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Cessna's CR-3 racer
- a short history -

Johnny Livingston was one of the fastest air racers of the early 1930's. Between 1928-1931 he had 79 firsts, 43 seconds, 15 thirds, and finished out of the money only twice. Progressive modifications to his famous #14 Monocoupe kept him at the front of the pack till the end of 1932, when Clyde and Eldon Cessna's new CR-2 racer hit the air racing scene. After finishing behind Cessna's CR-2 several times, Johnny commissioned the Cessnas to build him a new racer, the CR-3.

The CR-3 rolled out of Cessna's shop on June 2, 1933, and first flight was on June 11. At the June 17th Omaha Air Races, Johnny Livingston's new CR-3 finished in front of Howard's famous "Mike". At the Minneapolis Air Races on June 24-25, he again finished in front of "Mike". Before the 1933 Chicago Air Races held between July 1st and 5th, wheel covers were added to streamline the retracted landing gear, and the large canopy was replaced with a smaller streamlined windscreen-headrest. On July 3rd at the Chicago races, the CR-3 won the Baby Ruth 500 cid Free-For-All Trophy Race, narrowly beating Cessna's CR-2, and finishing in front of famous racers including Howard's "Ike", Folkert's SK-1, Howard's "Pete", and Johnny's old #14 Monocoupe. On July 4th, the CR-3 won the Aero Digest Trophy Race. To top off the Chicago races, Johnny set a new World Record of 237.4 m.p.h. for aircraft with engines smaller than 500 cid. A speed of 242 m.p.h. was recorded on the fastest of the four speed runs.

After the Chicago races, Johnny took the CR-3 on tour with the American Air Races/Baby Ruth Air Shows. He performed and raced at Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Peoria, and Detroit. Then on August 1st, 1933, after flying from Detroit to Columbus, one landing gear leg failed to lock into place, and Johnny had to bail out of his trusty little racer.

In it's short 61 day life, the CR-3 won every race it was entered in, becoming the fastest and most famous of the Cessna racers. The model in this kit represents the CR-3's final configuration as flown in July 1933 at the Chicago Air Races.


- "The Cessna Racers", Capt. Truman C. Weaver. Air Progress, Spring 1961, Pg. 81.
- Photograph, courtesy James A. Morrow.

- Photographs, courtesy Jack Abott, from the John Garrett Collection.

- "Racing Planes and Air Races - A Complete History", Vol. 3, 1932-1939, by Reed Kinert. Aero Publishers, Inc., 1967, Fallbrook, California, Page 34. Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 67-16455.

- "Cessna - A Master's Expression", by Edward H. Phillips. Flying Books Int., 1996, Eagen, MN. ISBN 0-911139-04-4.

- "The Golden Age of Air Racing, pre-1940", S.H. Schmid and Truman C. Weaver. EAA Aviation Foundation, Inc., 1991. ISBN 0-940000-00-8.

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