The recent post with the cool retro ad for the 1966 Cessna 150 has stirred up a lot of thoughts for me concerning the direction general aviation aircraft have taken over the last 50 years. I admit I’m extremely old-school when it comes to aircraft design, but that doesn't mean I’m old-fashioned. It has a lot more to do with the idea that an airplane should be designed in such a way that it stirs you emotionally. Great design means the airplane is certainly gonna perform as desired, that’s a must, but it should also do more than just move your body from point A to point B… it should move you on the inside too.
Having said all that, this beautiful airplane pictured here is what I wish Cessna would have done for the 1966 150. In my little fantasy world, this would have all happened after they had finally come to the realization that ‘progress’ was killing their little 2 seat airplane. What is pictured here is really a 1959 150 that was converted to a taildragger and then given a gorgeous paint job reminiscent of a classic Cessna 180 scheme. The work was done by the good people at TaildraggerAviation, and it’s pretty obvious to me that these people think like I do.
The transformation from a rather dumpy tri-gear putt putt to a lean looking and proud taildragger worthy of the coolest aviators is pretty amazing. I look at this picture and I think: I’d love to have one of those! And I can tell ya, I have never ever ‘wanted’ a Cessna 150 before, but they way this one looks changes all my thinking.
I would have been so pleased if Cessna had realized that the ’66 150 really needed to be a taildragger, for the good of aviation. I’m not suggesting that ALL airplanes drag their tail, but I would suggest that ALL students should learn from day one in a taildragger. It forces you to be a better pilot, and better pilots make the whole world of aviation a better place.
Lastly, I wish in 2006, 40 years after the 1966 150 introduced the swept tail and electric flaps, that Cessna would have jumped the tracks that lead to the Skycatcher and instead would have taken the bold step to re-introduce the 150 as it looks here. Resurrecting the old type certificate could have saved loads of money over starting from scratch, and since they wound up using the O-200 engine in the Skycatcher anyway, they could have skipped the LSA idea and made an airplane with real utility and buckets full of curb appeal. Oh, and maybe then they could have seen fit to build it in the U.S. too instead of China.
If you really wanna see what I think the modern 2 seater ought to look like, check out my DreamBird. I originally drew it with the 110hp Rotec radial in mind, but it would be even more fun with the 150hp : )