By Robert Barron, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
Today it will be 100 years since Clyde Cessna proposed a flyover of Enid, which ended up never taking place.
But a group of local members of the Experimental Aircraft Association plan to fly over Meadowlake Park and Enid to follow through with Cessna’s century-old idea.
Dee Ann Ediger, president of the association, said the flyover idea started when some of the members attended a program on the history of Cessna and his connections to Enid. Cessna arranged a flyover of the city July 4, 1911, with his new airplane. The flyover did not take place, but Ediger thinks it is because the plane was not yet ready. The first successful Cessna flight did not occur until August 1911, said Ediger.
“We thought about doing it 100 years later. I e-mailed chapter members and we got some replies,” Ediger said.
Enid Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 455 plans to carry out that flight this evening 7:30 to 8 p.m. The flight will begin at Enid Woodring Regional Airport and complete a counterclockwise circuit over Meadowlake Park, Oakwood Road, North Enid and back to the airport.
Several members are Cessna enthusiasts and will fly Cessna models 150/152, 172, 177, 182, 210 and the 337, Ediger said. The 150/152 is a two-seater and has been the trainer of choice for thousands of pilots since its introduction in 1958.
The four-seat Cessna 172 has been marketed toward the growing class of business pilots since 1956. In 1956 Cessna also came out with the 182 Skylane as a big, solid, powerful handful for those wanting just a little more size and power than the 172, she said.
Cessna introduced the 177 Cardinal as a sporty four-seat replacement for the 172, but several design changes made the transition unpopular and the plane was produced in tandem with the 172 until 1978, when it was discontinued. In 1960, the 210 was the first high-wing light aircraft with fully retractable landing gear.
Ediger said the twin-engine 337 began production in 1961, with a unique push-pull action of an engine in the front and one in the rear. It was developed as a commercial aircraft because of the inline engines. During Vietnam it was used as a forward-air-control ship and was outfitted with rockets and guns.
Ediger said the group will have a safety briefing at 7 p.m. at Woodring and she expects them to fly a counterclockwise route. They will take off at 30-second to one minute intervals and will fly about a mile apart.
Ediger said she does not know if the flight will become an annual event.
“Depending on how this goes, this was a spur-of-the-moment thing since this is the anniversary of Cessna’s flight. It’s awfully hot this time of year to be flying. Many of the planes are without air conditioning, especially in the afternoon when it is hot and bumpy. I don’t know it if will be a regular thing or not,” she said.
Cessna ceased manufacture of airplanes in 1980 because of lawsuits involving all types of aircraft, which made liability insurance rates skyrocket. A law later was passed stating after 15 years the manufacturer cannot be sued for faulty equipment. That caused liability rates to lower and Cessna began making aircraft again in 1998. The Cessna aircraft flying today will be those of the 1960s and ’70s era.