Cessna Warbirds: A Detailed and Personal History of Cessna's Involvement in the Armed Forces

By Howard, David | Air & Space Power Journal, Winter 1997 | Go to article overview

Cessna Warbirds: A Detailed and Personal History of Cessna's Involvement in the Armed Forces


Howard, David, Air & Space Power Journal


Cessna Warbirds: A Detailed and Personal History of Cessna's Involvement in the Armed Forces by Walt Shiel. Jones Publishing, Inc., Iola, Wisconsin 54945, 1995, 328 pages, $29.95.

Cessna Warbirds is a true military aviation enthusiast's delight-an in-depth look at a heretofore neglected topic. In this one volume, the reader not only gets thorough coverage of Cessna aircraft used by militaries throughout the world, but also an examination of the Cessna Corporation. The author, former Air Force pilot Walt Shiel, has been in the military or associated with the military aviation industry for over 25 years. Eighteen hundred of his four thousand flying hours have been in military Cessnas. During his spare time, he has done freelance aviation writing for various magazines, which helped provide the genesis for Cessna Warbirds-likely to be the reference on military Cessnas for years to come.

The book opens with a short but comprehensive chapter about the origins of the Cessna Aircraft Corporation and the company's bid to stay solvent in the 1930s by competing for both civil and military contracts. It is interesting to discover that Cessna-now a predominantly light-aircraft manufacturer-did make forays into the commercial airliner market, did (and still does) subcontractor work for many commercial aircraft manufacturers, and has commercial-to-military sales ratios similar to those of aviation giant Boeing. After this interesting opening chapter and another short chapter on aircraft nomenclature and numbering, Shiel provides 15 more chapters that examine Cessna aircraft used by the world's military services. …

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