5 Things You Probably Don’t Know About the Cessna 172 Skyhawk

Anders Clark

The Cessna 172 Skyhawk is a widely flown, well-known aircraft. It’s used pretty extensively by flight schools to train student and prospective pilots and companies have even created flight simulators modeled on it. If you’ve spent time flying, chances are pretty good you’ve flown in one, or even flown one. And you’ve probably heard or know that the Cessna 172 has a reputation for being a solid all around aircraft.

However, here are five things you probably didn’t know about the Cessna 172 Skyhawk.

The Most Popular Aircraft Ever

As of 2015, more than 43,000 Cessna 172’s have been built, making it the most produced and successful aircraft in history. Who’s in the number two slot? That would be the Ilyushin II-2, a two seat Russian combat aircraft produced during World War 2, with just over 36,000 made. The next closest aircraft that is still being produced, however, is the Piper PA-28, with a little under 33,000 at last count. With that kind of a lead, and 172s still rolling off the line, it seems like the Skyhawk might not be giving up the title anytime soon.

So, What Exactly is a Skyhawk?

I mean, is there a groundhawk? Deep thoughts aside, where did “Skyhawk” come from, and what makes a Cessna 172 a Skyhawk? Well, the first 172 rolled off the line on 1956, but it wasn’t until 1960 that the term “Skyhawk” first entered the scene. For the new 1961 model of the 172, Cessna wanted to develop a deluxe version that they could offer alongside the basic model. So, they called the deluxe version the “Skyhawk.” Technically, “Skyhawk” still refers to the deluxe model, while the basic model is just the Cessna 172. However, this distinction isn’t usually recognized, and for most people, all 172s are the Cessna 172 Skyhawk.

You Want to Build a What?

The Cessna 172 actually began life as a variant of the Cessna 170, a taildragger. As the story goes, a few Cessna engineers designed a nosewheel installation for the 170, and even went ahead and developed a mock-up. However, a manager happened to drop by the shop on the weekend, saw the mock-up and was not pleased. The following Monday, a memo went out from the vice president of engineering ordering that the nosewheel variant was to be destroyed. The brave engineers didn’t follow orders, however, and hid it.

In the mean time, the Piper Tri-Pacer with a tricycle configuration had been selling well, and Cessna started wondering if maybe there wasn’t something to that. They even rented a Tri-Pacer so they could do a first-hand evaluation of the airplane. Finally, they decided it was time to move forward with a tricycle-gear version of their 170. The engineers whipped out their mock-up, things moved forward, and what started as a variant became a new model. And guess what? They weren’t wrong. In the 172’s first year, Cessna built more than 1400 of the aircraft.

The Cessna 172 Took a 10 Year Break

Being popular isn’t easy work. So in 1986, the Cessna 172 decided it was time to take a sabbatical, and figure out a new direction in life. It spent the next ten years reflecting … OK, OK, that’s not what happened. What actually happened was that towards the end of the 1970s, aircraft manufacturers were getting hit with more and more lawsuits, and it was costing them huge amounts of money. During the period from 1978 – 1988, aircraft manufacturing overall declined a devastating 95% and over 100,000 people in the industry lost jobs.

Cessna, Piper, and Beech, who at the time produced over 50% of all general aviation aircraft, were the hardest hit. Cessna, who’d been making aircraft since 1927, posted their first annual loss in 1983, and by 1986 was forced to shut down production on all single engine aircraft, including the 172. Finally, in 1996, after the General Aviation Revitalization Act went into effect, Cessna was able to restart single engine production, and they brought back three models, the 172 and 182 in 1996, and the 206 in 1998.

The Cessna 172 Holds a World Record

Yeah, that’s right, the Cessna 172 holds the world record for flight endurance.

Short version:

A mere two years after the 172 hit the market, a Las Vegas businessman was approached by one of his slot machine mechanics (and WW2 bomber pilot) about funding a bid to break the flight endurance record as a promotional stunt to advertise his casino. The record had just been broken and re-set a few months previous, by a pair who flew for 50 days continuously, in a 172 dubbed The Old Scotchman. The businessman agreed, so the slot mechanic, Robert Timm, found a co-pilot, John Cook, and an aircraft, a modified Cessna 172. And on December 4th, 1958, at 3:52 PM, they lifted off.

64 days, 22 hours and 19 minutes later, Timm and Cook landed. And their record still stands today. Some time after the flight, Cook was asked whether he would ever consider trying to beat the record, to which he replied “Next time I feel in the mood to fly endurance, I’m going to lock myself in a garbage can with the vacuum cleaner running, and have Bob serve me T-bone steaks chopped up in a thermos bottle. That is, until my psychiatrist opens for business in the morning.

