Cessna 165 "Airmaster"
United States — Four-seat Cabin Monoplane

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  • Role: Civil aircraft
  • Manufacturer: Cessna
  • Designed by: Dwane Wallace
  • First flight: June 1935
  • Introduced: 1930s
  • Number built: 228

The Cessna Model 165 "Airmaster" is a single-engine aircraft manufactured by the Cessna Aircraft Company. The Airmaster played an important role in the revitalization of the Cessna aircraft company in the 1930s after the crash of the aviation industry during the Great Depression.

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 Wallace, and the first flight of the Cessna C-34 model was in June 1935. Not long after introduction of the Cessna C-34, Clyde Cessna retired from aircraft-building activity, leaving the company to his nephew.

Later Models

The original Airmaster, the cessna C-34, evolved into more advanced versions of the Airmaster. The Cessna C-37 had a wider cabin, improved undercarriage and electric flaps. The Cessna C-38 had a taller vertical tail, curved undercarriage legs and a landing flap under the fuselage. Changes common to both the Cessna C-37 and Cessna 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 Cessna C-34 were the Cessna C-145 and the Cessna C-165, of which 80 were built. On these models, the belly flaps added on the Cessna C-38 were removed and the overall length of the fuselage was increased. The only difference between the Cessna C-145 and Cessna 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 Cessna 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 Cessna C-145 and Cessna C-165 models were offered with floats.


As of Dec 31, 2006 there are 69 aircraft in the FAA database with the listed Models (totals) being Cessna C-165 (30), Cessna C-145 (10), Cessna C-34 (8), Cessna C-37 (14), and Cessna C-38 (7). All are listed as powered by either the Warner SS165 or Warner SS40 and SS50 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.

Cessna 165 Airmaster Specifications and Performance Data

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)


  1. Wikepedia. "Cessna 165." [Online] Available http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cessna_165, 17 September 2009

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