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Cessna 172 (Skyhawk)


Light Utility / Multirole Aircraft (1956)


Aviation / Aerospace

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Image from official Cessna / Textron Aviation marketing materials.
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Image from official Cessna / Textron Aviation marketing materials.
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Image form the National Museum of the United States Air Force.
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Image form the National Museum of the United States Air Force.

Jump-to: Specifications

The Cessna 172 has proven a critical commercial success for the Cessna Aircraft Company to the tune of 44,000 units built since 1956.



Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 05/09/2019 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com; the following text is exclusive to this site.
The Cessna Model 172 is the most successful light aircraft in history with 44,000 production units made since series introduction occurred in 1956 (and production continuing today - 2018). The Model 172 was developed from the earlier Model 170 which appeared in 1948 as a single-engine, shoulder-winged general aviation aircraft with fixed, "tail-dragging" undercarriage through 5,174 examples. The follow-on Model 172 found huge success in the general aviation market as well as the military sphere and, despite its Cold War-era introduction, continues to "fly high" even today (2018).

The Cessna 172 was drawn up as an improved version of the original Model 170. The series was first-flown in January of 1955 as the "Model 170C" and carried a Continental O-300-A engine driving a two-bladed propeller unit at the nose. The tailfin and elevators were both redesigned from the original and were given an increase to surface area for added stability and control. Further changes (following certification) of the C-model ultimately introduced the iconic fixed, wheeled tricycle undercarriage common to Model 172 aircraft today. Cabin seating allowed for four-to-five persons to be carried including the pilot. Forward positions numbered two (side-by-side) with the remaining three in the back (side-by-side-by-side). In this revised form, the aircraft was first-flown on June 12th, 1955 and was introduced for service as the "Model 172". The type proved immediately popular with thousands being manufactured in the first few years of availability alone.

Throughout the course of its operational service life, the Cessna 172 underwent an evolution that saw both minor and major revisions to the line - increasing gross weights, aerodynamic efficiency, performance, ergonomics and the like. Modifications allowed for floatplane /amphibious models to emerge and the type was also taken into military service by the USAF as a flight trainer through the T-41 "Mescalero" variant (detailed elsewhere on this site). The Model 172A of 1960 introduced the modern swept-back tail fin while the "Skyhawk" deluxe package was introduced in the Model 172B of late-1960. The Model 172I of 1968 was the first to switch over to the Lycoming O-320-E2D engine of 150 horsepower (thereby increasing some performance figures).

Various other military powers soon adopted the type in useful numbers for both land- and sea-based service to undertake a plethora of roles. The Model 172 has since evolved to much more modern forms today (2018) all the while retaining its versatility, reliability, and popularity - making it a sound choice for first-time student flyers and veteran general aviation buffs alike.

The Cessna 172 as a Record-Setter
In 1958, the Cessna 172 was used to set an endurance record in which the aircraft covered 64 days, 22 hours, 19 minutes and 5 seconds in a flight originating from, and ending at, McCarran Airfield in Las Vegas, Nevada. With some modifications in place as well as a very detailed flight plan, the aircraft with its crew of two were able to make the round-the-world journey in the light airplane. The flight went down in the history books and the record stands to this day.

Performance

The base Model 172R form offers a cruising speed of 140 miles per hour with a range of 800 miles. Its service ceiling is 13,500 feet and rate-of-climb reaches 720 feet-per-minute. Empty weight is 1,700lb against an MTOW of 2,450lb. The Garmin 1000 avionics fit is an optional upgrade to the cockpit.

Dimensions include an overall length of 27 feet, a wingspan measuring 36 feet, and a height of 8.10 feet.

Specifications



Service Year
1956

Origin
United States national flag graphic
United States

Status
ACTIVE
In Active Service.
Crew
1

Production
44,000
UNITS


Cessna Aircraft Company / Textron Aviation - USA
National flag of Australia National flag of Austria National flag of Bolivia National flag of Brazil National flag of Canada National flag of Chile National flag of China National flag of Ecuador National flag of France National flag of Finland National flag of Iraq National flag of Ireland National flag of Italy National flag of modern Japan National flag of Norway National flag of Pakistan National flag of the Philippines National flag of Portugal National flag of Russia National flag of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia National flag of Singapore National flag of South Africa National flag of South Korea National flag of Spain National flag of Sweden National flag of the United Kingdom National flag of the United States Austria; Australia; Bolivia; Brazil; Canada; Chile; China; Ecuador; Finland; France; Guatemala; Honduras; Iraq; Ireland; Italy; Japan; Liberia; Lithuania; Madagascar; Norway; Pakistan; Philippines; Portugal; Russia; Saudi Arabia; Singapore; South Africa; South Korea; Spain; Sweden; United Kingdom; United States
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
Special-Mission: MEDical EVACuation (MEDEVAC)
Extraction of wounded combat or civilian elements by way of specialized onboard equipment and available internal volume or external carrying capability.
Special-Mission: Search & Rescue (SAR)
Ability to locate and extract personnel from areas of potential harm or peril (i.e. downed airmen in the sea).
Maritime / Navy
Land-based or shipborne capability for operating over-water in various maritime-related roles while supported by allied naval surface elements.
Transport
General transport functionality to move supplies/cargo or personnel (including wounded and VIP) over range.
Commercial Aviation
Used in roles serving the commercial aviation market, ferrying both passengers and goods over range.
VIP Service
Used in the Very-Important-Person (VIP) passenger transport role, typically with above-average amenities and luxuries as standard.
Intelligence-Surveillance-Reconnaissance (ISR), Scout
Surveil ground targets / target areas to assess environmental threat levels, enemy strength, or enemy movement.
Training (General)
Developed ability to be used as a dedicated trainer for student pilots (typically under the supervision of an instructor).


