- Aircraft History, Specification and Information -
Cessna Airmaster C-34 / C-37 / C-38 / C-145 / C-165
Cessna Airmaster C-38 - N19458
1938 Cessna C-38 Airmaster
N19458 (sn 411)
Photo taken at the Sun 'n Fun 2007 Fly-in - Lakeland Linder Airport, FL - USA (LAL / KLAL)
Photo © Marcel Siegenthaler

The Cessna Airmaster is the plane that rescued the Cessna Aircraft Company from oblivion in the 1930's. Clyde Cessna was a self-taught and well known early barnstormer, racer, and designer of aircraft, and he had gone into business during the 20's building aircraft professionally. Some early examples of his work include the Cessna AW. Clyde Cessna was also involved in the Travel Air company, which is where a number of early aviation pioneers got their start (including Walter Beech and Lloyd Stearman).

Initial development

In the middle of the 1930s, as the Great Depression came to an end, the U.S. economy began to strengthen. This was good news for the Cessna Aircraft Company as Dwane Wallace (Clyde Cessna's nephew who was a recently-graduated aeronautical engineer) decided to assist his uncle in building more modern airplanes. The design of the first Airmaster is credited to Dwane L. Wallace, and the first flight of the C-34 model was in June 1935. Not long after introduction of the C-34, Clyde Cessna retired from aircraft-building activity, leaving the company to his nephew.

Later models

The original Airmaster, the C-34, evolved into more advanced versions of the Airmaster. The C-37 had a wider cabin, improved undercarriage and electric flaps. The C-38 had a taller vertical tail, curved undercarriage legs and a landing flap under the fuselage. Changes common to both the C-37 and C-38 included wider fuselages and landing gears along with rubber engine mounts to hold the 145 hp (108 kW) Warner Super Scarab engine. The final revisions of the C-34 were the C-145 and the C-165, of which 80 were built. On these models, the belly flaps added on the C-38 were removed and the overall length of the fuselage was increased. The only difference between the C-145 and C-165 was the engine horsepower, with the latter having an upgraded 165 hp (123 kW) Warner engine.

End of the line

It was with the beginning of World War II that the Airmaster line came to an end. The welded tubular fuselage, fabric covered body, extensive wood work, wooden wings and radial engines, all characteristic of 1930s-era aircraft technology, became too expensive and slow to produce. The old style aircraft was quickly replaced with aircraft constructed from aluminium with strut braced wings first seen in the Cessna 120.


The design of the C-34 incorporates characteristics that were borrowed from previous models of Cessna Aircraft. These similarities include the high mounted cantilever wing and the narrow design of the cabin windows. The wings and tail surfaces were composed entirely of wood while the fuselage was structured with steel tubing coupled with wooden stringers and formers. Both C-145 and C-165 models were offered with floats.


As of December 31, 2006 there are 69 aircraft in the FAA database with the listed Models (totals) being C-165 (30), C-145 (10), C-34 (8), C-37 (14), and C-38 (7). All are listed as powered by either the Warner SS165 or Warner SS40&50 engines (except that one is listed as powered by an SS185). The year of manufacture for these aircraft ranges from 1934 to 1941 and the serial numbers range from 254 to 588. It is not known how many actually exist and are in flying condition. There is also a C-34 (Serial No. 339) which is registered on the Australian register (VH-UYG), this aircraft is owned by Aeromil and housed at the Sunshine Coast Airport, Queensland.


  • Cessna C-34
    Four-seat light cabin aircraft, powered by a 145-hp (108-kW) Warner Super Scarab radial piston engine; 42 built.
  • Cessna C-37
    the cabin was widened by 12.7 cm (5 in), it was fitted with an improved undercarriage and electrically operated flaps; 46 built.
  • Cessna C-38
    Fitted with a wide landing gear with curved undercarriage legs, plus a taller verical tail and a landing flap under the fuselage; 16 built.
  • Cessna C-39
    Original designation of the Cessna C-145.
  • Cessna C-145
    Powered by a 145-hp (108-kW) Warner Super Scarab radial piston engine.
  • Cessna C-165
    Powered by a 165-hp (123-kW) Warner Super Scarab radial piston enigne.
  • Cessna C-165D
    Powered by a 175-hp (130-kW) Warner super Scarab radial piston engine.
  • Cessna UC-77B
    Two Cessna C-34s were impressed into service with the USAF during world War II.
  • Cessna UC-77C
    One Cessna C-37 was impressed into service with the USAAF in 1942.
  • Cessna UC-94
    Three Cessna C-165s were impressed into service with the USAAF in 1942.


Military operators

  • Australia
    Royal Australian Air Force
  • Finland
    Finnish Air Force
  • United States
    United States Army Air Force


General characteristics
Length: 7.52 m (24 ft 8 in)
Wingspan: 10.41 m (34 ft 2 in)
Height: 2.36 m (7 ft 9 in)
Airfoil: Clark Y
Empty weight: 626 kg (1380 lb)
Loaded weight: 1066 kg (2350 lb)
Useful load: 434 kg (970 lb)
Powerplant: 1× Warner Super Scarab, 108 kW (145 hp)

Maximum speed: 261 km/h (162 mph)
Cruise speed: 243 km/h (151 mph)
Range: 845-1263 km (525-785 mi)
Rate of climb: 305 m/min (1000 feet/min)

Last updated January 01, 2011
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Cessna 165".
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