There’s a new convention in town whose members will brag to you about their taildraggers. And if you don’t know what that is, you probably don’t fly a Cessna 170.
The 48th Annual International Cessna 170 Association convention is convening in Columbus starting today, with many of the participants flying their taildragger planes into Columbus Municipal Airport for the gathering, said Karen Kresovsky of Columbus, who organized the event.
About 150 people are expected for the convention, which goes through Thursday, headquartered at the Clarion Hotel and Conference Center on Columbus’ west side.
As far as the taildragger designation, it’s an aviation term that explains the different configuration and location for a plane’s landing gear, said Richard Pulley, the Cessna 170 Association president.
Story continues below gallery
On most modern aircraft, the landing gear is under the wings and on the nose, so the nose remains level to the fuselage, he said. But on a taildragger, which is what a Cessa 170 is, the landing gear is toward the front, and the plane has a tail wheel instead of a nose wheel, resulting in the tail looking like it’s sitting on the ground with the nose up in the air when the plane is on the ground, he said.
There were about 5,000 Cessna 170s built between 1948 and 1955, and about 2,000 of them are still flying. The aircraft cruises at about 115 miles per hour, gets around 15 miles per gallon and has a 400-mile range.
Pulley, who has owned a Cessna 170 since 1973, said he joined the association in 2006.
“First off, it has classic lines,” he said of the aircraft, which was built between 1948 and 1955. “It’s just a beautiful airplane. The Cessna designers engineered an airplane that could last 65 years — and even longer.”
The association formed to celebrate the classic Cessna is meeting for the 48th time this year, and it’s the first visit to Columbus, Kresovsky said.
Association members are flying in from around the world. Some are taking commercial flights or driving, she said, because having a Cessna 170 isn’t a requirement to being an association member.
“You just need a good appreciation for flying,” she said.
Association members also include those who once owned the planes who no longer fly, including some former pilots in their 90s. The association members have sessions planned with the local Young Eagles group and the Civil Air Patrol to allow members to meet the newest generation of pilots.
Kresovsky has planned a jam-packed week of activities for the group, showcasing the architecture and engineering aspects of Columbus. The Columbus Architectural Tour is on the schedule, as is a tour of Camp Atterbury near Edinburgh and visits to Cummins Inc. and Dorel Juvenile Group in Columbus.
In a takeoff of the traditional motorcycle poker run, association members will fly their planes to nearby airports to pick up a hand of cards in a poker game. There is also a flying scavenger hunt in the works as part of the convention, with members flying to nearby locations to pick up items.
Since having planes on-site offers a chance to fly out of Columbus for other nearby attractions, members can also travel to Wright Patterson Air Force Museum to tour the Wright Brothers museum in Dayton, Ohio, and fly in a replica of their B Flyer replica of the first Wright brothers production airplane.
Free time offers chances to tour the Atterbury-Bakalar Air Museum on the Columbus airport grounds or to tour nearby Nashville in Brown County or check out shopping at Edinburgh Premium Outlets.
Pulley, who flew from Alaska to Texas on Tuesday to prepare his Cessna 170 for the convention, said he’s particularly looking forward to the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base trip. As he is a mechanical engineer, he is also looking forward to the Cummins tour.
Pulley said it won’t be hard to find the convention planes at the airport. Columbus residents will see 20 to 40 of the planes flying in an out of Columbus beginning today.
The International Cessna 170 Association was formed in 1969. The association has 1,204 members that own a total of 960 Cessna 170s. Members organize many fly-ins around the country. An annual convention is held in different locations each year.
The 2016 convention will be at Columbus Municipal Airport in Columbus today through Thursday.
The association offers a $1,000 scholarship to a student pursuing a career in an aviation-related field. The applicant must be accepted at an educational institution and enrolled in an aviation-related program. The applicant does not have to be a member of The International Cessna 170 Association.
For applications or more information, visit cessna170.org/