Skip to comments.Cessna 172 Turns 50!!!
Posted on 06/25/2006 5:47:21 PM PDT by GoldCountryRedneck
Cessna's Model 172 has taught and shaped the careers of thousands of pilots for 50 years. The list of superlatives affixed to the 172 refers to manufacturing numbers and hours amassed rather than sexier terms like "fastest" or "prettiest." It is truly an unsung hero of general aviation airplanes. It's hard to believe that the design is 50 years old and, following the darkest days of the industry, has evolved into what is now among the more advanced single-engine airplanes in the sky.
(Excerpt) Read more at aopa.org ...
When a design is right, it's right. It's not a sexy plane at all, but numbers and longevity tell the story. Any single plane model that you've seen in the air your whole life was done right the first time.
Basically, what they're celebrating is that general aviation aircraft design has been stagnant for fifty years. I suspect all the federal supervision of it may have had some effect.
I disagree. Dumpster nailed it:"....right the first time." for this particular aircraft.
Liability attorneys and government regulation DID almost wipe out GA (General Aviation.
We're only just now seeing new designs (Sirrus, Liberty, Light Sport, etc etc.) and features.
What's being celebrated is that, thru time, the 172 has delivered in consistance of performance, flight characteristic predictability, and in a cost-effective fashion.
It's been an evolutionary aircraft; improvments made every year.
The 172 does what it was designed to do very well, simple as that. I've got a few hrs in them, from new ones, to some old abused beaters that should have been grounded. I got where I was going safely, and most of the time had fun enroute.
I was on the C-172/Porsche conversion project, back in the late 80's. What a pain. The project was a success in getting the STC, but it was heavier (which resulted in a lower payload), much more expensive, and more complicated, which means more maintenence (although the engine is very reliable). Sure the Porsche engine is great, but potential buyers looked at it and said, "with that price tag, I can get a nice C182, carry more and go 20 kts faster". So upon getting the STC, Porsche shelved the project.
I've been away from flying, or even hanging out regularly at the local aerodrome for years, so I don't know if Porsche has since decided to offer the C172 conversion again.
I was aware of the Mooney/Porsche conversion a few years back....but hadn't heard that it had been tried in the 172!
Learn something new every day here!!
Given that the older 172 is, with full fuel and very little baggage ( and the rear compartment is small anyway), really a three(3) person-max airplane, I wouldn't think that a heavier engine conversion would have been marketable.
'Course ... some people would buy it for that Porsche emblem. Haven't seen much on the Mooney since, either.
Ya' oughta get yourself current again. Flying has certainly helped my sanity. Up there I'm not thinking about that next world, or local, crises!!!
Which one is the Cessna?
I haven't seen a Mooney Fork Tailed Doctor Killer in the air for a l-o-n-g time. I assumed that the brain surgeons had crashed all the airworthy ones a long time ago.
The V-tailed Bonanza is the infamous "doctor-killer" ;)
That pic could have been me on a rare trip into SFO ....
On departure, I was between, on the taxi-way, *two* 747's (well back from the one ahead!) and a line of 737's, commuter jets, and turbo props....
My 'lil 172 wanted to go airborne from the jet blast(s), wings a-quiver,and I was gettin' high on the Jet-A fumes, eyeballs burning, and wishin' for an O2 bottle....
ATC Clearance 'ordained' a hard right turn "as soon as safely executable" after airborne.
Thanks to a 30kt bay wind down the runway, I think I was off in 500 feet!!!
I was "OUTTA there" PDQ!!!
Thanks! The first time I heard that one I cracked up because it was so appropriate. Bam, teeth, eyeballs, golf clubs all over the field.
It did not have a tricycle undercart
Floats in summer. Big flat Elliot Brothers skis in winter (Elliot Brothers understood slush).
Hand it over to a junior pilot when the boss gives you a Norseman to fly.
I am showing my age.
I agree GCR.
But when they eliminated the depreciation allowance to write off an item such as a business plane (it was a 10 yr write down if my memory is correct) that also caused production numbers to go down dramatically. No one ever talks about it.
Spent many an hour in a 1958 172 (4030F) back in the late 60s and early 70s. That plane still lumbers along today as an agricultural spray plane no less! Haven't flown one for years since adopting low-wing transportation (Arrows, Mooneys, Musketeers). Still remember 4030F's "Coffee Grinder" radio (NARCO VHT-3) with a whopping 6 transmit crystals in it!
Thanks for the ping - I'm one of the rare pilots trained in an American flight school who has relatively little time in Cessnas. They are and will be the workhorse of flight training, but the school I attended had all Beechcraft. My time in Cessnas are just a few checkouts and a few rentals.
Still see a few of those... A freind of mines dad crashed in one awhile back... He was an Army Colonel
Typically you assume liability doubles the cost on a light aircraft. The cost to cert by FAR23 is on the order of $10M.
If it ain't broke, no need to fix it.
S**t happens. Even so...the 172 holds the best GA-fleet safety record.
'Course -- "The safest of all airplanes is the Piper Cub. It can only slightly kill you!" *
* = a quote but I can't recall the writer...
yah, but the ones that are left would burn 10 gal. an hour.
not the ashtrys in the 56 version - one of the few design flaws. The fuel lines in the support coluns used to drip into them.
He didn't crash in the 172, it was the Beechcraft Bonanza..
I learned in a 172, the power-on stalls sorta got to me... the p factor put us in a spin and I hurled all over :)
My parents have owned V-tailed Bonanzas for close to twenty years now. The Bonanza is a very safe, well built, and easy airplane to fly. They simply don't suffer fools or professionals who lack the time to remain proficient yet choose to fly single pilot IFR..
**I was aware of the Mooney/Porsche conversion a few years back....but hadn't heard that it had been tried in the 172!**
The conversion efforts began in Germany, of course (the early 1980s, IIRC), in some european production AC, and the C172. The US efforts began with the Mooney in the mid-80s. The FAA approved STC for the Cessna 172 was performed over a 3 yr span in the late 80s.
Before even building the prototype, Porsche had a C182 converted, but it could only be regarded as 'experimental', because of a variety of systems that were installed in a fashion that the Feds didn't approve of for production. For one, there was a raised console that contained the electric fuel pumps. Because Porsche used electronic fuel injection they figured they might as well use electronic distributors instead of magnetos. To satisfy the Feds, Porsche had to install dual alternators/regulators and batteries, with crossover wiring/circuitbreaker ability to keep one complete system going (should you lose a batt on one sytem and a alt on the other, you could still operate as normal).
On the C172 a lot was crammed beneath the floor: 1/2 in fuel lines replaced the 3/8 ones throughout (they would not fit behind the stock plastic pillar trim), two fuel pumps, fuel filter, dual wiring harnesses back to the dual regulator/battery compartment. You see, with the longer engine assy some weight had to be shoved behind the baggage area. And that wasn't enough, a lead weight (about 10#, I think) was bolted on top of the hor. stab. underneath the ver. stab. I can't remember the exact weight gain of the conversion, but it was more than 80#.
**Ya' oughta get yourself current again.**
I haven't given up. My license is just comotose for now.
Youngest still in college, and the wife went back to school as well !!!$$$$$$$$$$!!
I miss it some, and in the meantime try to watch the barn swallows when I can. Our yard is almost 2 acres, and they put on an awesome, fast moving, low level airshow. Their hyper-agility is so impressive.
A couple of day ago I was standing in the middle of their main bug hunting route, one zigzagged toward me, about ankle high, when less than 10 ft away, it pulled up just missing the top of my head. The annoying horsefly that was buzzing around me was gone right then. It was a neat experience.