The Cessna 172 Skyhawk is a four-seat, single-engine, high-wing fixed-wing aircraft.
The Cessna 172 started life as a tricycle landing gear upgrade from the taildragger Cessna 170, with a basic level of standard equipment. The first flight of the prototype was in November 1955. The 172 became an overnight sales success and over 1400 were built in 1956, its first full year of production.
Early 172s were similar in appearance to the 170, with the same straight aft fuselage and tall gear legs, although the 172 had a straight vertical tail while the 170 had a rounded fin and rudder. Later 172 versions incorporated revised landing gear and the sweptback tail which is still in use today.The final aesthetic development in the mid-1960s, was a lowered rear deck that allowed an aft window. Cessna advertised this added rear visibility as "Omni-Vision" . This airframe configuration has remained almost unchanged since then, except for updates in avionics and engines, including the Garmin G1000 glass cockpit in 2005. Production had been halted in the mid-1980s, but was resumed in 1996 with the 160 hp (120 kW) Cessna 172R Skyhawk and was supplemented in 1998 by the 180 hp (135 kW) Cessna 172S Skyhawk SP.
1963 also saw the introduction of the 172D Powermatic. This was equipped with a Continental GO-300E producing and a cruise speed faster than the standard 172D. In reality this was not a new model but was a Cessna 175 Skylark that had been renamed for its last year of production. The Skylark had gained a reputation for poor engine reliability and the renaming of it as a 172 was a marketing attempt to regain sales through rebranding. The move was not a success and neither the 1963 Powermatic nor the Skylark were produced again after the 1963 model year.172E
The 172E was the 1964 model. The electrical fuses were replaced with circuit breakers. Gross weight was increased to where it would stay until the 172P. 1401 172Es were built that year as production continued to increase.172F The 1965 model 172F introduced electrically-operated flaps to replace the previous lever-operated system. It was built in France by Reims Cessna as the F172 until 1971. These models formed the basis for the US Air Force's T-41A Mescalero primary trainer.
A total of 1436 172Fs were completed.172G
The 1966 model year 172G introduced a more pointed spinner and sold for USD$12,450 in its basic 172 version and USD$13,300 in the upgraded Skyhawk version. 1597 were built.172H The 1967 model 172H was the last Continental O-300 powered model. It also introduced a shorter-stroke nose gear oleo to reduce drag and improve the appearance of the aircraft in flight. A new cowling was used, introducing shock-mounts that transmitted lower noise-levels to the cockpit and reduced cowl cracking. The electric stall warning horn was replaced by a pneumatic one.
The 1967 model 172H sold for USD$10,950 while the Skyhawk version was USD$12,750. 839 were built that year, representing the first year that production was less than the year before.172I The 1968 model marked the beginning of the Lycoming powered 172s. The familiar 172 needed to be re-engined because Cessna had cancelled its contract with Continental for their venerable 0-300 6-cyl engine of .
The "I" model was introduced with a Lycoming O-320-E2D engine of , an increase of over the Continental powerplant. The increased power resulted in an increase in optimal cruise from TAS to TAS. There was no change in the sea level rate of climb at per minute.
The 172I also introduced the first standard "T" instrument arrangement. The 172I saw an increase in production to record levels with 1206 built.172J The Cessna Company planned to drop the previous 172 configuration for the 1968 model year and replace it with a cantilever-wing/stabilator configuration that would be the 172J. However, as time for model introduction neared, those dealers who were aware of the change began applying pressure on the factory to continue the previous configuration. They felt the new model would be less usable as a trainer. Consequently, and at the last minute, the decision was made to continue the 172 in its original configuration. The planned 172J configuration would be introduced as a new model, the 177. The deluxe option would become the 177 Cardinal. The "J" designation was never publicly used.172K The next model year was the 1969 "K" model. The 1969 172K had a redesigned vertical fin cap and reshaped rear windows. Optional long range wing fuel tanks were offered. The rear windows were slightly enlarged by . The 1969 model sold for USD$12,500 for the 172 and USD$13,995 for the Skyhawk, with 1170 made.
The 1970 model was still called the 172K but sported fiberglass, downward-shaped, conical wing tips. Fully articulated seats were offered as well. Production in 1970 was 759 units.172L The 172L, sold during 1971 and 1972, replaced the main landing gear, which were originally flat spring steel with tapered, tubular steel gear legs. The new gear had a width that was increased by . The new tubular gear was lighter, but required aerodynamic fairings to maintain the same speed and climb performance as experienced with the flat steel design. The "L" also had a plastic fairing between the dorsal fin and vertical fin to introduce a greater family resemblance to the 182's vertical fin.