For the long version, check out this article.

And there you have it. Five things you may not have known about the seemingly unassuming, but actually quite amazing Cessna 172 Skyhawk.

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Flight Training Aircraft: The Most Common Types and Models

Shawn Arena

So, in your journey to earn your pilot certificates, you have most likely (a) enrolled in a flight school, (b) been presented the ground and flight curriculum you will follow and, (c) been assigned a flight instructor. The next step is the actual flying. At this step, you will most likely be learning in one of the more common types and models of flight training aircraft.

Flight Training Aircraft You May Be Using

The general aviation industry has a proud and safe reputation of providing successful flight training in time-tested training aircraft. Typically as you acquire the feel for the aircraft and the flight environment, you will be flying a ‘2-place’ trainer (i.e. 2-place is industry speak for 2-seats). While many 2-place aircraft are available, two of the most popular 2-place aircraft are the Cessna 152 and the Diamond DA 20.

Cessna 152 and Diamond DA 20

Over the past 40 years, the Cessna 152 has trained more pilots than any other type of aircraft. Cessna purposefully designed the 152 with the student pilot in mind. This aircraft model is reliable, very forgiving in the landing phase, and allows the student to learn the basic airmanship skills needed to progress in the training process. While the interior is tight, the student-instructor relationship is forged nicely, in a cost effective environment.

The Diamond DA20 Katana aircraft is an Austrian-designed, Canadian built 2-place training aircraft that has been in the general aviation fleet since 1991. Designed with the same mindset as the Cessna 152, the Katana design takes advantage of the technological advances in manufacturing using carbon-fiber composite construction for the airframe that not only reduces the aircraft weight but allows for a more aerodynamic flight.

Unlike the Cessna 152, which uses the yoke style control column, the Katana uses the central control stick system that is placed between the pilot’s legs. Another difference is the 152 is a high-wing training aircraft and the Katana is a low-wing configured aircraft. Regardless of the types and models of aircraft used in flight training, you can be assured of a safe, strong, and very stable aircraft that as you move forward in your career will be looked upon with nostalgia.

Moving Up to the Next Level of Flight Training Aircraft

Prior to your private pilot checkride, you will be introduced to one of two 4-place aircraft that not only will maintain that basic aircraft feel but will allow you taking family and friends along for rides.  They are the Cessna 172 aircraft or Piper Warrior/Cherokee aircraft.

Both aircraft are two of the most commonly available for training or rental uses at flight schools. Utilizing the same safe, sturdy, and reliable foundation of the 152 and Diamond Katana, both are great transition aircraft for instrument flight training.

The Piper Warrior/Cherokee is Piper Aircraft’s answer to the 172. The main difference between the two aircraft is the 172 is a high-wing aircraft like its predecessor, the 152. The Warrior/Cherokee is a low-wing aircraft, like the 2-place Diamond Katana. The choice between high-wing and low-wing is personal preference.

In Conclusion

The bottom line is with either 2-place or 4-place types and models used for flight training, you will initially gravitate to either the high-wing or low-wing aircraft configuration through the early and maturing stages of your flight career. After a bit, however, you may want to explore the other type and may find it just as exciting as your first training aircraft. So go out and flight test each for yourself!

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Cessna 172 Skyhawk

Cessna 172 Skyhawk

The Cessna 172 Skyhawk Is a high wing, single-engine aircraft that seats four. The first 172 was flown in 1955. More Cessna 172s have been built than any other aircraft. The Cessna 172 is considered the most successful aircraft in history. as of 2012 more than 60,000 172s have been produced. the Cessna 172 is Typically powered by 1 × Lycoming IO-360-L2A four cylinder, horizontally opposed aircraft engine, 160 hp. The 172 has a range of 881 Miles.

With more than 43,000 aircraft made, the Skyhawk is the best-selling, most-flown plane ever built. It also enjoys a distinguished reputation as the safest general aviation aircraft available. The Skyhawk is a top performer, showcasing the agility, stability, and durable strength that Cessna is famous for.

Range, payload, and versatility that you’d expect from a larger aircraft. Ergonomics that keep a pilot alert and focused for the duration of a long flight. Advanced avionics technology (glass cockpit with Garmin navigation) for ease of operation and enhanced safety.

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You can get started today by filling out our online application. If you would like more information, you can call us at (844) 435-9338, or click here to start a live chat with us.

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