The Cessna 180 is a four- or six-seat, fixed conventional gear general aviation airplane. Produced between 1953 and 1981, It started life as a more powerful development of the 170, and evolved into a family of useful utility aircraft that was in production for over three decades. It eventually came to be known as the “Skywagon”.
Though it is no longer in production, many of these aircraft are still in use in utility roles such as bush flying and as personal aircraft.
The first 180s were basically Model 170s with a more powerful 170kW (225hp) O-470-A engine. The first of its kind flew in 1952 and deliveries began in February the following year. The arrival of the tricycle 180 based 182 in 1956 ended the 180′s career as a high performance single. Fortunately, the type had already established itself a useful role as a utility aircraft by then.
Geraldine Mock, the first woman pilot to successfully fly around the world chose the Cessna 180 as her aircraft, thus gaining the 180 its recognition. The Cessna factory obtained the aircraft and kept it at the Pawnee (Wichita, Kansas) manufacturing plant after the epic flight, suspended from the ceiling over one of the manufacturing lines. It is currently on display at the National Air and Space Museum. The flight was made in 1964 in her 1953 model, the Spirit of Columbus(N1538C), as chronicled in her book Three-Eight Charlie.
Progressive updating of the 180 spawned a range of updated models including the 170kW (230hp) 180A, and 1964′s 180G with a third cabin window which from 1966 was offered as a six seater, by then having the same fuselage as the more powerful 185 Skywagon. The Skywagon name was applied to the 180 in 1969 and it remained in production until 1981.
The first 185 Skywagon flew in July 1960. This aircraft differed from the 180 in having a more powerful engine (195kW/260hp) and larger cabin, allowing six seats. Updated models include the 225kW (300hp) A185E from 1967 and the AgCarryall capable of chemical spraying.
The Cessna 180 is also popular with air charter companies and is operated by private individuals and companies.