Budget Buy: Affordable time builder

Cessna 175 Skylark

Here’s another of the truly affordable aircraft—as opposed to the aircraft that are affordable if you’re rich.
February Briefing

The Cessna 175 Skylark remains, nearly 60 years later, a good performer. It will haul a load at 108 knots, maybe 110, and many have been modified with larger or just different engines to go a lot faster. However, none of those turned up on the market during the time this was written.

The original geared Continental GO-300 engine had one little problem, heat, that can be avoided by following guidance from the operating manual. Its time between overhaul is 1,200 hours. Older airplanes can develop expensive problems more frequently than newer ones because, well, they’re old. Many are still equipped with 1950s Narco radios that are historically interesting but may need replacement.


Dale Pehrson of Ramsey, Minnesota, first flew in 1964 and brought his technical expertise to his 1959 Cessna 175, helping with annual inspections to reduce costs. He estimates the Skylark, which he characterizes as tougher than a 172 and with a Continental GO-300 engine, costs $80 an hour to fly if the owner flies 100 hours per year. He plans on a fuel burn of 10 gallons per hour and 108 knots, although he usually gets faster speeds.

Take a good look at the motor mounts, Pehrson suggested. They were once a problem, although most of the motor mount issues have been corrected by now (it’s been more than 55 years, after all). Cessna used hard-rubber washers that were too small. On a really hard landing, it was possible for the engine to fall to the ground, dangling some wires and hoses. New engine brackets are hard to find, he advised.

Pehrson’s longest flight was Minneapolis to Detroit, landing in Aurora, Illinois, for gas. He carries 52 gallons, only 43 of that usable because the fuel ports are in the center of the tank. He is now selling the airplane and joining a flying club. He says he hates to see this one go.

Email [email protected]

Whom to contact
Cessna Pilots Association, 3409 Corsair Circle, Santa Maria, California, 93455; telephone 805-934-0493;; email through the contact page of the website.

Alton Marsh

Alton K. Marsh

Freelance journalist
Alton K. Marsh is a former senior editor of AOPA Pilot and is now a freelance journalist specializing in aviation topics.

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