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Bargain Buys on AircraftForSale: 1948 Cessna 120

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Fun and affordability often top the list of priorities for any airplane owner. One effective way to enjoy both qualities is with a lively taildragger that provides good, basic functionality without complications. At $35,500—less than the price of a base Ford F-150 pickup—today’s bargain offers a compelling blend of qualities that might be impossible to beat.

Launched as a basic, budget version of the already simple Cessna 140, the 120 is almost identical to its compatriot. Identifiable by the lack of rear/side windows and flaps, the 120 is otherwise almost identical to the 140, and owners observe that the 140’s flaps offer little benefit, to begin with. This particular 120 has been modified with a metalized wing, which eliminates the need to periodically undergo the expensive process of replacing wing fabric at the cost of a bit of useful load.

One of the most attractive aspects of this particular 120 is the engine. What was once a basic Continental C85 has been upgraded with an O-200 crankshaft, providing a noticeable boost in performance. The engine has only 168 hours since major overhaul and has new Superior cylinders, magnetos, and a new alternator, checking some major maintenance boxes for the new owner.

Inside, this 120 sports custom leather seats and a simple yet logical panel layout. The original antiquated switches have been replaced with modern toggles and a push-button starter. Additional weight savings could be easily achieved by replacing the venturi-driven gyro instruments with modern digital gauges. 

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A cheap and fun way to get into the sky, this docile and well-supported taildragger will provide its new owner with years of enjoyment at a price that’s little more than the engine overhaul it recently received.

You can arrange financing of the aircraft through FLYING Finance and quickly calculate your monthly payment using the airplane finance calculator. For more information, email [email protected]

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