Cessna 150 History
The Cessna 150/152 series of Aircraft is the third most popular aircraft model ever made, behind the Cessna 172 and Piper Cherokee.
Founder Clyde Cessna built his first airplane in 1911 and taught himself to fly it! He went on to build a number of innovative airplanes, including several racing and award winning designs. In 1934, Clyde’s nephew, Dwane Wallace, fresh out of college, took over as head of the company. During the depression years Dwane acted as everything from floor sweeper to CEO, even personally flying company planes in air races (several of which he won!) Under Wallace’s leadership, the Cessna Aircraft Company eventually became the most successful general aviation company of all time.
Cessna first began production of two seat light planes in 1946 with the model 120 which had an all aluminum fuselage and fabric covered wings. This was followed by a nearly identical model 140, with aluminum clad wings. More than 7,000 model 120/140’s were sold. Cessna stopped production of the 140 in 1951 in order to focus on four seat aircraft.
In 1957 the company decided there was a market for a tri-geared version of the Model 140. Following their standard tailwheel/tricycle naming convention, Cessna named the new airplane the Cessna 142. Six days later, for reasons now unknown, the airplane was renamed the Cessna 150. A total of 683 C150’s were built between 1957 and 1959, all were sold as 1959 models.
In 1966 Cessna restyled the airplane, adding a jaunty slant to the tail. The new style was enormously popular with pilots. Cessna made 3,000 model 150s that year, the most of any year in the airplane’s history.
Cessna also began assembly of 150s at Reims Aviation in Reims, France in 1966. A total of 2,452 planes were built by Reims, including 47 assembled in Argentina.
During its 18 year production history there were many changes to the 150 airframe and configuration. But the 150 standard engine remained the same, a four cylinder, 100 horsepower, Continental 0-200.
In 1970 Cessna introduced the model 150 “Aerobat” which became very popular in the Aerobatic training market, and it remains a popular sport airplane today.
In 1978 Cessna introduced a revised model, the 152, with a 110 horsepower Lycoming 0-235 engine. The Lycoming was chosen to provide a long overdue increase in horsepower and make the 152 more compatible with the new 100LL fuel. The cabin was also widened slightly to make room for the increased girth of late 20th century pilots. Unlike the Model 150, there were few changes in 152s from one year to the next.
By the end of production in 1985, 31,533 Cessna 150/152s had been manufactured worldwide. More pilots have flown Cessna 150s and 152s than any other single model of airplane. Like most light plane companies in the US, Cessna stopped building light aircraft all together in the mid 1980’s because of excessive product liability lawsuits. The last Model 152 rolled off the production line in 1985.
Today Cessna is once again in the light aircraft business, building the 172, 182 and 206. Unfortunately, the high cost of production and insurance premiums make it unlikely that Cessna will reintroduce a two seat aircraft. In the meantime, used 150s and 152s are selling for three to five times their original price. Still, by comparison, the low quantities and astronomical prices of most other airplanes make the Cessna 150 and 152 one of the few genuine bargains in private aviation. Remarkably, 60 years after production began and 35 years since it ended, more than two thirds of all Cessna 150s and 152s built are still flying.
Total Number of Cessna 150s Manufactured: 23,948
Total Number of Cessna 152s Manufactured: 7,585
Known Number of Cessna 150-152s Currently Registered in North America: 19,877
Known Number of Cessna 150-152s Currently Registered Elsewhere: 2,869*
* from currently available international registration records.
Cessna 150 Factory Specs
|Top Speed||108 kts||109 kts||109 kts|
|Rate of Climb||740fpm||670fpm||670fpm|
|Max Range||548 nm||491 nm||420 nm|
Cessna 152 Factory Specs
|Top Speed||110 kts||110 kts||109 kts|
|Rate of Climb||715fpm||715fpm||715fpm|
|Max Range||415 nm||415 nm||370 Nm|