Cessna Model 336 / 337 Skymaster / O-2


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Cessna Model 337

The push-pull concept, with engines driving one tractor and one pusher propeller, was adopted by Cessna in the late 1950s for a light, low cost, easy-to-fly twin, and one obvious advantage over a normal twin layout was that, in the event of an engine failure, there would be no asymmetric thrust problems.

On 28 February 1961, the prototype Cessna Model 336 Skymaster flew and FAA certification followed 15 months later, with deliveries beginning in May 1963. Powered by two 157kW Continental IO-360-A engines, the new aeroplane was a four-seater with fixed tricycle landing gear, although - alternative seating arrangements for up to six were available. However, fixed landing gear on light twins was becoming passe, and after 195 Model 336s had been built the type was replaced on the production line in early 1965 by the Model 337 Super Skymaster with retractable landing gear. Additional baggage space was available in an optional glassfibre pack with a capacity of 136kg, which could be carried beneath the fuselage.

In 1969, Reims Aviation in France began licence assembly of the Model 337, with primary structures supplied by Cessna and Continental engines built in the UK under licence by Rolls-Royce. The US and French production lines continued in parallel, the French versions being classified Reims F337. The name Milirole was applied to the basic unpressurised F337 for a short time. Since 1974 Reims have developed a special unpressurised STOL version, designated FTB337, which can be provided with a wide range of equipment to make it suitable for such duties as maritime or overland patrol and rescue. Detail improvements continued each year, and a turbocharged version, the Model 337 Turbo-System Super Skymaster, was introduced in 1970, but the prototype of a pressurised T337 Skymaster, powered by 168kW Continental TSIO-360 engines, flew in July 1971 (the word Super had then been dropped), and deliveries began the following May.

Military versions designated O-2 were supplied to the US Air Force for various missions, including forward air control, for experience in Vietnam suggested that such sorties could be made more effective with FAC aircraft operated by a pilot and Forward Air Navigator (FAN), the latter being able to concentrate on the FAC mission without having to fly the aircraft.

Cessna's Model 337 was selected 'off the shelf' in late 1966 as being ideal for this role, and equipped with four under-wing pylons to carry flares, rockets and light ordnance such as a 7.62mm Minigun pack. 501 were supplied to the USAF designated O-2A. In addition, a version equipped for psychological warfare missions entered USAF service under the designation O-2B This carried a powerful air-to-ground broadcasting system using three 600-watt amplifiers and a battery of highly directional speakers. Total procurement of O-2B aircraft amounted to 31. Both versions car-ried advanced nav/com systems. Twelve O-2As were supplied to the Imperial Iranian air force in early 1970. A twin-turboprop O-2T/O-2TT did not proceed beyond USAF evaluation.

Production of the Model 337 series by Cessna ended in mid-1980 by which time 1,821 Model 337s, 313 pressurised Model 337s and 544 military O-2s had been delivered. French production by Reims Aviation totalled 66 Model F337s, 27 F337Ps and 61 FTB337s.

Cessna O-2

 MODELCessna Model 337
 ENGINE2 x Continental IO-360-GB flat-six piston engines, 157kW
  Take-off weight2100 kg4630 lb
  Empty weight1264 kg2787 lb
  Wingspan11.63 m38 ft 2 in
  Length9.07 m30 ft 9 in
  Height2.79 m9 ft 2 in
  Wing area18.81 m2202.47 sq ft
  Max. speed332 km/h206 mph
  Cruise speed315 km/h196 mph
  Ceiling5485 m18000 ft
  Range2288 km1422 miles

Comments1-20 21-40 41-60
HERB. SHANAFELT, e-mail, 24.03.2020 01:25

We have -- TWO -- of these


Carl, e-mail, 04.02.2015 23:30

Worked line service in the late '60s at a Kansas airport. Had a guy try to take off on one engine (front) with 4 adults and 2 kids on board. I was going after a tug to pull it to the hanger and charge the battery when he got "lucky" and propped the engine. The take-off did not go well and they ended up in an old drive-in theater near the SE corner of the airport. 2 men in front had broken bones, cuts and bruises. 2 women in the middle had bumps and bruises and kids were unhurt. I got to talk to the FAA investigator over that one.


Uncle Rob, e-mail, 07.06.2014 03:09

Jeff, Try Trade-a-Plane.com to find one. The Riley conversions are rocket ships. There is a dealer in Spartanburg, S.C. who specializes in them. A good bird will run in the neighborhood of 200K.


jeff allbritten, e-mail, 12.04.2014 01:45

i'minterested in buying a cessna 337 skymaster do you have a listing of up todate cost for these


Gary Garren, e-mail, 08.10.2013 19:54

I flew the O-2 out of CamRanh Bay, Nha Trang, Dalat,and Tuy Hoi - 21st TASS - May 69 to Apr 70. Lost the front eng. once - could not maintain altitude - made a sloooww decent to nearby friendly field, thank goodness. I thought it was a good plane for the job, but I do agree with those that say the O-1 had some better qualities for the mission.


Old Grunt, e-mail, 17.07.2013 02:27

Crewed these little budys at Shaw AFB seen an 02 launch a rocket threw a Shell gas sign while parked at the hot ramp That got the base buzzing glad it was not my bird.


irakli gurchiani, e-mail, 23.01.2013 21:05

I want to buy used Cessna 6 seater multi engine -prod after 2000 y -can you suply


jd "Bear" Floring, e-mail, 17.01.2013 05:34

Flew the 0-2a out of TSN 72-3. Good platform for what we did could stay up for 5 hrs. when thrifty.
Never had a problem with the airframe.


