Wednesday, July 1, 2009



STANDARD DATA: (1986) Seats 4. Gross wt. 2,400. Empty wt. 1,414. Fuel capacity 43-68. Engine 160- hp Lycoming. PERFORMANCE: Top mph 142. Cruise mph 138. Stall mph 53. Initial climb rate 700. Ceiling 13,000. Range 506-869. Takeoff distance (50) 1,825. Landing distance (50') 1,280.

STANDARD DATA: (1976) Seats 4. Gross wt. 2,300. Empty wt. 1,387. Fuel capacity 42-52. Engine 150- hp Lycoming. PERFORMANCE: Top mph 144. Cruise mph 138. Stall mph 41. Initial climb rate 645. Range 657. Ceiling 13,100. Takeoff distance (50') 1,525. Landing distance (50') 1,250.

STANDARD DATA: (1963) Seats 4. Gross wt. 2,300. Empty wt. 1,260. Fuel capacity 42. Engine 140-hp Continental. PERFORMANCE: Top mph 138. Cruise mph 130. Stall mph 49. Initial climb rate 645. Range 595. Ceiling 13,100. Takeoff distance (50') 1,525. Landing distance (50') 1,250.

The Cessna 172/Skyhawk has undoubtedly been the most popular four-place aircraft among general aviation pilots for close to three decades. First produced in 1956, the 172 was initially a revision of the model 170 with a tricycle landing gear and redesigned tail surfaces. It didn’t take long for the 172 to “catch on,” and in 1960 a more deluxe version, the Skyhawk, was introduced. The 1960 models incorporated the swept vertical fin, an external baggage door, and a shorter undercarriage for easier cabin entry. The large wraparound rear window was installed in 1963, providing a full 360-degree field of vision.

Other than a few wingtip and cabin refinements, the 172/Skyhawk series remained unchanged until 1968 when a 150-hp four-cylinder Lycoming replaced the 145-hp Continental O-300-C engine. The 1970 models offered conical-camber wingtips, a light gray instrument panel, and other small refinements. A wider, softer spring-steel gear called Land-O-Matic was fitted onto the 172 in 1971, similar to the main legs on the 150 and Cardinal. The 172/Skyhawk featured an increased vertical fin, which was now a standard item on all new Cessnas. More recent versions sport the redesigned camber- lift wing introduced on the 1972/182 model, as well as improved soundproofing and a new instrument panel arrangement.

The Skyhawk/100, introduced in 1977, had more horsepower and speed, greater climb performance, and a higher service ceiling—all this with less fuel con consumption than previous models. Using a 160-hp Lycoming, the Skyhawk has at its disposal 10 additional horsepower to yield a 1-1/2 mph increase in cruise speed and a 5% improvement in fuel consumption. It will clear a 50-foot obstacle in 1,440 feet, 85 feet less than earlier model Skyhawks. In addition, the modern engine is designed to use the readily available 100-octane fuel. Other refinements include improved instrument visibility, a flap control with infinite settings, a vernier mixture control and optional rudder trim.

Air conditioning was added as an option in 1978, and in 1979 the Skyhawk’s flap extension speed was increased from 98 mph to 127 mph, permitting earlier use of the flaps. For 1981, the Skyhawk offered increased useful load, a new engine, improved handling, and a new avionics cooling system. The ramp weight was increased 100 pounds, allowing for 89 pounds of extra useful load after 11 pounds are subtracted as a result of a heavier engine. The new engine was a 160-hp Lycoming O-320-D2J with an oil cooler and full flow oil filter as standard accessories. Also, a rounded leading edge on the elevator reduced elevator forces required during landing flare.


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