Something happened on this day thirty-five years ago in Wichita, Kansas. A Cessna Aircraft Company production test pilot named Jim Ballard picked up a blank Aircraft Log. On the cover next to the 'N' he entered '631S' and next to 'SERIAL NO.' he wrote '18265554'. Then he turned the page and on the first leaf, next to 'Record of' he entered 'Cessna 182Q 18265554 N631S'. On the next line, next to 'With Engine' he wrote 'Continental O-470-U 465712'. Then he went out on the ramp at Wichita's Mid-Continent Airport to meet the machine whose birth as an airplane he was about to facilitate.
Jim certainly performed a careful pre-flight inspection, then he climbed into the cabin and started the big Continental six and, with concurrence from the tower, taxied for departure. Senses alert for any sign of defect or maladjustment, he took the machine off the ground and into its natural element. For 1.3 hours he checked and verified, in accordance with his production test check-list, the readiness of this machine to be sent on to its new owner-pilot. Then he landed, back where he'd begun.
After shutting down he opened the Aircraft Log once again and turned to the first page for the recording of flight data. He filled in the year, '77', and the day, 'Mar. 18'. Under From, 'Ict' and under To, 'Local'. Nature of Flight is 'Test', and Duration of Flight is '1.3'. And then he signed the column labeled Signature of Pilot...'Jim Ballard'. N631S had passed its test.