The 172M of 1973-76 gained a drooped wing leading edge for improved low speed handling. This was marketed as the "camber-lift" wing.
The 1974 172M was also the first to introduce the optional 'II' package which offered higher standard equipment, including a second nav/comm radio, an ADF and transponder. The baggage compartment was increased in size and nose-mounted dual landing lights were available as an option.
In 1976, Cessna stopped marketing the aircraft as the 172 and began exclusively using the "Skyhawk" designation. This model year also saw a redesigned instrument panel to hold more avionics.172N The Skyhawk N, or Skyhawk/100 as Cessna termed it, was introduced for the 1977 model year. The "100" designation indicated that it was powered by a Lycoming O-320-H2AD, engine designed to run on 100 octane fuel, whereas all previous engines used 80/87 fuel. Unfortunately, this engine proved troublesome and it was replaced by the similarly rated O-320-D2J to create the 1981 172P.
The 1978 model brought a 28-volt electrical system to replace the previous 14-volt system. Air conditioning was an option.
The 1979 model "N" increased the flap extension speed for the first 10 degrees to . Optional fuel cells increased the optional fuel to .
The "N" remained in production until 1980 when the 172P or Skyhawk P was introduced.172O There was no "O" ("Oscar") model 172.172P The 172P, or Skyhawk P, was introduced in 1981 to solve the reliability problems of the \"N\" engine. The Lycoming O-320-D2J was a great improvement.
The \"P\" model also saw the maximum flap deflection decreased from 40 degrees to 30 to allow a gross weight increase from to . A wet wing was optional, with a capacity of 62 US gallons of fuel.
In 1982, the \"P\" saw the landing lights moved from the nose to the wing to increase bulb life. The 1983 model added some minor sound-proofing improvements and thicker windows.
A second door latch pin was introduced in 1984.
Production of the \"P\" ended in 1985 and no more 172s were built for eleven years as legal liability rulings in the USA had pushed Cessna's insurance costs too high, resulting in dramatically increasing prices for new aircraft.
There were only 195 172s built in 1984, a rate of fewer than 4 per week.172Q Cutlass The 172Q was introduced in 1983 and given the name Cutlass to create an affiliation with the 172RG, although it was actually a 172P with a Lycoming O-360-A4N engine of . The aircraft had a gross weight of and an optimal cruise speed of compared to the \"P\"s cruise speed of on or less. It had a useful load that was about more that the Skyhawk P and a rate of climb that was actually per minute lower, due to the higher gross weight. Production ended after only three years when all 172 production stopped.172R The Skyhawk R was introduced in 1996 and is powered by a derated Lycoming IO-360L2A producing a maximum of at just 2,400 rpm. This is the first Cessna 172 to have a factory fitted fuel-injected engine.
The 172R's maximum takeoff weight is . This model year introduced many improvements, including a new interior with soundproofing, an all new multi-level ventilation system, a standard four point intercom, contoured, energy absorbing, 26g front seats with vertical and reclining adjustments and inertia reel harnesses.172S
The Cessna 172S was introduced in 1998 and is powered by a Lycoming IO-360L2A producing . The maximum engine rpm was increased from 2,400 rpm to 2,700 rpm resulting in a increase over the \"R\" model. As a result, the maximum takeoff weight was increased to . This model is marketed under the name Skyhawk SP, although the Type Certiciation data sheet specifies it is a 172S.
The 172S is built primarily for the private owner-operator and is offered with the Garmin G1000 avionics package as standard equipment and leather seats.
As of 2008, both the R and S models are in production.Cessna 172RG Cutlass
Cessna introduced a retractable-gear version of the 172 in 1980 and named it the Cutlass 172RG.
The Cutlass featured a variable pitch, constant speed propeller and more powerful Lycoming O-360-F1A6 engine of . The 172RG sold for about USD$19,000 more than the standard 172 of the same year and produced an optimal cruise speed of 140 knots (260 km/h), compared to for the contemporary version.
The 172RG did not find wide acceptance in the personal aircraft market, but was adopted by many flight schools as a complex aircraft trainer. Between 1980 and 1984 1177 RGs were built, with a small number following before production ceased in 1985.
