Overview of the Cessna 172 aircraft

The 172 Cessna Skyhawk is one of most reliable, sturdy planes in the General aviation business. "The Skyhawk aircraft is an all-metal, single-engine piston, high-wing monoplane with a four-person seating" (http://skyhawk.cessna.com), with fixed landing gear, as well as sufficient luggage space in the tail empennage. However, one should not carry a full load of 4 passengers and any cargo in a 160 or 170 Horsepower model. It is capable of both day and night VFR and IFR. New 2001 standard models start from approximately $144,000, although models from the 1960's are still very common in flight today.

The Cessna Skyhawks are notoriously good for their safety record, and take effort to stall, and much more effort to put into a spin. They fly straight & level flight pretty easily and decently, as well. This is all mostly attributed to its solid aerodynamics, airframe design, and high wing structure. Thus, they are good aircraft for new flight students, and are very widely used in flight instruction. The Civil Air Patrol also exclusively uses the Cessna 172 for their air search & rescue and emergency services missions, for reasons including their reliability, stability, and good view (with the wings above the cockpit).

Cessna Skyhawks are extremely popular aircraft, and are used for recreational and business purposes, although it is more common for recreation and flight training use. Most airports with rental craft with have Skyhawks available, but prices will vary greatly. The 172s use 100LL (Low Lead) Aviation Fuel, one of the few fuels left with lead in it. The Skyhawk is by far Cessna's best selling model.

I have personally soloed in a Cessna 172 at the Civil Air Patrol's National Flight Academy at Fort Pickett, VA. I must say that it is a very nice aircraft to handle, easy to learn with, comfortable, and reliable. I have always enjoyed flying in the 172s and it would probably be the aircraft I'd buy if I had the money.


  • Wing Span - 36 ft.
  • Wing Area - 175.5 sq ft.
  • Length - 26 ft. 11 in.
  • Height - 8 ft. 11 in.
  • Cabin Width - 39.5 in.
  • Cabin Height - 48 in.
  • Cabin Length - 142 in.
  • Standard Empty Weight - 1,600 lb.
  • Ramp Weight - 2,457 lb.
  • Maximum Takeoff Weight - 2,450 lb.
  • Landing Weight - 2,450 lb.
  • Maximum Useful Load - 857 lb.
  • Fuel Capacity - 56 gal./53 gal. useable
  • Fuel Type - AVGas 100 LL (or AV100, but not recommended)
  • Oil Capacity - 8 qt.
  • Maximum Speed (sea level) - 123 knots
  • Cruise Speed (80% power at 8,000 ft.) - 122 knots
  • Rate of Climb - 720 Feet Per Minute
  • Service Ceiling - 13,500 ft.
  • Stall Speeds (flaps up, power off) - 51 knots; (flaps down) - 47 knots
  • Takeoff Roll - 945 ft.
  • Landing Roll - 550 ft.
  • Wing Loading - 14.1 lb./sq. ft.
  • Power Loading - 15.3 lb./hp.
  • Range (80% power, 8,000 ft.) - 580 naut. mi. --- (60% power, 10,000 ft.) - 687 naut. mi.
  • Engine - Lycoming IO-360-L2A, four-cylinder opposed, fuel-injected, 160 bhp at 2,400 rpm
  • Propeller - McCauley two blade, fixed pitch, 75" diameter