A stable and trustworthy plane, most pilots have logged at least a few hours in a Cessna 172, since it's the most widely available aircraft in the rental fleet, and is used by most flight schools. Since the first prototype was completed in 1955, more than 35,000 C172s have been produced, making it the world's most popular single-engine plane. One of Cessna's first tricycle-gear airplanes, the 172 quickly became the favorite of a growing class of business pilots. Its reliability and easy handling (along with thoughtful engineering and structural updates) have ensured its continued popularity for
Design and Development
Measured by its longevity and popularity, the Cessna 172 is the most successful mass-produced light aircraft in history. The first production models were delivered in 1956. As of 2008, more than 43,000 had been built.The Skyhawk's main competitors have been the Beechcraft Musketeer and Grumman AA-5 series (neither in production), the Piper Cherokee, and, more recently, the Diamond DA40.
The Cessna 172 started life as a tricycle landing gear variant of the taildragger Cessna 170, with a basic level of standard equipment. In January 1955, the company had flown an improved variant of the Cessna 170, a Continental O-300-A-powered Cessna 170C with a larger elevator and more angular vertical tail.Although the variant was tested and certified, Cessna decided to modify it with a tricycle landing gear, and the modified Cessna 170C flew again on 12 June 1955. To reduce the time and cost of certification, the type was added to the Cessna 170 type certificate as the Model 172.Later, the 172 was given its own type certificate, 3A12. The 172 became an overnight sales success, and over 1,400 were built in 1956, its first full year of production.
Early 172s were similar in appearance to the 170s, with the same straight aft fuselage and tall gear legs, although the 172 had a straight vertical tail while the 170 had a rounded fin and rudder. Later 172 versions incorporated revised landing gear and the sweptback tail which is still in use today. The final aesthetic development, in the mid-1960s, was a lowered rear deck that allowed an aft window. Cessna advertised this added rear visibility as "Omni-Vision." This airframe configuration has remained almost unchanged since then, except for updates in avionics and engines, including the Garmin G1000 glass cockpit in 2005. Production had been halted in the mid-1980s, but was resumed in 1996 with the 160 hp (120 kW) Cessna 172R Skyhawk. This was supplemented in 1998 by the 180 hp (135 kW) Cessna 172S Skyhawk SP.
The Cessna 172 may be modified via a wide array of Supplemental Type Certificates (STCs), including increased engine power and higher gross weights. Available STC engine modifications increase power from 180 to 210 hp (134 to 157 kW), add constant-speed propellers, or allow the use of automobile gasoline. Other modifications include additional fuel tank capacity in the wing tips, added baggage compartment tanks, added wheel pants to reduce drag, or enhanced landing and takeoff performance and safety with a STOL kit.
On December 4, 1958 Robert Timm and John Cook took off from McCarran Airfield in Las Vegas, NV in a newly-built Cessna 172, registration number N9172B. Sixty-four days, 22 hours, 19 minutes and 5 seconds later, they landed back at McCarran Airfield on February 4, 1959. The flight was part of a fund-raising effort for the Damon Runyon Cancer Fund. Food and water were transferred by matching speeds with a chase car on a straight stretch of road in the desert, and hoisting the supplies aboard with a rope and bucket. Fuel was taken on by hoisting a hose from a fuel truck up to the aircraft, filling an auxiliary belly tank installed for the flight, pumping that fuel into the aircraft's regular tanks and then filling the belly tank again. The drivers steered while a second person matched speeds with the aircraft with his foot on the vehicle's accelerator pedal.
Engine oil was added by means of a tube from the cabin that was fitted to pass through the firewall. Only the pilot's seat was installed. The remaining space was used for a pad on which the relief pilot slept. The right cabin door was replaced with an easy-opening, accordion-type door to allow supplies and fuel to be hoisted aboard. Early in the flight, the engine-driven electric generator failed. A Champion wind-driven generator (turned by a small propeller) was hoisted aboard, taped to the wing support strut, and plugged into the cigarette lighter socket; it served as the aircraft's source of electricity for the rest of the flight. The pilots decided to end the marathon flight because with 1,558 hours of continuously running the engine during the record-setting flight, plus several hundred hours already on the engine beforehand (considerably in excess of its normal overhaul interval), the engine's power output had deteriorated to the point that they were barely able to climb away after refueling. The aircraft is on display in the passenger terminal at McCarran International Airport. Photos and details of the record flight can be seen in a small museum on the upper level of the baggage claim area.After the flight, Cook said: “Next time I feel in the mood to fly endurance, I'm going to lock myself in our garbage can with the vacuum cleaner running. That is, until my psychiatrist opens up for business in the morning.”
