Anyone Could Fly
In 1930, the Cessna Aircraft Company offered the public a chance to fly. For the price of $398, a CG-2 glider could be bought by catalog. The CG's design was based on German primary gliders used to train pilots after World War I. The CG could be pulled by automobile, aircraft, or could be launched to flight speed by a slingshot-like device off a hill or ridge.
The Museum's CG-2 was purchased in 1930 by ten members of the Yakima Glider Club. The glider cost $400 and was flown by the club for ten years.
To Survive the Great Depression
To keep his aircraft manufacturing company alive in hard times, Clyde Cessna began to sell small and simple aircraft such as the CG-2. Designed and built with his son, Eldon, the little sport glider became the basis for many other small Cessna aircraft including the CPG-1, a powered glider; the CS-1, a sailplane; and the EC-2, a tiny one-place monoplane. Sadly, sales of the CG-2 and its offspring could not save the Cessna Company from closing for three years during the 1930s.
Little gliders like this were used in Europe to teach the basics of flying. Under disciplined instruction and with plenty of manpower, the glider was launched downhill by a shock cord. The student would demonstrate correct control movements and aircraft attitudes to fly the ship straight-ahead for landing. When the gliders caught on in the U.S., they were used somewhat differently. Freewheeling wealthy Americans, spurned on by claims primary gliders were "easy to fly," towed them behind automobiles and flew them like airplanes with little or no instruction. The expected tragedies often resulted.