Thirty years ago
Cover flight test for November 1987 was ‘ the last Cessna 152’, Alan Bramson flying one of the last six examples built at Reims. It is hard to believe it now, but following a series of lawsuits, Cessna and Piper had halted production of piston engined singles and only Beech and Mooney continued to make piston-engined aircraft.
Bramson’s flight test is salted with wit and full of wisdom. It makes very entertaining and informative reading. On the genesis of the 150/152 he wrote ‘A family of radial-engined Cessnas with a dislike of crosswinds gave way, after the war, to the Model 120, a charming and practical two-seat tailwheel design of excellent value… The advantages of a nose-wheel undercarriage vis-à-vis tailwheels more than outweigh their disadvantages, and it was only a matter of time before Cessna and Piper followed airliner and military practice. The tailwheel Cessna 120/140 was replaced by the nose-wheel 150… In 1977 production ceased and the Cessan 152 appeared, although it was really no more than an improved 150; they might as well have called it the 150XYZ or something.’
‘Old Timers’ was yet to appear, so it was left to ‘Notes’ to report on vintage stuff. Two aeroplanes that catch the eye – not least because they are illustrated in colour – are the MoraneSaulnier 230 (a Blue Max connection here) just sold to Kermit Weeks and Brian Woodford’s Lysander, bought from Blackbushe owner Doug Arnold and rebuilt by Doug Bianchi’s Personal Plane Services at Booker (small world…)