John Joss, e-mail, 14.01.2013 20:31

Flying FAC out of Nellis AFB and Bicycle Lake in the Fort Irwin range, as co-pilot and observer (aviation writer) I found this to be a fascinating aircraft.
My #1 said "With all our radios it's over max gross before you add pilots and fuel," perhaps a slight exaggeration. We did a five-hour FAC mission for Red Flag and used up a lot of grease pencils writing comm data above our heads (including some vicious comm jamming). Doing some over-the-top maneuvers was also interesting, when my #1 suggested that I look back and see how the tail booms responded. Not a pretty sight.
The Nellis O-2 group lost an aircraft and two crew during this deployment when they flew up a gently rising slope, the slope not immediately obvioius from the cockpit, and apparently could not turn round without contacting the ground. Density altitude also contributed, probably.


Dan Breyfogle, e-mail, 25.04.2012 02:46

I should have menitoned, this was 1969 /70 as these aircraft were being sent over to Viet Nam.


Dan Breyfogle, e-mail, 25.04.2012 02:44

My C-130H Rescue Squadron at Hamilton AFB, San Rafael, CA ferried these from the west coast half way to Hawaii when a C-130H from Hawaii took over. These things were a flying fuel tank on that flight. There was room for the pilot to set and nothing more, the rest was fuel tanks. It was quite a site to see 15 to 20 or more of these take off, head west over the Pacific and then our C-130H follow and orbit them.


Scott Boyd, e-mail, 23.01.2012 06:18

While there is a lot you can do with the configuration, the Adam's 500 as an example, bigger engines would be a plus if enough exist.

I flew a turbo version and the pressurized version, flew like a 210, no noisier then a 310. The turbo was never a problem, the P was a hanger Queen. I flew P210's that were the same way and when they worked they flew very nicely.

Bigger engines would be nice if I owned one, and had the money.


harry cohen, e-mail, 22.01.2012 04:43

does the inline thrust have any draw backs? such as engine dronesounds or bad climb rate take off or land problems? payload prob. what is av. fuel consumptions ,ins. cost as twin,etc.I have only about 75 hours twin beech travel air. is it hard to transition? other good and bad charictoristics.?


harry cohen, e-mail, 22.01.2012 04:34

pos looking to purchase p337 w / boots ,would like to know actual performance specs, fuel usage,act speed full,tanks and load distance,does luggage carrier on bot. affect performance?
ave.price are later models equipped w / lycomings? does it really seat 6 want to go phila fr tulsa,and business


James D. Lyne, e-mail, 18.12.2011 21:39

If I were to do a modern 'redo' of the Riley "SkyRocket" concept, I would do so with a newer iteration of the original TSIO-360s to cut on both cost and weight (over the "big-engine", TSIO-520-NB powered version). The Seneca V uses a version of the -360 engine which produces similar horsepower at a significantly lower RPM and with a much lower fuel burn (through use of a Bendix fuel injection system). Add electronic ignition and eliminate the need for pressurized magnetoes. The biggest drawbacks to the original airplane were: a painfully-short TBO which the engines never made it to and the constant fiddling with throttle and mixtures required at altitude to keep the engines making power. I think that the ultimate fix would be a FADEC version of the engine to ease pilot workload, reduce fuel burn and, hopefully improve reliability over the TSIO-360-CB. I would also look to a shorter blade, composite prop to reduce noise, vibration and weight with modern Woodward electronic governers. The newer, version of the Garret /AirResearch turbochargers with better temperature resistance, equipped with absolute pressure controllers, like the P-210. All of the toublesome OEM airframe /engine guages would land on the junkpile, in favor of the TSO'd electronic JPI replacements. Modern GPS-based avionics, Horton STOL and the Riley air conditioning system re-engineering to use R-134 would really make this a decent, maintainable, single-pilot, twin-engine airplane.


jack zelinka, e-mail, 30.10.2011 06:06

was a crew chief on o 2B s at da nang may 68 may 69 leaflets and loud speaker missions good aircraft i thought got to fly a lot too


Grumpy grizzly, e-mail, 22.10.2011 19:26

I was an enlisted intell ops spec who did a TDY tour in 68 at Hue /PhuBai. Did some flying with 20 TASS Trail FAC's (1st ARVN). I extended my tour and and flew combat in the "Deuce". Got some stick time, pilot said if he was shot up someone needed to get it back on the ground. Never did landings, just did bearing checks to get us back to DaNang. After Nam offered a duty assignment @ Fairchild AFB for Survival school as an instructor.


Dean Moxness, e-mail, 11.10.2011 15:20

Flew the O-2A at Bien Hoa, as a night FAC for all of III Corp, call sign Sleepytime. I loved that airplane.


RBG, e-mail, 09.10.2011 00:14

I owned one. I also had worked at Cessna as a single engine sales manager during the 336 /337's early era. I owned a 337 after I left Cessna. I had a cargo pod added on. The plane flew without a hitch. Beautiful flying bird. I later owned a Beechcraft twin, but the 337 remains my favorite.


Dan Very, e-mail, 26.05.2011 20:29

i was with the RECON C 130's at Camh Rahn Bay. We were told that the -01's & -02's could fly a circle so tight that they could drop a basket to pick up a downed pilot from the ground. Any truth to that?


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