AOPA Pilot Special Report: 50th Anniversary of the Cessna 172

December 2, 2006

Video - The First 172

Video - A 172 Reunion

Cessna 172 in the Spotlight

What is so special about this 50-year old airplane that AOPA Pilot has dedicated an exclusive section in its honor? Find out in these pages why the Cessna 172 evokes passionate memories tantamount to a first love affair. Rediscover your own lingering Skyhawk memories by browsing through recollections shared by AOPA members, the Cessna 172 original test pilot and engineering team, and AOPA Pilot staff. We are excited to bring you behind-the-scenes video of N5000A - the first 172 to come off the production line - and its test pilots and engineers. A timeline shows the many changes to the airplane over the years. To round out today's 172 experiences we've gone back into the AOPA Pilot article vault to bring you additional editorial and photography coverage from previous issues, including a special package of stories we wrote in the May 1992 issue. Let us know what you think - send e-mail to
Cessna 172 Timeline

'92 AOPA Pilot Special Report

Cessna 172 Links

Member Experiences

Previous 172 Sweepstakes

AOPA Pilot - April 2006

The Skyhawk Turns 50
The few similarities and many differences between 172s then and now.
By Peter A. Bedell

Queen of the Fleet
The story of the first production 172.
By Alton K. Marsh


An Overnight to Remember in Pendleton
It's 1975, and he has an OK to fly.
By Steven W. Ells

Coast to Coast in a Skyhawk
Flying the AOPA sweepstakes airplane.
By Thomas B. Haines

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A Fledgling Heads North
International flight in a Skyhawk.
By Thomas A. Horne

Two Miles High in a 172
There's more to mountains in a 172.
By Julie K. Boatman

Coming Full Circle
Butterfly on a roller coaster.
By Machteld A. Smith

I'm Flying to Disney World
Soloing, circling Mickey's park.
By Alton K. Marsh

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Those Guys Have Guns
Nighttime encounter on the ramp.
By David W. Robb

Member of the Family
AOPA member on his third 172.
By John Hughes

Top of Its Class
The 172 is his classroom.
By Kirby Ortega

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A 172 Reunion
The original test pilots evaluate their work a half-century later.
By David W. Robb

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A Decade of Independence
Cessna celebrates another anniversary in 2006.
By Julie K. Boatman


President's Position
A lot in common.
By Phil Boyer

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Remembering the Skyhawk.
By Thomas B. Haines

Proficient Pilot
A wonderful airplane.
By Barry Schiff