Can it really be almost 50 years since Cessna introduced the first C-172? In a word, yes. Next year, the Wichita, Kan., company will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the C-172’s introduction, and the rest, as no one should ever say again, is history.
Well, not quite. The Skyhawk is hardly history. It remains in production in 2005 as one of the best-selling airplanes in the world, a talented jack-of-many-trades. At least two generations of pilots have logged their share of hours in the type, and it continues to engender respect and even grudging admiration from family fliers, instructors and students, and even an occasional business operator.