Owning the first Cessna 182 has created a bond among families. They all hold fond affection for N4966E, eagerly sharing information and family memories of their time together and delight in the restoration of this family member. Another commonality, all the owners kept to flying in fair weather, truly making them "Sunglass Flyers". So, please meet the owners who have given N4966E such impeccable care:
John Casalegno chartered Ed Croymans' plane for a business flight in August of 2001, during which he caught the flying bug. He soon began taking lessons from renowned instructor Bill Werner, going on to earn his private pilot certificate. In 2003 the opportunity arose for John and wife Debbie to purchase the Cessna in which he had received his first lesson and they have been enjoying flights across Montana's Big Sky Country ever since. John especially enjoys time at the controls with son Mark, who is also a pilot. This historic plane was purchased with the intent of restoring it to its original condition. The restoration began in October of 2004, consuming three years filled with generous labor provided by friends and family. The restored Cessna 182 resumes mixing business and family flying, out classing any factory fresh airplane. Watch for its reflection in Montana skies or drawing crowds at an upcoming air show.
Ed Croymans found the first Cessna 182 ever built for sale on-line and purchased it from the Steffl Estate in 2001. The Steffl family all came to the airport and following hugs, photos and tears watched N4966E taxi away for its trip to Montana. For several years the plane was flown throughout the Pacific Northwest, Rockies and Dakotas growing a wholesale aviation fuel business. There was nothing like taxiing up to a prospective client and walking in from the ramp for a meeting! His reinvestment in the plane included rebuilding the original engine, a new propeller and modernized avionics. A favorite Saturday activity was to wash and vacuum the plane, while his youngest son zipped around the hangar on his scooter. With his oldest son preparing to start college the time had come to sell the plane, placing focus on his growing family's needs. Ed is delighted to have found a buyer with restoration goals and has followed that progress.
With 1,100 flying hours, the first Cessna 182 came back to the US in 1961. Don Steffl of New Ulm, MN registered it with tail numbers N4966E and retained ownership for 40 years. Sundays were a family day of flying, shared amongst his seven children. The Cessna proved invaluable transporting son Francis weekly, to and from the Minnesota School for the Deaf. This plane played an integral role in the family's lifestyle. Don had a growing insurance business as well as a working farm 100 miles away, to which they flew once or twice a week. Never flying in the dark or rain, he was a conscientious pilot who kept meticulous maintenance records. N4966E received a sporty coat of red paint and interior in 1965.
Painted in a factory-issue ""Pawnee Yellow" scheme, the first production Cessna 182 was sold on November 2, 1956 with a base price of $13,750.00. It was registered to Ignacio M. Martinez of Torreon, Mexico displaying identifier "XB-ZWQ". It was a true "Businessliner" serving the family enterprise, providing transportation to prospect zinc mines in the state of Zacatecas. Now, generations later, Ignacio's great grandson is aspiring to be an aerospace engineer.