me wondering: How did Cessna come up with the designations 120, 140, 170, 172 and others of the 100-series single-engine aircraft? (No need to get into the 200s, 300s, 400s...) The only semi-logical explanation I've ever heard is that 172 is the square footage of the wing area, but in fact the wing area is 174 square feet, and they never called the Skyhawk a 174.

Did Cessna just pull these numbers out of...thin air? When car manufacturers come up with numeric and alphanumeric designators, there is always some relationship to displacement, number of cylinders or doors, or something of the sort, but I can't imagine what Cessna's rationale was. Certainly they're not engineering-model designators, like what Porsche uses.

Any ideas?

PostPosted: Sun Jan 07, 2018 10:15 pm 

Joined: Sun Dec 17, 2006 6:10 pm
Posts: 515
Location: Portersville, PA
After perusing the Cessna 100 series models on Aerofiles, I find the only model block missing is 130. They did jump around a bit, 190 to 170 and the infamous 162 LSA most recently. I would go with the thin air theory.

PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2018 8:10 am 
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Joined: Wed Aug 18, 2010 12:51 pm
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Location: Chandler, AZ
Including renaming the 175 as the P172D "Powermatic" to try to get out from the 175's (undeserved) reputation

Lest Hero-worship raise it's head and cloud our vision, remember that World War II was fought and won by the same sort of twenty-something punks we wouldn't let our daughters date.

PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2018 11:36 am 

Joined: Wed Sep 13, 2006 2:48 pm
Posts: 403
Location: Houston, Texas
Always wondered that myself. Maybe try asking on the 120/140 forum:


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