A larger four seat development of the earlier Cessna Model 120 and 140, the four seat 170 was in production for almost a decade, and is the predecessor to the successful and long running 172 series.
The prototype Cessna 170 (NX41691) flew for the first time in September 1947. Notable features included the six cylinder 110kW (145hp) Continental C145 engine, extensive metal construction and the characteristic Cessna braced high wing.
The first production Cessna 170s were delivered from March 1948, but this model was soon replaced by the improved 170A. The primary improvement with the 170A was metal instead of fabric covered wings, but it also featured increased tail area.
The third and final major variant appeared in 1952. The Cessna 170B featured the most significant revisions to the line, including the large wing flaps (first developed for the military L-19 Bird Dog) that were to become characteristic of later single engine Cessna models, revised tail wheel steering, larger rear windows and revised and lengthened engine cowling.
The 170 remained in production until 1957, by which stage its popularity had waned and sales of the 172 had taken off. The early 172 was a direct development of the 170, but introduced tricycle undercarriage and squared up vertical tail surfaces.
It is interesting to note that the 170 laid the foundation for Cessna's two most successful single engine light aircraft lines, the 172 and 182, as well as the 180 and 185. Apart from the 172 tricycle undercarriage development the 180 was developed as a more powerful, higher performance version of the 170, while the subsequent 182 was originally a tricycle undercarriage evolution of the 180.
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