The Cessna Skymaster


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 T377 was introduced and in 1972 the pressurized T377G 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 1980 but Skymaster production continued with Reims in France with the FTB337 STOL and the military FTMA Milirole. Reims produced a total of 94 Skymasters.


The US Army used the O-2 variant as a Forward Air Controller platform during the Vietnam War.
The California Division of Forestry uses the O-2 variant 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 chose Skymasters because they were eaiser 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.


336 Skymaster – production version powered by two 210 hp Continental IO-360-A engines, 195 built. (1964)

337 Skymaster – retractable undercarriage, redesigned nose cowling and new rear engine intake, and greater wing angle of incidence, powered by two 210 hp Continental IO-360-C engines, 239 built. (1965 year model)

337A Skymaster – minor detail changes, 255 built. (1966 year model)

337B Skymaster – increased take-off gross weight, optional belly cargo pack, 230 built. (1967 year model)

T337B Turbo Skymaster –  two Continental turbocharged fuel injected 210 hp engines which boosted service ceiling to 30,000 feet (10,000 m), cruise speed to 233 mph (375 km/h), and range to 1,640 miles (2,640 km) (1967 year model)

337C Skymaster – new instrument panel and increased take-off gross-weight, 223 built. (1968 year model)

T337C Turbo Skymaster (1968 model)

337D Super Skymaster minor detail changes, 215 built. (1969 year model)

T337D Turbo Skymaster (1969 year model)

337E Skymaster – cambered wingtips and minor changes, 100 built. (1970 year model)

T337E Turbo Skymaster (1970 year model)

337F Skymaster – increased take-off gross weight, 114 built. (1971 and 1972 year models)

T337F Turbo Skymaster (1971 and 1972 year models)

337G Skymaster – split airstair entry door, smaller rear side windows, improved flaps, larger front propeller, electric-hydraulic power pack, two fuel tanks instead of four (no fuel management), powered by Continental IO-360-G engines, 352 built. (1973-1977 year models)

P337G Pressurized Skymaster (T337G-P) pressurized cabin and turbocharged engines (225 hp), 20000’ service ceiling, 292 built. (1973-1977 year models)

337H Skymaster – minor changes and optional turbocharged engines, 136 built. (1978-1980 model years)

P337H Pressurized Skymaster – T337H; minor changes, 64 built. (1978-1980 year models)


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.