While numbered and marketed as a 172, the 172RG is actually a variant of the Cessna 175 type.Reims FR172J and Cessna R172K Hawk XP
The Reims Rocket, designated FR172J and produced by Reims Aviation from the late 60s to the mid 70s, was powered by a Rolls-Royce built, fuel-injected, Continental IO-360D (210 hp) with a constant speed prop. This was essentially the same engine used in the twin-engined Cessna 336/337 series.
The Reims Rocket led to Cessna producing the R172K Hawk XP, a model available from 1977 to 1981 from both Wichita and Reims. This configuration featured a fuel injected, Continental IO-360K (later IO-360KB) derated to with a two bladed, constant speed propeller. The Hawk XP was capable of a cruise speed.
Owners claimed that the increased performance of the "XP" didn't compensate for its increased purchase price and the higher operating costs associated with the larger engine. The aircraft was well-accepted for use on floats, however, as the standard 172 is not a strong floatplane, even with only two people on board, while the XP's extra power improves water take-off performance dramatically.
While numbered and marketed as 172s, the R172J and R172K models are actually variants of the Cessna 175 type certificate.
Cessna had taken special measures to ensure that the Skyhawk TD would be only fueled with Jet-A and not misfueled with avgas. These included placards, key-shaped tank fillers that only accept jet fuel nozzles and a spring-loaded door activated with a jet-fuel nozzle. The aircraft was planned to be certified for Jet-A only and not automotive diesel.
The TD was to be equipped with only one engine control, referred to as a "power control", although it resembled the push-pull style throttle used in previous 172 models. The prototype has no carburetor heat or mixture control. The prototype is equipped with a constant speed MT propeller, but this is controlled automatically and there is no propeller rpm control.
The TD was designed to have the same gross weight as the "S" Skyhawk, , but at was intended to have less than the "S" model. Because it is turbonormalized the prototype's engine produces full power at all altitudes and actually puts out more power than the "R" and "S" models above , where the normally aspirated powerplant's output drops off.
To account for the fact that Jet-A has a higher density than avgas Cessna planned to reduce the tank capacity on the TD to 44.6 US gallons, giving the aircraft a similar range to other models, due to the better efficiency of the diesel engine. The Thielert 2.0 is reported to burn 5.8 gal/hr at and 75% power. This compares to 8 gal/hr at the same power setting and altitude for the "R" model and 10 gal/hr for the "S" model Skyhawks.
Even with the reduced fuel tank capacity the full fuel payload of the TD will be compared to for the Cessna 172S and for the 172R.
Direct operating costs for the TD were forecast to be USD$96.39 per hour versus USD$101.81 for the higher powered "S" model. While the TD would burn less fuel per hour its engine replacement costs at 2400 hours, instead of overhaul, would almost make up for the difference, although these numbers will change as the price of fuel increases in future years.
In early 2008 certification had been planned for the summer of 2008 and Cessna had forecast delivering about 125 TDs before the end of 2008.
The TD was intended to sell for about USD$15,000 more than the top of the line "SP" Skyhawk and $35,000 more than the "R". Base price was initially advertised as USD$269,500 versus USD$254,500 for the "SP" or $234,500 for the "R".
Early orders for the TD were strong with most of the demand from flight schools and non-US operators.
In April 2008 the 172TD's engine manufacturer, Thielert filed for insolvency under German law, throwing the future of the aircraft into doubt.
On May 1, 2008 Cessna announced that they have cancelled all 2008 deliveries of the 172TD due to the insolvency of Thielert. The company stated: "At this point we have decided that we will not deliver 172TD aircraft during 2008, and we have informed our customers accordingly." Cessna has indicated, however, that they will proceed with the certification of the 172TD.
Cessna has indicated that they still wish to produce a diesel 172 as market demand is strong for this aircraft with over 100 orders.
The Irish Air Corps uses the Reims version for aerial surveillance and monitoring of cash, prisoner & explosive escorts in addition to army co-operation and pilot training roles. The type is popular and successful in service despite some accidents. Air Corps examples are painted dark green and carry the service roundels. Most are not fitted with the distinctive wheel spats.
Cessna 172 Skyhawk: Cessna's practical entry-level four-placer has earned buyer trust and there are literally thousands to pick from across the price spectrum.(USED AIRCRAFT GUIDE)
Oct 01, 2010; If there's an airplane that still makes even the slightest economic sense to own and fly, it's probably the Cessna 172 Skyhawk....