- Aircraft History, Specification and Information -
Cessna 185 Skywagon
Cessna A185E Amphibian Airplane - Buffalo Airways - C-FUPT
1966 Cessna A185E Amphibian
C-FUPT (sn 185-1075)
Buffalo Airways
Photo taken July 2005
Yellowknife, NT - Canada (YZF / CYZF)
Photo © Marcel Siegenthaler

The Cessna 185, also known as the Skywagon, is a six-seat, single engined, general aviation light aircraft manufactured by Cessna. It first flew as a prototype in July 1960, with the first production model being completed in March 1961. The Cessna 185 is a high-winged aircraft with non-retractable conventional landing gear and a tailwheel. Over 4,400 were built with production ceasing in 1985. Production ceased in large part in 1985 due to two factors: the demise of the general aviation boom that characterized the post World War II years in the United States, and the growing awareness by insurance companies that tail wheel aircraft were harder to insure due to their handling characteristics during takeoff and landing. When Cessna re-introduced some of its most popular models in the 1990s, the tailwheel equipped Cessna 180 and 185 were left to the history books and not resurrected.

Design

The aircraft is basically a Cessna 180 with a strengthened fuselage. The main difference between the two aircraft is the larger vertical fin on the 185 and the 300 hp (224 kW) Continental Motors IO-520-D engine as opposed to the 230 hp (172 kW) Continental Motors O-470-S fitted in the Cessna 180. The exception was that a Continental Motors IO-470-F engine of 260 hp (194 kW) was initially fitted until midway through the 1966 production year. The later model Skywagon II has a factory fitted avionics package.

The Skywagon can also be fitted with floats, amphibious float, or skis. The AGcarryall variant of the 185 adds a 151-gallon belly chemical tank and removable spray booms for aerial application. It is also possible to fit a cargo pod under the fuselage that can carry an extra 300 lb (136 kg).

The 180 and 185 are widely used in bush flying, the commercial transport of passengers and freight to remote austere airstrips and floatplane and ski-plane accessible lakes and snowfields, primarily in Canada and Alaska.

The ICAO designator as used in flight plans for the Cessna 185 is C185.

Aircraft Type Club

The Cessna 185 is supported by an active aircraft type club, The Cessna Pilots Association.

Variants

Civil variants

  • Cessna 185 Skywagon
    Six seat high wing light aircraft powered by a 260 hp (194 kW) Continental IO-470-F, landplane gross weight 3,200 lb (1,451 kg) and first certified on 31 January 1961.
  • Cessna 185A Skywagon
    Six seat high wing light aircraft powered by a 260 hp (194 kW) Continental IO-470-F, landplane gross weight 3,200 lb (1,451 kg) and first certified on 20 September 1961.
  • Cessna 185B Skywagon
    Six seat high wing light aircraft powered by a 260 hp (194 kW) Continental IO-470-F, landplane gross weight 3,200 lb (1,451 kg) and first certified on 25 June 1962.
  • Cessna 185C Skywagon
    Six seat high wing light aircraft powered by a 260 hp (194 kW) Continental IO-470-F, landplane gross weight 3,200 lb (1,451 kg) and first certified on 19 July 1963.
  • Cessna 185D Skywagon
    Six seat high wing light aircraft powered by a 260 hp (194 kW) Continental IO-470-F, landplane gross weight 3,200 lb (1,451 kg) and first certified on 17 June 1964.
  • Cessna 185E Skywagon
    Six seat high wing light aircraft powered by a 260 hp (194 kW) Continental IO-470-F, landplane gross weight 3,300 lb (1,497 kg) and first certified on 24 September 1965.
  • Cessna A185E Skywagon and AGcarryall
    Six seat high wing light aircraft and agricultural aircraft powered by a 300 hp (224 kW) Continental IO-520-D, landplane gross weight 3,350 lb (1,520 kg) and first certified on 24 September 1965.
  • Cessna A185F Skywagon and AGcarryall
    Six seat high wing light aircraft and agricultural aircraft powered by a 300 hp (224 kW) Continental IO-520-D, landplane gross weight 3,350 lb (1,520 kg) and first certified on 16 October 1973.

Military variants

  • Cessna U-17A
    Military version of the Cessna 185E, powered by a 260-hp (194-kW) Continental IO-470-F piston engine. Supplied by the USAF to a number of countries under the Military Assistance Programme.
  • Cessna U-17B
    Military version of the Cessna A185E, powered by a 300-hp (224-kW) Continental IO-520-D piston engine. Supplied by the USAF to a number countries under the Military Assistance Programme.
  • Cessna U-17C
    Four-seat light utility aircraft, powered by a Continental IO-470-L piston engine.

Operators

Civil operators

  • New Zealand
  • Mount Cook Airline

Military operators

As part of the United States Military Assistance Program, Cessna received a contract to supply the United States Air Force with the Skywagon. These were intended for delivery overseas and were designated U-17A and U-17B.

  • Bolivia - Bolivian Air Force 7 x A185E, 8 x A185F * 5 x U-17A
  • Costa Rica - Guardia Civil 3 x U-17A
  • Ecuador - Ecuadorian Army 2 x 185D
  • Greece - Hellenic Army 9+ x U-17A
  • Iran - Islamic Revolutionary Air Force 185A, Islamic Revolutionary Army Aviation 185A
  • Israel - Israel Air Force 185
  • Jamaica - Jamaica Defence Force - 4 x 185 from 1963 to 1985
  • Nicaragua - Nicaraguan Air Force 3 x U-17B
  • Panama - Panamanian Public Forces 3 x U-17A
  • Paraguay - Paraguayan Air Force 5 x U-17A
  • Peru - Peruvian Air Force 9 x 185
  • Philippines - Philippine Air Force 8 x U-17A, 9 x U-17B
  • Rhodesia - Rhodesian Air Force - Two civil aircraft impressed into service, about 17 aircraft on loan from the South African Air Force, in service during the 1970s.
  • El Salvador - Air Force of El Salvador 1 x 185
  • South Africa - South African Air Force 24 x 185A, 12 x 185D, 9 x 185E
  • South Vietnam - Vietnam Air Force - About 100 U-17As and U-17Bs were used by the VNAF. No longer in service.
  • Thailand - Royal Thai Army Aviation U-17B
  • Turkey - Turkish Army Aviation U-17A
  • United States - Civil Air Patrol
  • Uruguay - Uruguayan Air Force 12 x U-17A

Specifications (1978 Cessna 185 II landplane)

General characteristics
Crew: one
Capacity: five passengers
Length: 25 ft 9 in (7.85 m)
Wingspan: 35 ft 10 in (10.92 m)
Height: 7 ft 9 in (2.36 m)
Wing area: 174 sq ft (16.2 m2)
Empty weight: 1,748 lb (793 kg)
Gross weight: 3,350 lb (1,520 kg)
Powerplant: 1 × Continental IO-520-D , 300 hp (220 kW)
Propellers: 2-bladed constant speed, 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m) diameter

Performance
Maximum speed: 155 kn (178 mph; 287 km/h)
Cruise speed: 145 kn (167 mph; 269 km/h)
Stall speed: 49 kn (56 mph; 91 km/h)
Range: 720 nmi (830 mi; 1,330 km)
Service ceiling: 17,150 ft (5,230 m)
Rate of climb: 1,010 ft/min (5.1 m/s)

Last updated June 29, 2010
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Cessna 185".
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