Cessna Aircraft is commemorating the 100th anniversary of founder Clyde Cessna’s learning to fly and building his first airplane.
According to information from the company, in 1911, 31-year-old Cessna spent much of the year learning to fly. It was eight years after the Wright brothers made their historic flight.
Cessna was born in Iowa and moved with his family in 1881 to Rago, 30 miles west of Wichita.
Cessna, who by 1911 had moved to Enid, Okla., bought a Bleriot XI fuselage from the Queen Aeroplane Co. of New York City, after watching a traveling air demonstration in Oklahoma City.
Cessna and his brother added an engine and propeller, and after many technical failures and accidents, his first flight without a crash landing occurred in June 2011. He endured 12 crashes at an average cost per fix of $100 per fix.
In fall of 1911, he moved back to Kansas. And in 1916, Cessna became the first to manufacture powered aircraft in Wichita. He worked with Walter Beech and Lloyd Stearman and others before forming the Cessna Roos Aircraft Co. in 1927. In December, 1927, the name changed to Cessna Aircraft Co.
Cessna retired in 1936 and returned to farming. His nephew, Dwane Wallace took over leadership of the company.