By Boran Pivčić
All photos author
Going through my photo database – a Herculean task I must say – I’ve noticed that there are quite a few old model Cessnas and Pipers in Croatia, pre-1970s vintage. Though somewhere else they might be considered normal and ordinary – Australia and New Zealand spring to mind – here they’re a bit of a rarity. So, in a an obvious lack of inspiration to write anything else, here’s a short run through a couple of these odd-balls :).
(unfortunately, I’ve not been able to find out the manufacture year for most of these aircraft. Their data plaques were most uninformative, while serial number searches on the net turned up little useful info. This list is then primarily based on their version letters)
1. 9A-DAH, Reims (Cessna) F150K
Serial No.: F150-0631
Operated by: Aeroklub Krila Kvarnera
Based at Grobnik airfield (LDRG) just outside of Rijeka on the coast, this early model 150 – French-built no less – is the oldest 150 model I’ve seen in Croatia. Most others are either L or M versions (both Wichita- and Reims-built) so catching this one on a surprise visit was of relatively high priority :).
2. 9A-DNG, Reims (Cessna) F172F Skyhawk
Serial No.: 0111
Operated by: Air Mravinac
Our second oldie is what I believe to be the oldest Skyhawk in Croatia. Based at Čepin airfield (LDOC) near Osijek in eastern Croatia, this gem still has the early – and nowadays very rare – 6 cylinder O-300 engine of 145 HP (with a fixed pitch prop), in more modern Skyhawks replaced by the 160 HP 4 cyl O-320 or 180 HP IO-360. Was very excited to catch this one, didn’t know we even had one on the register…
3. 9A-DJZ, Piper PA-28-140 Cherokee Cruiser
Serial No.: 28-7425212
Operated by: private
Third on the list is the precursor to the very popular Piper Warrior – the small and simple Cherokee. Sharing the same family tree, the Cherokee was the smallest of the PA-28 line, powered by a 140 HP engine (in contrast to the 160 HP on later Cherokee models and the 180 HP on the Warrior). Based at Dubrovnik in the extreme south of the country, DJZ rarely ventures here to the north – who would with 140 HP and 3+ hours of flight time – so the only photos I have of it were taken back in 2005 with my old Fuji S5000 camera.
4. 9A-DTD, Cessna 182K Skylane
Serial No.: 182-57946
Operated by: private
The last on the list for this post is a relative newcomer, first spotted by me in October 2008. A mid-model Skylane, DTD was configured in a skydive configuration with an upward opening door modification I’ve frequently seen on dedicated-but-not-built-as-such skydive aircraft (including HA-SVH, the Cessna 185 featured a couple of posts back). Bought for that purpose, DTD is one of the few Skylanes of any model in the country.