The Cessna 195: A Vintage Aircraft to Love Today
If ever you search for a definition of class or elegance, the Cessna 195 is the epitome of both. Designed in an era long since gone, Cessna produced the 190 and 195 aircraft immediately post-WWII as their last radial-engined aircraft. A classic design, the 195 is the epitome of vintage aircraft perfection and had conventional landing gear, a high cantilevered wing, a large radial engine, and it oozed style just by sitting on the ramp.
Unfortunately, while it first flew in 1945, the aircraft only went into production in 1947; at the same time, Beech Aircraft Company introduced their Model 35 V-tail Bonanza. Cessna had based the 190 series design on the older Cessna Airmaster, discarding the Airmaster’s welded steel fuselage and fabric-covered wood for an all-aluminum construction. The 190 series represented pre-war technology and design for almost US$13,000; the Bonanza was modern, sporty, and fast, boasting a flat-six engine and a design pointing toward the future, all for around US$10,000.
While the smaller 190 received a 245 hp Continental W670-23 radial engine, Cessna fitted the first 195s with the impressive 42-inch diameter, 300 hp Jacobs R-755A2 radial. The size of that engine and the propeller it swings is the sole reason the fuselage of the 195 is so much larger than any other Cessna single piston-engined aircraft. Cessna designated subsequent iterations of the 195 as A & B models that received the 245 hp Jacobs R-755-9 and the 275 hp Jacobs R-755B2 respectively.
The Jacobs engine had high oil consumption, using up to 2 quarts per hour, an issue common to all radials. It was for this reason the main engine oil tank had a capacity of 5 gallons. Expensive to operate and expensive to buy, Cessna aimed the aircraft squarely at the business market, calling the model the 195 Businessliner.
With an almost-cabin-class interior, the Cessna 195 opted for comfort and class over speed. The switches for flaps and lights took their cue from piano keys, protruding from the panel just under the instrument cluster. The trim wheel was of polished wood, and the steering yoke was centrally mounted, branching off to each pilot seat. Within the cabin, there was room to spare.
In production for seven years, Cessna constructed almost 1,200 of the 190 and 195s before their purchase price became prohibitive to purchasers and the line discontinued.
1954 Cessna 195B Specifications
|Engines||Weights and Capacities|
|Model:||Jacobs R-755B-2||T/O / Landing Weights Normal:||3,350 lbs|
|Cylinders:||7||Standard Empty Weight:||2.030 lbs|
|Displacement:||757 cu inches||Max. Useful Load:||1,320 lbs|
|Horsepower:||275||Baggage Capacity:||220 lbs|
|Aspirated||Carburettor||Oil Capacity – per engine:||20 qts|
|TBO:||1,200 hrs||Passenger Configuration:||4|
|Model:||Hamilton-Standard (CS)||Wing Span:||36 ft 3 in|
|Blades:||2||Length:||27 ft 4 in|
|Height:||7 ft 2 in|
|Fuel:||Internal Baggage Volume:||17.9 cu ft|
|Capacity:||81 gals (75 Usable)|
|Burn @ 75% Power:||16 gals|
Cessna 195 Prices
At the time of writing, there were only half a dozen C195s available for sale. The average price was US$130,000 for an early 1950s 195A. Average hours were 4,000 TTAF, with more than half-life left on the engines. The available aircraft ranged from non-flying projects for US$30,000 through to high avionic specification aircraft at an asking price of US$180,000. Not bad prices for a 70-year old aircraft that cost less than US$15,000 new, so the aircraft has kept its value, primarily fueled by nostalgia and looks, I’m guessing, although the aircraft is a great little performer also.
Cessna 195 Performance & Handling
With a spacious five-seat cabin and the new slim-line sprung steel main designed by Steve Whittman, the 195 is a great performer. It’s certainly not a hands-off flyer as, with no wing dihedral, it lacks roll stability. You’ll also need to use a lot more rudder than you’re used to and elevator trim on every power change. With that said, owners report the Cessna 195 to be graceful and comfortable to fly, handling turbulence with ease. Climb to above 8,000 feet, and you’ll cruise between 135 and 145 knots, with around 4-hours of endurance.
