In this week’s video, this aircraft needs no introduction. You’ve seen it before. You’ve probably flown it. You’re probably thinking about buying it. It is the ultra safe, record setting Cessna 172 Skyhawk!
So let’s take a quick look at the Cessna 172, how much it costs to buy, how much it cost to own, some different variations on the market and an incredible record-setting attempt. I’ll also throw in some interesting projects where guys from the Internet have basically turned their spare bedroom into a home Cessna 172 cockpit.
Taking its longevity and popularity into account, the Cessna 172 is probably the most successful aircraft in history. The first production model was made in 1956 and as of today, they are still producing them. More than 44000 have actually been produced in that time. That is an incredible number. The 172 is basically a tricycle landing gear configuration of the old Cessna 170. We all know that a tricycle landing gear configuration is easier to land. This was tested out on the World War Two bombers the B24, B25 and B26. In this configuration of having one nose wheel and the two main wheels behind it. It means that the centre of gravity is actually in front of the main wheels. That’s important because if you’re crooked on landing, the aircraft’s weight will help to straighten you out.
So, by contrast, on the tail dragger aircraft, with the weight of the aircraft behind the main wheels on a crooked landing, the mistake is actually made worse by the influence of the aircraft’s weight. This is why today most of the aircraft you see are in the tricycle configuration, simply just easier and safer.
So let’s take a look at costs now. Costs are going to vary widely on the purchase price because there are over 20 different variations of this aircraft going back to 1955, right up to the present day with the current brand new Cessna 172 as Skyhawk currently costing around about $300k – $350k U.S. dollars. But if you want to look on the used aircraft market, judging by the Find Aircraft For Sale website and database, we’ve seen Cessna 172 going from anywhere between 30,000 US dollars right up to the hundreds of thousands of US dollars. If you are looking at the cheaper end and you’re thinking, you can pick one up for about forty thousand dollars. But what is that going to cost me per year to run and maintain? That is actually a difficult question to answer because there are a lot of factors that are going to vary. But I want to give you some very rough estimates.
Things to consider are any loan that you have in order to purchase the aircraft hangar reach or tie down space. The annual service fees and also just general maintenance of the aircraft, including oil and anything else. From doing a little bit of research on a couple of owners of a similar kind of aircraft, it looks like both of them are getting an annual fixed cost fee of about 3000-3,500 dollars per year. And the variable cost burning 8.5 gallons an hour. You are looking at about $40 an hour costs when you consider fuel and oil. So it can cost anywhere between $7000 per annum, right up to about $20,000 per annum, depending on how much flying you do, where you store the aircraft and all of those different variables. But that’s the ballpark figure that you’re looking at. If you want some more information on this, just check out the links in the video description. For my fellow European viewers. okay, that was in dollars. Things might be a bit more expensive because as it is an EASA rated aircraft, not Annex 2. So obviously, all the parts and anything that you need fitted to the aircraft are going to be subjected to EASA costs and rated inspectors.
Right, there are 20 different variations. OK. Let’s not go through them all, but let’s have a look at some of the notable ones that changed things up a bit. Fun fact for you. This Skyhawk name, which we all associate the Cessna 172 with wasn’t originally its name. The Skyhawk name used to be reserved for the premium package until the Cessna 172 B Skyhawk came along in 1960. The 172D brought Omni Vision in 1963. What is Omni Vision I hear you saying, well, Omni is just a fancy word for, saying in all directions. Omni Vision means you can see in many directions basically the back window in. And the up-to-date Cessna 172 Skyhawk incorporates the Garmin G1000, so you’ve got your glass cockpit in that version.
Let’s take a look at some performance stats for the Cessna 172 Skyhawk. So you’re looking at a cruise speed of around 124 knots. You are looking at a maximum range of about 638 nautical miles and a climb rate of 730 feet per minute. It has an operating altitude ceiling of 14000 feet with capacity for 4 people.
Let’s take a look at what was probably one of the most interesting things that’s ever been done with a Cessna 172. Back in 1958/1959, a record was set for endurance, the longest time flying in the air ever with an incredible 64 days, 22 hours and 19 minutes of flying without landing!
Robert Timm and John Coke must have been absolutely insane, they were literally sleeping on a four by four foot foam mattress at the back of the aircraft and were getting up to only two to three hours sleep per rotation. The aircraft was, of course, modified with an extra ninety five gallon belly fuel tank added to the bottom of the aircraft. And check out the refueling system they had. They came down low-level to catch up with a fuel in truck which was traveling seventy five miles an hour on the road. They threw a line down to pull up a hose to fuel the aircraft with. They would do this up to twice a day on limited small amount of sleep! The pilot would be flying and the co-pilot would be sorting all this out, fixing any problems, having his lunch etc. I’m losses for words. It just sounds so incredibly dangerous. And they did this up to 28 times over the 64 days of flying, incredible, It was a publicity stunt for the Hacienda Hotel.
OK, speaking of blokes doing crazy things, let’s talk about some amazing home cockpits. That’s right. One of the brilliant things about this aircraft and its popularity means that there’s loads of equipment on the market for the home simulator enthusiast that mimics the Cessna 172 Skyhawk.
Simulators are a great way to keep your eye in and keep your practice level up. I just think that it’s pretty incredible that people can build such great and detailed home simulators in the house to practice their flying on.
If you have flown or own a Cessna 172, want to discuss ownership or maintenance Facebook Group, feel free.
If you are looking to buy an aircraft or sell an aircraft on the European or U.S. market, go to Find Aircraft For Sale. The site is totally free to use for everybody. If you’re an aircraft broker, get in touch with me. I’ll do all the work. I’ll post them up and I’ll refer anybody who’s interested to you. If you are going for your pilot’s license and you’re trying to pass those. Final exams, check out PPL, Easy Pass on Android, and IOS, the only app of its kind that allows you to study and then take simulated tests and then find out which questions zero constantly struggling on. So you can focus your learning to improve as quick as possible.
PPL Easy Pass Apple here
PPL Easy Pass Android here
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