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C172 Cessna Skyhawk PH-TGV p3

The Cessna 172 Skyhawk is a four-seater single-engine civilian aircraft manufactured by the Cessna Aviation Company. With over 43,000 built and production still ongoing, it is the most-produced aircraft in history.


The 172 began as a version of the Cessna 170 with tricycle landing gear and an improved engine. It first flew on June 12th, 1955 as the Cessna 170C. The model number was later changed to 172 to lower certification costs and time. When it was introduced in 1956, the Skyhawk was an instant success with over 1,400 being built that year. Since then, the 172 has gone through many modifications and variants, even seeing military training service as the T-41 Mescalero. The current production model of the Skyhawk is the 172S, with the 172TD planned to enter service in the near future.

Design and development[]

The Cessna 172 started life as a tricycle landing gear variant of the taildragger Cessna 170, with a basic level of standard equipment. In January 1955, Cessna flew an improved variant of the Cessna 170, a Continental O-300-A-powered Cessna 170C with larger elevators and a more angular tailfin.[10] Although the variant was tested and certified, Cessna decided to modify it with a tricycle landing gear, and the modified Cessna 170C flew again on 12 June 1955.[10] To reduce the time and cost of certification, the type was added to the Cessna 170 type certificate as the Model 172.[10] Later, the 172 was given its own type certificate, 3A12.[11][12] The 172 became an overnight sales success, and over 1,400 were built in 1956, its first full year of production.[13]


A 1960 Cessna 172A

Early 172s were similar in appearance to the 170s, with the same straight aft fuselage and tall landing gear legs, although the 172 had a straight tailfin while the 170 had a rounded fin and rudder. In 1960, the 172A incorporated revised landing gear and the swept-back tailfin, which is still in use today.

The final aesthetic development, found in the 1963 172D and all later 172 models, was a lowered rear deck allowing an aft window. Cessna advertised this added rear visibility as "Omni-Vision."

Production halted in the mid-1980s, but resumed in 1996 with the 160 hp (120 kW) Cessna 172R Skyhawk. Cessna supplemented this in 1998 with the 180 hp (135 kW) Cessna 172S Skyhawk SP.


  • Powerplant: one Lycoming IO-360-L2A engine
  • Maximum speed: 143 mph
  • Range: 801 miles
  • Service ceiling: 13,500 feet
  • Crew: one / two
  • Capacity: three / two passengers
  • Empty weight: 1,691 lbs
  • Length: 27 feet 2 inches
  • Wingspan: 36 feet 1 inches
  • Height: 8 feet 11 inches