Since the demise of the Cessna 152 in 1986, the Skyhawk has emerged as perhaps the preeminent general aviation trainer on the market. It may be ideal for that role, because it’s one of the world’s most forgiving airplanes, but until recently, no one considered it a technologically sophisticated airplane.
That may, however, be an unfair assessment. Like lots of pilots, I’ve spent many hours in the left seats of a variety of 172s. The airplanes are, after all, virtually everywhere. In the past 50 years, Cessna assembled nearly 40,000 of them, making the 172 the most produced airplane in history, by far. (The Sturmovik, a Russian World War II fighter, comes in a feeble second place with 36,000 units produced.) It’s not surprising, therefore, that more general aviation pilots have flown Skyhawks than any other plane.