Cessna 172: Everyman's Airplane

May 1, 1992

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Everyman's Airplane

Few subjects over the years have warranted 20 pages in this magazine, but then there has never been an airplane quite like the Cessna 172. Uniquely common, the 172 graces more ramps than any other airplane. Likewise, most logbooks have at least an entry or two with a "C172" in the "Aircraft Make and Model" column. Why such ubiquity? The Skyhawk is an ordinary yet extraordinary airplane. It's not particularly fast nor thrilling to fly. But who doesn't remember his first flight in one? With the 172, Cessna hit on just the right combination of economy and fun to keep us all coming back. The following stories highlight the model's changes over the years, discuss the reasons for the 172s success, note its weaknesses, show it at work, and detail ways to improve it. In the end, we think you'll understand why the 172 really is everyman's airplane.
AOPA Pilot - May 1992

172: Evolution Observed
A short flying course in the history of the Skyhawk.
By Buz Marten

Anatomy of a Success
An inside look at building the world's most popular airplane.
By Thomas A. Horne

Where the Trouble Is
The Skyhawk's accident profile.
By Thomas A. Horne

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'The World's Best-Kept Secret'
Forget stocks and CDs; invest in a Skyhawk.
By Mark R. Twombly

Skyhawk Mods and Ends
The most popular modifications for the most popular airplane.
By Marc E. Cook

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Not all 172s earn their livings at flight schools.
By William L. Gruber