Race planes of the 1930s' - The Cessna CR-2

By Willie Bodenstein


Built by the Clyde V. Cessna Aircraft Company, the Cessna CR-2 was a mid-winged racing aircraft in the CR series of Cessna racers.

It first flew in 1930 and the GR-2, named Miss Wanda, went to race successfully until 1933.

The first CR-1 proved to be too difficult to handle, requiring a redesign of the aircraft.

The new plane, a mid-wing open cockpit taildragger using a fabric covered wooden wing structure, had an additional 2 foot of wing and 2 foot added to the fuselage length. The landing gear was manually retractable into the fuselage.

In 1932, the aircraft was rebuilt with thinner wings, retractable landing gear and a 499 cubic inch Warner engine.

In the 1930 Omaha Air Races, the CR-2 was placed fourth in the under 500 cubic inch class and fifth in the unlimited class. Handling remained a problem and an updated version, the CR-3 raced in the 1930 National Air Races and finished in second place in the 650c.i. category, third in the 800c.i. category and second in the 450c.i. category. A female, Pilot Mae Haizlip, took second place in the Women's Free for All.

It did not race in 1931 but in 1932 it finished second in the 510c.i. race, third in the 800c.i. race and third in the Cleveland Cincinnati race.

Five races were entered in 1933. The CR-3 won the Miami Races, was placed second in the Chicago American Air Races and second again in the Aero Digest Trophy Race. It competed in the Chicago International Air Races with a modified cowling and in the Shell Speed Dash during which it suffered a cowling failure that struck the wing and caused a somersaulting crash.

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