Cessna 120, Bushby MM II Midget-Mustang, and Piper U-11A Aztec

Cessna 120 (left)

The Cessna 120 and 140 were designed at the end of World War II to take advantage of what was hoped would be massive growth in the private pilot training industry. U.S. Government education grants to returning veterans were allowed for pilot training and Cessna hoped to grab much of the flight school market with these two modern, simple, and relatively inexpensive designs. As it turned out both aircraft were very popular and many pilots received their introduction to flight in the 140 or 120. By August of 1946, Cessna was turning out twenty-two Model 120s and Model 140s a day. Production of the Model 120 ended in 1949 with 2,171 built.

The Model 120 is a simplified version of the Model 140. Differences include the deletion of the wing flaps and rear quarter fuselage windows and a simplified interior. Otherwise the aircraft were virtually identical in construction and appearance. The Model 120 was built with a fabric-covered wing, which has been replaced with aluminum on the museum’s example

Bushby MM II Midget-Mustang (center)

Dave Long, an engineer with the Piper Company, introduced the original Midget Mustang in 1948. It was intended as a factory production aircraft, but the expected market never developed. Nevertheless, the design quickly became popular with homebuilders. In 1959, Robert Bushby bought the rights to the aircraft and took over producing the plans and kits. In 1963 he began design of a modified version with two-seats called the Mustang II. This version retained the original’s racing inspired design and performance while increasing the plane’s carrying capacity. Since its formal introduction in 1965 homebuilders around the world have built over 400 Mustang II aircraft.

Piper U-11A Aztec(right)

The Piper PA-23 was one of the first twin-engine light aircraft available in the United States. It was introduced in 1954 as the four-seat Apache. The popularity of the design led Piper to develop the larger six-seat Aztec that also incorporated more powerful engines. In 1960, the U.S. Navy purchased twenty Aztecs for use as short-range transports designating them UO-1. They were also used to allow Navy pilots who had been assigned non-flying duties to maintain their skills and flight pay. The designation was changed in 1962 to U-11. The Aztecs remained in Navy service until the mid-1970s.
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