Sporty’s refurbished Cessna 172LITE project caught on fast.
A used Skyhawk with an overhauled engine, new interior, and a fresh coat of paint (among other improvements) will rent for $99 an hour at Sporty’s Academy at Clermont County Airport in Batavia, Ohio. The announcement in December got the phone ringing and Charlie Masters’ inbox filling. Masers, vice president of aircraft sales at Eastern Cincinnati Aviation, the Sporty’s fixed-base operation, said a 172LITE currently in the paint shop will be available in mid-February for $132,900, with more to follow.
“There is industry-wide demand for a basic, affordable airplane for the training and rental market for which the 172LITE hits the spot,” Masters said in a Jan. 28 news release.
The price of each aircraft will vary, along with the time required to complete the tip-to-tail refurbishment.
“We can either find an airframe or I am currently talking to a flight school about refurbishing their fleet,” Masters said in an email. “Price, of course is very dependent on the condition of the ‘donor’ airframe and options requested.”
The refurbishment includes inspection and replacement as needed of windows, cables, switches, lights, and most other items. The stock plastic instrument panel itself is replaced with a metal version, and the avionics are inspected and replaced as needed. In the Sporty's version, the avionics are kept simple with a comm radio and transponder installed, though buyers can elect to have additional instrumentation as needed.
The rear seat is removed to increase useful load and cargo area, and the Lycoming O-320-H2AD is replaced with an overhauled O-320-D2J (per supplemental type certificate). Carpets are replaced with approved vinyl floor covering.
The concept, Sporty’s Founder and Chairman Hal Shevers announced in December, is to deliver an airplane that looks brand new and can be flown at an affordable price.
“Due to the low acquisition cost, we can offer it for just $99 (an hour), lowering the cost of admission in a Part 23 certified aircraft capable of flying two real-sized adults," Shevers said in the initial press release.