Cessna 172 pilot explains why the Skyhawk is so popular and why is the ultimate training aircraft

Cessna 172 pilot explains why the Skyhawk is so popular and why is the ultimate training aircraft

By Dario Leone
Mar 10 2023
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Since the Cessna 172 Skyhawk production began in 1956, over 43,000 units have been built, primarily for flight schools where it is commonly used for Private, Commercial and Instrument Rating flights.

Nothing is more liberating than learning to fly.

The Cessna 172 Skyhawk piston is the most popular single-engine aircraft ever built and has achieved a reputation for being the ultimate training aircraft.

With simplistic flight characteristics, great visibility and a sophisticated glass cockpit outfitted with GARMIN G1000 avionics, the Cessna Skyhawk piston boasts a slow landing speed and a lenient stall. These characteristics make it a flight training favorite ideally suited for student pilots and it’s perfectly designed to help you soar.

‘The Cessna 172 has a reputation for being the most used general aviation aircraft in the world,’ says Antonio Moran, Cessna 172 pilot, on Quora.

‘And since its production began in 1956, over 43,000 units have been built, primarily for flight schools where it is commonly used for Private, Commercial and Instrument Rating flights. In fact, I would say that 90% of the pilots with a license have flown at least once a Cessna 172. Why is so popular?

• ‘It is tough, especially the landing gear, which I have been able to verify first-hand that it is impossible to break. I have seen myself slam the aircraft into the runway during a hard landing and the aircraft just takes this punishment extremely well

• ‘Stable in flight, it’s high wing configuration and dihedral make it aerodynamically stable. If you cannot control the aircraft, just remove the pressure of the controls and it will recover by itself

• ‘It is a very simple design: high-wing, fixed tricycle gear and fixed pitch propeller attached to a very reliable engine Lycoming IO-360-L2A of 180 hp. Being so simple not only makes the maintenance easy but as cheap as it can get’

Moran continues;

‘All of these characteristics translate into an excellent flight safety record over the years. Of course, in order to be safe, the aircraft has to go through proper maintenance. If not, it does not matter that the aircraft you will be flying is a Cessna 172, poorly performed maintenance is always a synonym for an unsafe aircraft regardless of model.’

He concludes;

‘But if the fact that the flight schools use this model more than any other does not convince you, I have another argument for you. What if a tell you that the record of the flight endurance record is held by a Cessna 172.

• ‘A brand-new Cessna 172 flown by pilots John Cook and Robert Tim took off on Dec. 4, 1958. These two men remained airborne for 64 days 22 hours 19 minutes and 5 seconds landing on Feb. 4, 1959. If the fact that an aircraft that was properly maintained and refuelled was capable of staying more than two months in the air does not convince you about the reliability and efficiency of the Cessna aircraft, nothing will.’

Cessna 172 pilot explains why the Skyhawk is so popular and why is the ultimate training aircraft
The record-setting 1958-built Cessna 172

Photo credit: Cory W. Watts from Madison, Wisconsin, United States of America via Wikipedia and Howard W. Cannon Aviation Museum


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Dario Leone

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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