Cessna 337 Skymaster
The Cessna Skymaster is a twin-engine civil utility aircraft built in a push-pull
configuration. Instead of the engines being mounted on the wings, one is mounted
on the nose and the other at the rear of the pod-style fuselage. The stabilizers
are mounted on twin booms that extend from the wings. The rear engine is between
the booms. The combination of a tractor and a pusher engine produces a unique
The first model of the Skymaster was the 336. It had fixed landing gear and
first flew in February 1961. It went into production in 1963 and 195 were produced
to mid 1964.
In 1965 Cessna introduced the model 337 Super Skymaster. This aircraft was
larger, had more powerful engines, retractable landing gear and a dorsal air
scoop for the rear engine (the "Super" was subsequently dropped from
the name). In 1967 the turbocharged T337 was introduced and in 1972 the pressurized
T337G entered production. Cessna built 1,859 standard and turbocharged Skymasters
and 332 T337Gs. In addition, they built 513 military O-2 versions.
Cessna production ended in 1982 but Skymaster production continued with Reims
in France with the FTB337 STOL and the military FTMA Milirole. Reims produced
a total of 94 Skymasters.
After a 20-year hiatus the centerline thrust, pod and twin-boom concept has
been revived in the Adam A500.
The US Air Force used the O-2 variant as a Forward Air Controller platform
during the Vietnam War.
The California Division of Forestry uses various models of the 337 Skymaster
as spotter planes during firefighting operations.
In 1994 the Cuban exile group Hermanos al Rescate (Brothers to the Rescue)
used Skymasters to drop life-saving supplies to rafters attempting to cross
the Florida Straits to defect from Cuba. They were also used to violate Cuban
airspace, flying over Cuba's capital, Havana, and dropping leaflets with anti-Castro
propaganda. They chose Skymasters because they were easier to control at slow
speeds than conventional twin-engine aircraft. One plane contacted the water
(it is difficult to judge altitude over relatively calm water), damaging the
landing gear doors and the nose propeller. Since the rear engine is mounted
higher, it wasn't damaged and the aircraft was able to return to Florida to
make a belly landing.
In 1996 two of the Brothers to the Rescue's Skymasters were shot down by the
Cuban Air Force over international waters. One by a MiG-23 and another by a
* 327 Mini Skymaster - reduced scale version of the 337, one built.
* 336 Skymaster - production version powered by two 195 hp Continental IO-360-A
engines, 195 built.
* 337 Super Skymaster - 336 with retractable undercarriage, re-designed nose
cowling and new rear engine intake, powered by two 210hp Continental IO-360-C
engines, 239 built.
* 337A Super Skymaster - 337 with minor detail changes, 255 built.
* 337B Super Skymaster - 337A with increased take-off gross weight, option belly
cargo pack and optional turbocharged engines, 230 built.
* 337C Super Skymaster - 337B with a new instrument panel and increased take-off
gross-weight, 223 built.
* 337D Super Skymaster - 337C with minor detail changes, 215 built.
* 337E Super Skymaster - 337D with cambered wingtips and minor changes, 100
* 337F Super Skymaster - 337E with increased take-off gross weight, 114 built.
* 337G Super Skymaster - 337F with split airstair entry door, smaller rear side
windows, improved flaps, larger fron propeller, powered by a Continental IO-360-G
engine, 352 built.
* T337G Super Skymaster - 337G with presurised cabin and turbocharged engines,
* 337H Skymaster - 337G with minor changes and optional turbocharged engines,
* P337H Pressurised Skymaster - T337G with minor changes, 64 built.
* 337M - US military version, designated O-2 Skymaster in service, 513 built.
* O-2A - US military designation of the 337M Forward air control, observation
aircraft for the US Air Force.
* O-2B : Psychological warfare version for the US Air Force (31 former civil
aircraft not 337Ms).
* O-2T : Twin turboprop-powered version of the O-2.
* O-TT :
* Sentry O2-337 : Military version.