Length
27.2 ft
(8.28 m)
Width/Span
36.1 ft
(11.00 m)
Height
8.9 ft
(2.72 m)
Empty Wgt
1,640 lb
(744 kg)
MTOW
2,557 lb
(1,160 kg)
Wgt Diff
+917 lb
(+416 kg)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the Cessna 172 production variant)
Installed: (Variable): 1 x Continental O-300 six-cylinder, air-cooled engine developing 145 horsepower; 1 x Textron Lycoming IO-360-L2A engine of 180 horsepower.
Max Speed
186 mph
(300 kph | 162 kts)
Ceiling
14,009 ft
(4,270 m | 3 mi)
Range
736 mi
(1,185 km | 2,195 nm)
Rate-of-Climb
730 ft/min
(223 m/min)


♦ MACH Regime (Sonic)
Sub
Trans
Super
Hyper
HiHyper
ReEntry
RANGES (MPH) Subsonic: <614mph | Transonic: 614-921 | Supersonic: 921-3836 | Hypersonic: 3836-7673 | Hi-Hypersonic: 7673-19180 | Reentry: >19030


(Showcased performance specifications pertain to the Cessna 172 production variant. Compare this aircraft entry against any other in our database. View aircraft by powerplant type)
None.


172 - Base Series Designation; original production form of 1955; gross weight of 2,200lb; powered by Continental O-300 145 horsepower engine; 4,195 examples.
172A - Model of 1960; swept-back tail fin; 1,015 examples.
172B - Model of 1960 (late); revised undercarriage and engine mounting with redesigned cowling; Skyhawk package made available; increased gross weight to 2,205lb.
172C - Model of 1962; internal changes; 889 examples.
172D - Model of 1963; modified lower rear fuselage; wrap-around rear window; revised front windshield; 1,146 examples.
172E - Model of 1964; switch to electrical fuses; revised instrument panel; 1,401 examples.
172F - Model of 1965; electrically-driven flaps; 1,436 examples.
172G - Model of 1966; revised spinner; 1,597 examples.
172H - Model of 1967; short-stroke nose gear oleo; revised cowling; electric stall warning indicator (instead of horn version).
172I - Model of 1968; initial Lycoming-powered model; Lycoming O-320-E2D engine of 150 horsepower; slightly increased performance.
172J - Proposed cantilever-wing / stabilitor; not enacted due to dealer pressure.
172K - Model of 1969; redesigned tail fin and rear window panes; optional long-range fuel tanks; 1,170 examples.
172L - Model of 1971; modified main landing gear legs; 1,811 examples.
172M - Model of 1973; dropped leading wing edge introduced; 7,306 examples.
172N (Skyhawk 100) - Model of 1977; O-320-H2AD engine fitted; rudder trim option.
172O - Designation not used.
172P (Skyhawk P) - Model of 1981; Lycoming O-320-D2J with improved performance and reliability; 196 examples.
172Q "Cutlass" - Model of 1983; IO-360-A4N engine of 180 horsepower; gross weight of 2,550lb.
172R - Model of 1996; IO-360-L2A engine of 160 horsepower; fuel-injection; gross weight of 2,450lb.
172RG "Cutlass" - Retractable Gear variant; model of 1980.
172S - Model of 1998; IO-360-L2A engine of 180 horsepower; Garmin G1000 avionics optional.
Reims FR172J - Rolls-Royce FI Continental IO-360-H(B) engine of 210 horsepower.
R172K "Hawk XP" - Model of 1977; Continental FI IO-360K engine of 195 horsepower.
172TD - Model of 2007; porposed diesel-fueled variant; not furthered.
172 Electric - Model of 2010; proposed electric-powered variant; successfully test-flown.
T-41 "Mescalero" - USAF flight training platform; introduced in 1964 and produced into 1996.


Cockpit image of the Cessna 172 (Skyhawk)
(Cockpit image represents the T-41 Mescalero production model)


General Assessment
Firepower  
Performance  
Survivability  
Versatility  
Impact  


Values are derrived from a variety of categories related to the design, overall function, and historical influence of this aircraft in aviation history.
Overall Rating
The overall rating takes into account over 60 individual factors related to this aircraft entry. The rating is out of a possible 100 points.
74
Relative Maximum Speed
Hi: 200mph
Lo: 100mph
This entry's maximum listed speed (186mph).

Graph average of 150 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
NYC
 
  LDN
LDN
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MSK
MSK
 
  TKY
TKY
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Cessna 172 operational range when compared to distances between major cities (in KM).
Max Altitude Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Aviation Era Span
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Showcasing era cross-over of this aircraft design.
Unit Production (44,000)
This entry's total production compared against the most-produced military and civilian aircraft types in history.


7,817
(vs. Ilyushin Il-2)

0
(vs. Cessna 172)


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