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Eyes on the Skywagons

International Cessna Convention is in town Tuesday

— Those who keep their eyes on the sky may notice high air traffic at the Steamboat Springs Airport this week.

Starting Tuesday, more than 100 Cessna “Skywagons” will be in town for the International 180-185 Convention. The convention begins Tuesday and ends Sunday.

Skywagons are Cessna 180 and 185 single-engine, tail-wheel airplanes. They were manufactured from 1953 to 1985, said Ron Lewark, the Rocky Mountain director for the International 180-185 Club.



The club is a social organization comprised of people who own Skywagons. There are about 1,650 members of the club; they meet for social “fly-ins” throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico.

Lewark said that Skywagons are a utility-type aircraft that can land and take off on short, backcountry strips. They are often used in Alaska, he said.



“They’re like the pickup truck of the aircraft fleet,” he said.

Although Skywagons are tough, the ones at this convention are more likely to be like “pampered pets,” said Lewark, who recently had his painted. Lewark has owned his Skywagon for 30 years, and it’s a part of the family, he said.

This is the first time that the convention will be in Steamboat. The pilots and their passengers have booked 125 rooms at the Steamboat Grand Resort Hotel.

To accommodate the pilots, Mel Baker, manager of the Steamboat Springs Airport, has expanded parking and tie-down facilities. Spillover airplane traffic will be diverted to the Yampa Valley Regional, Craig and Kremmling airports.


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