Cessna 337 Skymaster Push-Pull

On the runway, even non-aircraft fans recognize the Skymaster with narrowed eyes – because in terms of noise it surpasses even the DC-6. The reason for this is its special design, which can only be found in this form on very few other aircraft types.

This peculiarity of the Cessna is due to its rather idiosyncratic construction, the so-called central shear system. The fuselage of the shoulder-wing aircraft was designed as a gondola. At its bow there is an engine with a tractor propeller, at its rear is an engine with a pusher propeller. The Cessna also owes its loving nickname “Push-Pull” to this construction. The arrangement of the two air-cooled Continental engines, each rated at 210 hp, one behind the other, in addition to the classic arrangement of the shoulder deck, has the advantage that, on the one hand, it gives the pilot and observer good visibility to the left and right and, on the other hand, there is no torque about the vertical axis in the event of failure of one engine. The aircraft remains easily controllable. The disadvantage, cooling problems occur at the rear engine. More serious, however, is the noise development. The air accelerated and swirled by the front propeller hits the rear propeller at high speed – reaching near supersonic speeds at the propeller tips. This noise development as well as the poorer efficiency of the rear propeller was certainly a reason why this construction method did not become generally accepted.

The six-seater (one pilot and five passengers) was produced in several civil and military variants from 1963 to 1982; a total of 2,993 units were built. The military version for the US Air Force was called the O-2. “O” stood for Observer, because the 337 was used as a reconnaissance aircraft during the Vietnam War. The glass door of this type is still used by safari providers today.

“In general, the Skymaster is the symbol of a bush plane,” as Hans Pallaske, its pilot with the Flying Bulls, points out. “The machine is light and can take off and land in the smallest space thanks to its performance.”
The Flying Bulls’ unit is from 1969 and was delivered from Wichita (USA) to Chile (South America) when sold. The aircraft with today’s aircraft registration N991DM spent almost 15 years in a garage after several stints with hobby pilots before being brought back to life in 2007. The restoration was complex and all-encompassing, which can be clearly seen in detail on the aircraft. Three-blade propellers and a STOL kit that allows even slower airspeeds are just two of numerous modifications. “The instrumentation was brought up to today’s standards in the avionics area, and the interior was completely renewed,” says Hans Pallaske.

Cessna 337 Skymaster Push-Pull

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