1954 Cessna 195B Performance and Handling Specifications
|Cruise Speed (Kts)||Stall Speed (kts) (Flaps up)||54|
|65% @ 10,000 ft||135||Stall Speed (kts) (Flaps down)||53|
|Fuel Consumption (GPH)||Service Ceiling (ft)||18,300|
|65%||14||Best sea-level rate-of-climb (fpm)||1,135|
|Max Range (nm)||Take-off Ground Roll (ft)||800|
|65% @ 10,000 ft||550||T/O Dist. over 50-foot obstacle||1,605|
|Landing Ground Roll (ft)||550|
|1345Est. Endurance (hrs)||Ldg Dist. Over 50-foot obstacle||1,345|
|Do Not Exceed Speed (kts)||173|
|Max Structural Cruise Speed (kts)||154|
Cessna 195 Maintenance Schedule
With the center of gravity so far behind the main gear, the Cessna 195 has a reputation for being easy to ground loop. For that reason, maintenance technicians must pay serious attention to the landing gear. Good gear alignment is essential, as is brake condition and operation; also, ensure the tail-wheel oleo and steering are in top shape. Land with a flat oleo and you could end up with a costly repair bill, as the surrounding structure can easily sustain damage.
Fitted with the big radial engine, you need a technician with good radial knowledge. However, access is not too problematic given that the engine mount allows the engine to be swung out to the side. Surprisingly, the engine overhaul costs are not too far from the well-known flat sixes, costing about 10-15% more, although the TBO for the Jacobs is less.
Landing gear and engine aside, the rest of the airframe is not too onerous to maintain, with few ADs of note, but the aircraft is not young, so expect ongoing bills.
Cessna 195 Modifications and Upgrades
Air Repair Inc is a company based in Cleveland, Mississippi. As the Type Certificate holder for the big Jacobs engine, they have incorporated many modifications to address known engine issues. Worth mentioning are:
- Air Repair, Inc. Service Bulletin 66 – A two-piece oil control ring that gets tension from a spring instead of manufactured tension. This modification has been claimed to reduce oil consumption from 2 lbs/hr to 1/2 lb/hr.
- Air Repair, Inc. Service Bulletin 67 – New pistons in #4 and #5 cylinders without the other pistons’ oil control ring vent-holes. The mod reduces oil seepage to the lower cylinders resulting in cleaner starts.
- Air Repair, Inc. Service Bulletin 68 – Bronze exhaust seats have been replaced with a modern, high-temperature steel alloy. This modification, coupled with valve rotators, appears to have solved historical exhaust valve seat issues.
- Air Repair, Inc. Service Bulletin 76 – Intake and exhaust valve guides have been modified to use modern alloy material and allow positive stem seals on the intake valve. This change results in cleaner starts, and no oil leaked to the #4 cylinder
Of airframe modifications, a prominent mod suggested by owners is installing a locking tail-wheel that assists with the feared ground-loop condition. The 195 Factory in Johnstown, New York, are the people to contact for that; find them at http://www.the195factory.com/index.htm.
Another favorite modification is the change from the relatively ineffective Goodyear brakes to a Cleveland system.
Cessna 195 Where To Find Replacement Parts
While Cessna does hold some spares, there are operators who specialize in the 195. The 195 Factory is worth a look for airframe parts. http://www.the195factory.com/index.htm Air Repair Inc is the TC holder for the engine. http://www.airrepairinc.com/ and Heritage Aero is suitable for wheels and brakes. http://www.heritageaero.com/. Barron Aviation in Hannibal, Missouri, has several replacement kits and modifications to improve the 195, find them at https://barronaviation.com/upgrades-mods/.
Cessna 195 Common Problems
A common issue is a leak in the tail-wheel oleo strut. The chrome rod in this strut can pit and chew out the seal, resulting in oil loss and a deflated strut. Without the dampening effect of the oleo on landing, there is serious potential for damage to the surrounding supporting structure.
Damage around the landing gear box and wing-tip structure are typical if a ground-loop has gone unreported, requiring a comprehensive pre-purchase inspection. Cracking of the doorposts is also not uncommon.
Bronze exhaust valve seats in the Jacobs have high wear rates, causing issues. Mods are now available to replace these with a steel alloy to alleviate the problem.
The big Jacobs engine inside that tight cowl is prone to overheating on taxi. Some owners on large airfields or operating in hot climates choose to install a second oil cooler to alleviate the problem.
Cessna 195 Insurance Options
With the Cessna 195s reputation for damage from ground loops, finding insurance can be a chore, and be warned, it isn’t cheap when you do.
