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Cessna 170

By Wikipedia,
the free encyclopedia,


Cessna 170
Role Light Personal Aircraft
Manufacturer Cessna Aircraft Company
Introduced 1948
Produced 1948-1956
Number built 5,174
Variants O-1 Bird Dog
Cessna 172

An early production Cessna 170
An early production Cessna 170

Cessna 170A on an ice runway near Ottawa, Ontario
Cessna 170A on an ice runway near Ottawa, Ontario

Cessna 170B in flight
Cessna 170B in flight

Cessna 170B
Cessna 170B

Cessna 170B at Centennial Airport
Cessna 170B at Centennial Airport

The Cessna 170 is a light, single-engine, general aviation aircraft produced by the Cessna Aircraft Company between 1948 and 1956.



Beginning in late 1948, Cessna sold the 170, with metal fuselage and tail and fabric covered wings. These earliest Cessna 170s were essentially four-seat versions of the popular 140 with a more powerful 145 hp (108 kW) Continental O-300 and larger fuel tanks. Like the 140, they were constructed of metal with fabric-covered wings supported by a "V" strut.


In 1949 Cessna began marketing the 170A, an all-metal 170 with zero-dihedral wings, and a single strut replacing the "V" strut of the 170. The price was roughly $5,500. This and subsequent versions of the 170 shared the fin/rudder shape of the larger Cessna 190 and 195 models.


In 1950, the United States Air Force, Army and Marines began using the military variant of the 170, the Model 305, designated the L-19 and later O-1 Bird Dog by the military. It was used as a forward air control and reconnaissance aircraft. The Bird Dog was extensively re-designed from the basic 170 and included a revised fuselage and wing with large modified-Fowler flaps that deploy up to 60°.


In 1952, the Cessna 170B was introduced featuring a new wing incorporating dihedral similar to the military version. The B model was equipped with very effective modified-Fowler (slotted, rearward-traveling) wing flaps which deflect up to 40° and a wing design that lives on in the Cessna light singles of today (constant NACA 2412 section with a chord of 64 inches (1,600 mm) from centerline to 100 inches (2,500 mm) out, then tapering to 44-inch (1,100 mm) NACA 2412 section chord at 208 inches from centerline, with three-degree washout across the tapered section). The 170B model also included a new tailplane, a revised tailwheel, larger rear windows and other refinements over the 170 and 170A.

In 1955, the previously elliptical rear side windows were changed to a more square design.


The 170 is equipped with conventional landing gear, which is more challenging to land than tricycle landing gear. In 1956, Cessna introduced a replacement for the 170 that was essentially a nosewheel-equipped 170B with a square fin, designated the 172. 170 production was halted soon after the 172 became available.

Model 309 & 319

Between 1951 and 1955 Cessna used 170s as test beds for Boundary layer control research, designating them as models 309 and 319. The Model 309 was 1951 project done in conjunction with the US Navy and the University of Wichita and used a Cessna 170A modified with a turbine engine to blow air over the wing.

In February 1952 the 309A flew, using an engine-driven electric generator to run fans located within the wings to generate airflow that was blown over the wings.

The 1953 Model 309B used dry chemical to blow air across the wings and flaps, as did the 1954 experiments on the 309C.

Also flown in 1953 was the model 319, a Cessna 170A equipped with a Continental 225 hp (168 kW) powerplant and larger flaps along with the boundary layer control. The 319 demonstrated the capability of taking off in 190 ft (58 m), landing in 160 ft (49 m) and clearing a 50 ft (15 m) obstacle in 450 ft (137 m). The aircraft had a measured stall speed of 28 kn (52 km/h).

The 309/319 research projects were deemed a success, but the results were difficult to convert into commercial use and the aircraft were difficult to operate. One company test pilot described the aircraft on the test report following his first flight as: "All in all, a rather nasty little monster!".


Over 5,000 Cessna 170s were built and over 2,000 are still in service today. Prized as vintage aircraft by their owners, many have been totally restored and are very well cared for.

Type Clubs

The Cessna 170 is supported by several Aircraft Type Clubs, including The International Cessna 170 Association and the Cessna Pilots Association.

Specifications (170B)

Data from {name of first source}

General characteristics

  • Crew: 1
  • Capacity: 4 occupants
  • Length: 24 ft 11.5 in (7.61 m)
  • Wingspan: 36 ft (10.97 m)
  • Height: 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m)
  • Wing area: 174 sq ft (16.2 m²)
  • Empty weight: 1,205 lb (547 kg)
  • Loaded weight: 2,200 lb (998 kg)
  • Useful load: 995 lb (451 kg)
  • Max takeoff weight: 2,200 lb (998 kg)
  • Powerplant: 1× Continental O-300-A (2-blade Fixed pitch metal, 76 inch diameter), 145 hp (108 kW)
  • *Fuel capacity: 42 U.S. gal (160 L; 35 imp gal)


See also

Related development

Comparable aircraft

External links

Text from Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License; additional terms may apply.

Published in July 2009.

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