Blue and Gold - A Cessna 172 with blue and gold colors
Orange and Black - A Cessna 172 with orange and black colors
Used Trainer - A Cessna 172 that has been used for training purposes
A variant of the 172, the T-41 Mescalero was used as a trainer with the United States Air Force and Army. In addition, the United States Border Patrol uses a fleet of 172s for aerial surveillance along the Mexico-US border.
The Irish Air Corps uses the Reims version for aerial surveillance and monitoring of cash, prisoner and explosive escorts, in addition to army co-operation and pilot training roles. The type is popular and successful in service despite some accidents. Air Corps examples are painted dark green and carry the service roundels. Most are not fitted with the distinctive wheel spats.
- Austrian Air Force 1× 172
- Bolivian Air Force 3× 172K
- Chilean Army 18× R172K
- Guatemalan Air Force 6× 172K
- Irish Air Corps 8× FR172H, 1× FR172K
- State Border Guard Service (One in service)
- Malagasy Air Force 4× 172M
- Pakistan Air Force 4× 172N
- Philippine Army (1)
- Royal Saudi Air Force 8× F172G, 4× F172H, 4× F172M
- Republic of Singapore Air Force 8× 172K, delivered 1969 and retired 1972.
Accidents and incidents
- On October 23, 1964, David Box, lead singer for The Crickets on their 1960 release version of "Peggy Sue Got Married" and "Don't Cha Know" and later a solo artist, was killed when the Cessna 172 he was aboard crashed in northwest Harris County, Texas while en route to a performance. Box was the second lead vocalist for The Crickets to die in a plane crash after Buddy Holly.
- On August 31, 1969, Rocky Marciano was killed when the Cessna 172, in which he was a passenger, crashed on approach to an airfield outside Newton, Iowa.
- On September 25, 1978, a Cessna 172, N7711G, collided with Pacific Southwest Airlines Flight 182, a Boeing 727. The two aircraft crashed over San Diego, California. There were a total of 144 fatalities: two in the Cessna 172, 135 on the PSA Flight 182 and seven on the ground.
- On May 28, 1987, a rented Reims Cessna F172P, D-ECJB, was used by a German teenage pilot Mathias Rust to fly an unauthorized flight from Helsinki-Malmi Airport through Soviet airspace to land near the Red Square in Moscow, all without being intercepted by Soviet air defense.
- On April 9, 1990, Atlantic Southeast Airlines Flight 2254, an Embraer EMB 120 Brasilia, collided head-on with a Civil Air Patrol Cessna 172, N99501, while en route from Gadsden Municipal Airport to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. The Cessna crashed, killing two occupants, but the Brasilia made a safe emergency landing.
- On January 5, 2002, high school student Charles J. Bishop stole a Cessna 172, N2731N, and crashed it into the side of the Bank of America Tower in downtown Tampa, Florida, killing only himself and otherwise causing very little damage.
- On April 6, 2009, a Cessna 172N, C-GFJH, was stolen by a student from Confederation College in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada and entered United States airspace over Lake Superior. The plane was intercepted and followed by NORAD F-16s, finally landing on Highway 60 in Ellsinore, Missouri after a seven-hour flight. The student pilot, a Canadian citizen born in Turkey, Adam Dylan Leon, formerly known as Yavuz Berke, was suffering from depression and attempted to commit suicide by being shot down. Instead, he was arrested shortly after landing. On November 3, 2009, he was sentenced to two years in a US federal prison after he pleaded guilty in August 2009 to all three charges against him: interstate transportation of a stolen aircraft, importation of a stolen aircraft, and illegal entry. College procedures at the time permitted students access to aircraft and the keys were routinely left in the aircraft.
Maximum Speed - 126 kts (203 km/hr)
Cruise Speed - 124 kts (200 km/hr) rar
Engine - Textron Lycoming IO-360-L2A 180 bhp
Propeller - Two-Bladed Macauley Fixed Pitch
Maximum Range - 638 nm (734 mi, 1181 km)
Service Ceiling - 14,000 ft (4267 m)
Fuel Capacity - 56 gal (212 L)
Empty Weight - 1,665 lb (1,002 kg)
Maximum Gross Weight - 2,550 lb (1,157 kg)
Length - 27 ft, 2 in (8.2 m)
Wingspan - 36 ft, 1 in (11 m)
Height - 8 ft, 11 in (2.72 m)
Seating - 4
Useful Load - 893 lb (405 kg)
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