* Lynx : Armed military version for the Rhodesian Air Force.
Reims Cessna F337
* F337E Super Skymaster - Reims-built 337E, 24 built.
* F337F Super Skymaster - Reims-built 337F, 31 built.
* F337G Super Skymaster - Reims-built 337G, 29 built.
* FT337G Super Skymaster - Reims-built T337G, 22 built.
* F337H - Reims-built 337H, one built.
* FP337H Pressurised Skymaster - Reims-built P337H, 1 built.
* FTB337G Milirole - Reims-built military F337G with Robertson STOL modifications
and underwing hardpoints, 61 built.
* Lynx : Rhodesian designation for 21 FTB337Gs delivered to the Rhodesian Air
Flying car created by Advanced Vehicle Engineers by attaching the wings, tail,
and rear engine of a Skymaster to a Ford Pinto outfitted with aircraft controls
Summit Aviation built a militarized Skymaster as the O2-337 in 1980, and sold
a few examples to the Haiti Air Corps and the Thai Navy
Spectrum Aircraft Corporation of Van Nuys, California made an extensive conversion
of a Reims FTB337G in the mid 1980s - the Spectrum SA-550. They removed the
nose engine, lengthened the nose and replaced the rear engine with a turboprop.
This aircraft (serial number 61) is currently registered to Basler Turbo Conversions
of Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
The Skymaster has different handling characteristics than a conventional twin-engine
aircraft. Foremost is that it will not yaw into the dead engine if one engine
quits. Consequently, it has no tendency to depart the runway if an engine fails
on the takeoff roll. The adage, "dead foot, dead engine" -- used to
remind a pilot which propeller to feather when an engine quits -- is useless
with the Skymaster. When a Skymaster loses power, the pilot must use the instruments
to determine which engine has failed. The Skymaster is also controllable at
lower airspeeds than a comparable conventional twin. There is no minimum controllable
speed advisory (Vmc) on the airspeed indicator. Nevertheless, the Skymaster
requires a multi-engine-rated pilot, and must be trained to manage both engines.
One would think that with the Skymaster's superior single-engine handling it
would have a lower accident rate than conventional twins. This turns out not
to be true. The rear engine tends to overheat and quit while taxiing on very
hot days. When this has happened, many pilots have inexplicably attempted take-off
on the nose engine alone even though the single-engine take-off roll exceeded
the runway length. The Skymaster also has a higher-than-average rate of accidents
due to fuel mismanagement. This is puzzling since the fuel system is unremarkable.
The Skymaster produces a unique unmistakable sound. All rear-engined aircraft
produce a characteristic sound as the propeller slices through turbulent air
coming off the airframe. Since the Skymaster also has a nose engine, with a
propeller that operates in undisturbed air, its sound is different from a pure
pusher. This sound can be heard in the movie Bat*21 where Danny Glover's character
flies an O-2 Skymaster.
* Burkina Faso, Chad, Chile, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador,
Haiti, Jamaica, Mexico, Peru, Portugal, South Africa, South Korea, Sri Lanka,
Thailand, Togo, United States, Zimbabwe (Rhodesia), Tamileelam.
Orthographically projected diagram of the Cessna 337 Skymaster.
* Crew: 1
* Capacity: 5 passengers
* Length: 29 ft 9 in (9.07 m)
* Wingspan: 38 ft 0 in (11.58 m)
* Height: 9 ft 4 in (2.84 m)
* Wing area: 201 ft² (18.7 m²)
* Empty weight: 2,655 lb (1,204 kg)
* Max takeoff weight: 4,400 lb (2,000 kg)
* Powerplant: 2× Continental IO-360-C piston engines, 210 hp (160 kW)
* Maximum speed: 200 mph (170 knots, 320 km/h)
* Range: 764 mi (664 nm, 1,220 km)
* Service ceiling: 19,500 ft (5,940 m)
* Rate of climb: 1,200 ft/min (6.1 m/s)