A Fiftieth Anniversary Party for Cessna’s Model 172
Last year marked the 50-year anniversary of the Cessna Skyhawk 172. The tricycle-gear 4-seat Cessna 172 is one of the world’s most popular airplanes of all time. To date, Cessna has delivered more than 35,000 of the single-engine, high-wing airplanes. Many of the aircraft’s owners are small families or flight schools. The 172 is a forgiving aircraft which makes it attractive for novice pilots or those who operate on short strips or unpaved runways.
Another explanation for the 172’s popularity is that Cessna has consistently improved the aircraft’s design, engine, and avionics. Some of these changes include adding a rear window, aerofoil modifications, increased fuel capacity, and more horsepower. From 1956 until 1967, the 172 ran on a 145-horsepower six-cylinder Continental O-300 engine. From 1968 until 1984, Cessna replaced that engine with a 150-horsepower four-cylinder Lycoming O-320 engine.
Cessna then ceased production of the 172 until 1996, when they released the 172R with the current 160-horsepower, fuel injected four-cylinder Textron Lycoming IO-360-L2A engine.
Higher performance variations of the 172R come with more features and more horsepower. The 172RG featured retractable gear and a variable pitch, constant speed propeller with a more powerful engine in the 180-horsepower Lycoming O-360.
Specifications of the current Skyhawk Model 172R:
Engine: Textron Lycoming IO-360-L2A, 160 BHP at 2,400 RPM
Landing Performance: ground roll 550 ft
Propeller: 2-bladed fixed pitch
Cruise Speed (80% power at 8,000 feet):122 kts
Takeoff Performance (total distance over 50 ft obstacle): 1,685 ft
Optional Garmin G1000 NAV III glass cockpit