The 180 has been described as “the most versatile aircraft ever designed. It flies fairly quickly, carries a good load, and can operate out of most rough and short strips.”
In Alaska, where livelihoods and lives depend on aeroplanes, the 180’s reliability and utility made it about as common as long winters. On wheels, floats, or skis, there are more Model 180s in Alaska than in any other U.S. state. It was commonly used in agricultural aviation in the 1950s where a hopper sat behind the pilot and a cutout section allowed the hopper to be filled. It was popular because it could carry maximum weight (often more) and the 50 landings or more that an ag-pilot would do each day is testimony to the stamina and strength of the plane.
Our Cessna 180 began its life in Papua New Guinea enduring the combination of mountainous terrain, cloud, precipitation and short, rough jungle airstrips. Definitely a proving ground for the reliability and toughness of the plane. It arrived there, brand new in 1980, for its new owner, John Senior. Registered as P2KIK (which was short for the town of Kikori) it was used to support John’s business interests which provided trade stores – anything from salt to cars.