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The Cessna "Bamboo Bomber"

by John M. White |

Many years ago when I was flying out of the Capital City Airport in Lansing, MI for Hughes Flying Service a Cessna "Bamboo Bomber" showed up on the ramp just outside the office building. At that time we were flying Cessna 310s and a Cessna 206 on charter. I asked Harvey about the bird, and he asked me if I would like to fly it. It took me less than a second to answer, and shortly we climbed aboard and took to the air. I must admit flying a more or less wood twin engine airplane was an experience I will never forget. It was a terrific airplane and performed quite well, getting up to around 130mph at 6,000 feet.
The "Bamboo Bomber" was Cessna Aircraft Company's first aircraft and made its first flight on March 26, 1939 with Dwane Wallace at the controls. Built with the standard steel tube frame and covered with fabric, plywood and aluminum, a cantilever wing of laminated spruce and powered by a pair of Jacobs R-755-9 7 cylindar unsupercharged air cooled radial engines producing 245hp at takeoff. Selling for just under $ 30,000 it was designed to be a 5 place light transport. The amazing thing is that up until this aircraft was constructed Cessna had only built 126 single engine high wing fixed gear aircraft!

Here Comes The War

In 1940 the Army started purchasing the aircraft as an advanced multi-engine transition aircraft and by the end of the run some 5,399 model T-50s had been built. Here are two interesting videos on the Cessna "Bamboo Bomber": If you ever get a chance to fly one don't pass it up! Until next time keep your wings straight and level Hersch! JetAviator7 Remember, you fly an airplane with you head, not your hands and feet. — Bevo Howard

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