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Your First airplane: Love your 172

The unsung hero of GA airplanes

Ah, the Cessna 172, aviation’s Toyota Camry.
P&E March
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AKA 'Chicken Hawk'

It’s not flashy, it’s not fast, and chances are your grandfather flew a Skyhawk as well. Regardless, flying one for the first time you felt the freedom and joy that aviation can conjure. But if you’re like many pilots, you couldn’t trade in that Skyhawk for a flashier model fast enough.

There are many reasons to love a 172. Skyhawks are reliable, parts are abundant, they do everything pretty well, and they are relatively inexpensive to operate. Those attributes have helped make the four-seat trainer the most produced single-engine piston aircraft, with more than 40,000 produced since 1956.

Cessna 172M Skyhawk

Retail value: about $36,000 for a 1974 model, according to valuation service Vref.

Powerplant |150-horsepower Lycoming O-320-E2D
Length | 26 ft 11 in
Height | 8 ft 9 in
Wingspan | 35 ft 9 in
Empty weight | 1,285 lb
Useful load | 1,015 lb
Max gross weight | 2,300 lb
Fuel capacity | 42 gal (38 gal usable)/ | 252 lb (228 lb usable)

Takeoff distance, ground roll | 865 ft
Takeoff distance over 50-ft obstacle | 1,525 ft
Rate of climb, sea level | 645 fpm
Cruise speed @75% power, 9,000 ft | 131 mph
Service ceiling | 13,100 ft
Landing distance, ground roll | 520 ft
Landing distance over 50-ft obstacle |1,250 ft

VNE (never exceed) |182 mph
VSO (stall, in landing configuration) | 49 mph

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