The various versions of the 188 — the AGwagon, AGpickup, AGtruck and AGhusky, along with the AGcarryall variant of the 185, constituted Cessna's line of agricultural aircraft.
In the early 1960s Cessna decided to expand their already wide line of light aircraft by entering the agricultural aircraft market. They surveyed pilots and operators of other brands of agricultural aircraft to see what features and capabilities these operators were looking for. The resulting aircraft was a conventional single-seat, piston-powered, strut-braced low-winged agricultural airplane.
The Cessna 188 borrowed heavily from the Cessna 180, the initial version using the same tail cone and fin structure as well as the same Continental O-470-R 230hp (170kW) powerplant. The 188’s airframe is predominantly built from 2024-T3 aluminum, with the chemical hopper constructed from fibreglass. The fuselage is of semi-monocoque construction and is pressurized on later models (using the dynamic pressure resulting from the aircraft's forward speed) to reduce induction of chemicals into the airframe.
The initial design of the Cessna 188 was so successful that over its 17-year production run the basic airframe remained unchanged. Only the engines and the agricultural products dispensing systems were upgraded, other than some minor changes to the ventilation systems.
A total of 3967 Cessna 188s of all four variants were built during its production run.
Cessna 188-230 AGpickup
The first 188 features a Continental O-470-R 230hp (170kW) powerplant, along with a 200 US gallon (760 liter) chemical hopper. It was named the AGpickup starting in 1972 and became the economy model of the 188 line, being initially offered in 1966 at a base price of $15,995. The AGpickup was last produced in 1974.
Cessna A188-300 AGwagon
The A188 was the first 300 hp (250 kW) Cessna 188 and is powered by the Continental IO-520-D and features a 200 US gallon chemical hopper. It was introduced in 1966 alongside the lower-horsepower AGpickup at a base price of $18,950. The A188 was named the AGwagon in 1972. It ceased production in 1980.
Cessna A188B-300 AGtruck
The AGtruck was introduced in 1972 with an increased maximum takeoff weight in the restricted agricultural category of 4200 pounds (1905 kg) and a 280 US gallon (1060 liter) hopper. It is powered by the same 300 hp (250 kW) Continental IO-520-D powerplant as the AGwagon, with a standard two blade fixed pitch or optional three blade constant speed McCauley propeller. Standard price at introduction in 1972 was $30,500. The AGtruck continued in production until the end of the 188 production in 1983.
Cessna T188C AGhusky
The AGhusky is the highest powered 188 version, combining the 280 US gallon hopper with a turbo-charged and fuel-injected 310 hp (230kW) Continental TSIO-520-T engine powering a three-bladed constant speed McCauley propeller. The bigger engine results in the AGhusky being seven inches (178 mm) longer than the other 188 models. Gross weight on this version is 4400 lb (1995 kg). Initial standard price when production started in 1979 was $60,350 and the final base price in 1983 was $102,600. The AGhusky ended its production run after four years in 1983.
Though the design is no longer in production, Cessna 188s are still in demand for use in agricultural applications, firefighting and also for glider and banner towing. The 188 is prized by aerial operators for its simplicity and ease of maintenance as well as its good parts support from Cessna.
Specifications (1973 Cessna A188B-300 AGtruck)
Published - July 2009
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