Plane Spotlight: Cessna 172

Plane Spotlight: Cessna 172

Are you a travel enthusiast? Alternatively, do you enjoy traveling by plane? If yes, perhaps you are familiar with Cessna 172. Apart from being the best-selling plane in the world, it has a reputation as the safest aircraft. Over the years, Cessna 172 has managed to conquer over its aviation aircraft due to its exceptional flight characteristics. Among some of its key features include the fact that it is very affordable. Both costs of flying and purchasing the plane are amazingly low. In fact, it’s no surprise Cessna 172 was declared as one of the best-selling aircraft in the world.

In addition to its affordability, Cessna 172 is famous for its versatile characteristics. It is capable of fulfilling a variety of key roles without breaking a sweat. What’s more, it is also known as the perfect training and instructional plane mainly due to its reliable flight characteristics. To sum it all, Cessna 172 is just a plain fun-to-fly aircraft. So, how did this amazing piece of art come to be? What are its specifications and how did it manage to win the hearts of many aircraft lovers across the world? Take a peek at this expert review and find out the answers to the above questions and many more of its updates.

The origin of Cessna 172

You might probably think that a group of engineers sat and designed a plane, had it approved, began its production, launched it, and named it Cessna 172, right? Well, the plane actually started life as a variant of the Cessna 170 in 1955. Powered by a 145 horsepower continental 0-300-A engine, Cessna 170 was regarded as one of the most powerful aircraft. Additionally, it had larger elevators as well as a more angular tail-fin. It ruled over the aviation industry as an outstanding creation. However, its engineers were not quite contented with its performance and, therefore, decided to modify it again.

Its modification paved the way to yet another magnificent creation that exhibited more advanced features. Topping the list of its major changes is the conventional landing gear. Cessna 172 was updated with a more improved tricycle landing gear configuration, which greatly contributed to its crowning as one of the safest aircraft. Its first model was delivered in 1956 and sold 1400 aircraft in the same year and over 4 million over the next five years. In fact, the Cessna 172 was popular almost immediately. Its popularity was, however, not only based on its landing technique but also on its specifications. Cessna 172 showcased an exemplary performance backed in an improved plane design.

Cessna 172 Specifications

Two years after the release of the Cessna 172. It set a world record- twice, as the first plane to stay in the air the longest. It registered a whopping 50 days. Nonetheless, refueling was done in the air. So, how long is a normal plane set to stay in the air before landing to refuel? Typically, normal refueling is scheduled after 9 hours of flight. The first record was set in 1923, by a US Army plane for 1 day and 13 hours. However, apart from its amazing flight endurance characteristics, Cessna 172 features several awesome specifications as shown in the table below:

Category Capacity
Engine 0-300/ 145horsepower
Maximum speed 131 mph
Cruise speed 125 mph
Take off performance Ground roll: 725 feet, Total distance: 1650 feet
Rate of climb 660 Fpm
Landing performance Ground roll: 680 feet, Total distance: 115 feet
Gross weight 2200 pounds
Fuel capacity 39 gallons
Propeller 76 Inch (diameter)
Oil capacity 8 quarts
Stall speed Flaps up. Power off: 58 mph, Flaps down 52 mph
Electrical system 14-volt with a backup generator
Wingspan 36 feet

Cessna 172 variants and Skyhawk

Over the years, Cessna engineers have released at least 18 variants – updated Cessna 172 models. These models feature minor adjustments and changes of its original version. The first update, model 172 A, was made in 1960. It featured an improved tail fin, float fittings, and an updated rudder. However, throughout these variants, 172B model showcased the majority of updates. The model was dubbed as the Cessna 172 Skyhawk. It featured a full exterior paint instead of the normal standard partial paint stripes. Among its later variants include Cessna 172D- dubbed Omni-Vision, 172F, 172i, 172s, 172Q, and 172R.

In 1964, the US Air Force introduced one of their variants, Cessna 172F, in the military. The aircraft was set to be used as a trainer for new newly recruited pilots. However, it was not fully customized for military use. To serve them better, Cessna introduced the T-42B several years later to be specifically used for military purposes. These models featured outstanding performances on both speed and safety. The earlier 145hp engine was replaced with a more powerful 0-300 210hp engine and a constant speed propeller. During that period, Cessna managed to manufacture a total of 250 T-42B to be used in the US Air Force.


Indeed, Cessna 172 has not only stood the test of time but has also acted as a source of enjoyment and satisfaction to thousands of aircraft lovers across the world. The mere fun of flying the aircraft makes it the ideal aircraft for folks who enjoy the simple and pure freedom of flight. Its engineers probably never imagined it would be bouncing in the skies many years later but it certainly did and is up-to-date a favorite aircraft to many pilots across the world. What’s more, owning the Cessna 172 is quite affordable. Since it is not possible to get a new one, you only need to be careful when purchasing a used one and you are good to go.

Among the key things to put in consideration before making a purchase is to check on its frequency of flight. Enquire whether the plane is regularly flown, and of course, the routine of its maintenance. It might not be as powerful as some planes but it definitely deserves the crowning glory as the safest and fun-to-fly aircraft. It is my hope that the company continues to manufacture more models of the Cessna 172 that will be enjoyed for the years to come.