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The History of Flight 1903-1945 through the Eyes of the Man Who Lived it, Clyde Cessna

Gary as Clyde Cessna with his planeThe name Cessna has long been associated with the manufacture of airplanes in Wichita, Kansas, the Air Capital of the World. From humble beginnings in Kingman County, Kansas near the small town of Adams, came Clyde Cessna, an automobile dealer with a dream to fly his own plane. Not just any airplane, but a revolutionary monoplane, one with a full cantilever wing (a single wing without struts or braces), unheard of at that time.

Eight years after the Wright brothers' successful flight he became one of the first west of the Mississippi to fly. Following crack-ups, frustrations, and near financial ruin the pioneer was at last airborne.

Gary as Clyde CessnaGary Krehbiel tells in vivid detail the ups and downs of the events that lead the Cessna Aircraft Company to be the world's largest manufacture of light airplanes. Krehbiel's own life experiences have taught him the tenacity to never give up and help him relate to Clyde's emotions at stressful times. The audience always comes away with new respect for the pioneers who risked and often times gave their lives so that we might have safe air travel today.

Krehbiel, who farms only three miles from Cessna's home, has put together his first person narrative by talking with Clyde's acquaintances and family members, reading a multitude of books, and immersing himself in newspapers and other primary resources. His thoroughly entertaining and educational presentation is ideal for civic clubs, schools, aviation gatherings, historical groups, libraries, and festivals. Pictures and transparencies are available.

Contact information

Historian/researcher/actor Gary Krehbiel can be reached through Prisca Krehbiel at:

This site was created in 2003 by the Kansas Alliance of Professional Historic Performers and Ride into History Cultural and Educational Project, Inc. with an Attraction Development Grant from the Kansas Department of Commerce and Housing Travel & Tourism Development Division

Original site concept and development by Danny C. Boyce Computer and Network Support and Consulting, Emporia Kansas

Ongoing website maintenance performed by Megan Matile

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