Used Aircraft Guide

March 2013 Issue

Used Aircraft Guide: Cessna 120/140

Affordable, pleasant-handling, two-seat, 1940s-era Cessnas with better-than-average tailwheel manners.

During WWII, tens of thousands of Americans were either taught to fly by the U.S. military or were exposed to the routine use of air transport to cover long distances quickly. Aircraft manufacturers naturally assumed this fertile crop of newly released soldiers, armed with the recently enacted G.I. Bill of Rights, would generate a sales boom of staggering proportions. It did. While it was of far shorter duration than even the most pessimistic forecasts, huge numbers of new airplanes were manufactured. Piper was building Cubs and, soon, Cruisers and Pacers pretty much as fast as it could. With a few exceptions—Beech’s Bonanza or the Ercoupe, for example—most offerings were tailwheel machines. The first of Cessna’s to be built in volume was the diminutive Cessna 140, followed a month later by a stripped-down model called the 120. At the time, the Cessna 120/140s were perfectly serviceable and practical two-place airplanes. They were reasonably priced to buy and economical to own. Although they all initially had fabric wings, they were made mostly of metal, avoiding the periodic need for recovering.

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