The standard aviation insurance all aircraft owners take is liability coverage, while hull coverage is optional. Liability coverage covers damage caused by the aircraft, including passengers, while hull coverage covers damage to the aircraft itself. The greater the experience of the owner/pilot, the lower the premiums.
For a private pilot with 500 hours total time, 100 hours on taildraggers, and 25 hours on type, the 2021 cost per year for US$1,000,000 liability coverage is in the range of US$550 to US$650 per year. Pilots with less experience can expect this range to rise to between US$675 to US$950 per year.
If the insurance includes additional hull cover for US$75,000, the annual premium for the experienced qualified pilot will be between US$2,800 to US$3,750 per year.
Cessna 195 Model Resale Value
As a classic aircraft, you’d expect the resale to be high for the 195. You won’t find too many on the market, but expect prices that range between $US100,000 and $US180,000. Total time airframe on these aircraft range just as wide. I’ve seen a 1951 aircraft with 1900 TTAF asking US$125,000, and a 1948 aircraft with almost 10,000 hours asking $US180,000.
Damage history, condition, and engine times are the primary driver for the price, as are the modifications incorporated. Not bad prices for an aircraft that initially retailed at just under US$14,000 in 1947.
Cessna 195 Owner Reviews
While owners may ruefully discuss maintenance costs or swap horror stories of initial inspection and repair costs post-purchase, to a person they have a love affair with their aircraft that borders on obsession.
What is evident from the stories is that the Cessna 195 is not an aircraft for the unwary. Take your eyes off the ball on taxi, take-off, or landing, and things can get expensively out of control in seconds. The accident statistics speak volumes, with loss of control incidents accounting for almost three-quarters of the recorded events and 15% of those ending up on their backs. Thankfully, serious injuries to occupants are rare.
The 195 is not an aircraft you just tie down when finished and hop in your car to leave; be prepared to spend a while cleaning all that oil from the big radial off the underside of the cowling and fuselage. Yet families love them. Big, roomy, and comfortable, you get them high, and they cruise fast and stable for many hours.
Cessna 195 Similar Aircraft
Similar aircraft was the Beechcraft 17 ‘Staggerwing’, the Stinson Reliant, Howard DGA-15, and the Waco Custom Cabin. All except the Waco had more powerful radial engines of 450 hp, and all were older aircraft that ceased production in the late 1940s.
Of course, you can check out other Cessna Models in our full guide.
Cessna 195 Clubs You Can Join
There is really only one choice. The Cessna 195 Club is an international club with a wealth of knowledge and support for prospective 195 owners, assisting with maintenance issues, spares location, and all-around in-service experience.
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FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions
Question: What does service ceiling mean?
Answer: An aircraft’s service ceiling is defined as the height at which the aircraft cannot climb at a rate greater than 100 feet per minute.
Question: What is the meaning of the term TBO?
Answer: TBO means Time Between Overhaul, which is the manufacturer’s recommended running time, in hours or calendar time, before overhaul.
Question: To what does TTAF refer?
Answer: TTAF stands for Total Time Airframe, which refers to the number of flying hours the airframe has accumulated since new. Thus, it is an indication of age and use.
Question: Aircraft Gross Weight refers to what?
Answer: Gross Weight is the total aircraft weight, including pilots, passengers, fuel, oil, and cargo.
Question: What does max structural cruise mean?
Answer: Maximum structural cruise, or Vno, refers to the airspeed above which the aircraft should be flown only in smooth air. Above this speed, turbulence or rapid control deflections increase the chance of structural damage.
Question: What is an STC?
Answer: An STC refers to a Supplemental Type Certificate. An STC is an approved modification to an aircraft, engine, or component. All aircraft, engines and components have type certificates that approve their use. That is why an approval to modify them is classed as ‘supplemental’.
Question: What is a Type Certificate?
Answer: A type certificate is a document issued by a regulatory authority to approve an aircraft design or ‘type’. Any subsequent changes to the design would require resubmission for further approval.
Question: What is a ground loop?
Answer: A ground loop is a loss of directional stability, where the tail of the aircraft tries to rotate around the aircraft’s nose in a horizontal plane. Such a loss of control can cause the faster wing to rise due to aerodynamic forces, potentially causing the other wing to strike the ground. Extremely high sideways forces are placed on undercarriage components, sometimes causing structural damage.
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