Thirty years ago

Pilot - - PILOT -

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…)

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