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Buying a Cessna 172 (part 2 of 5)

by Jason Schappert

Which Model is Right for You?

Since 1956 a lot has been done to our beloved Cessna 172. With so many models and possible upgrades it’s hard to choose the 172 that’s for you.

Below we’ve listed a few of the more popular models, where Cessna made significant changes to the 172.

172 – As previously stated in the first post, Cessna equipped the 172 with a 145 horsepower Continental 0-300. Over a span of 5 years they manufactured 4195.

172B – In 1961 Cessna redesigned the cowling, spinner, and lengthened the engine mounts. After these minor upgrades they first deemed their airplane the “Skyhawk.”

172D – Up until 1963 the 172 featured what’s know as a “straight tail” with no rear window. The 172D was the first model to equip the fuselage with a rear window, known in 1963 as “Omni-Vision.” The 172D also saw the upgrade to a Continental GO-300E featuring 175 horsepower.

172F – In 1965 Cessna introduced electric flaps to replace it’s lever system.

172H – Cessna discontinued the Continental 0-300 in 1967 and the 172H was the last model to feature this engine.

172I – 1968 started Cessna’s well know Lycoming powered 172. The Lycoming 0-320-E2D was now the way of the future for Cessna.

172K – Made throughout 1969 and 1970 the 172K was know as the start of long range fuel tanks. A popular option to add on during that time.

172L – In 1971 Cessna introduced the 172L which featured tubular landing gear.

172M – 73 through 76 Cessna introduced the “camber lift wing” more commonly know as a droop tip. Cessna also redesigned the instrument panel to allow for more avionics and instruments. Thus the standard “six pack” was born.

172N – The 172N was the first model to have “pre-selectable flaps” and even air condition was an upgradable option.

172P – In 1981 Cessna created the 172P a model meant to fix all the woes of previous models. 40 degrees of flaps were out, 30 degrees was the new thing. The landing light was moved from the nose to the wing to increase bulb life.

172R – Which is still in production today is powered by a 160 horsepower Lycoming IO-360L2A with new sound proofing, interior, and fuel injection the 172R has been a popular choice for pilots and flight schools.

172S – Boasting many of the same features as the 172R but the 172S offers the Garmin G-1000 package.

Choosing the right model can be a daunting and difficult process but after you have ironed out all of you needs you can know what to look for.

Part 3: What to look for?


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  • Ira

    1977 C-172N
    Can the landing gear exhibit negative camber or does this mean the gear is sprung?

  • Ira

    1977 C-172N
    Can the landing gear exhibit negative camber or does this mean the gear is sprung?

  • Ira

    1977 C-172N
    Can the landing gear exhibit negative camber or does this mean the gear is sprung?

  • Ira

    1977 C-172N
    Can the landing gear exhibit negative camber or does this mean the gear is sprung?

  • http://www.JasonSchappert.com/ Jason Schappert

    Ira,

    Great question!

    In 1971 Cessna introduced the 172L. The biggest change in this was the landing gear from a flat tapered steel spring (no camber) to tubular landing gear.

    -Jason

  • http://www.JasonSchappert.com/ Jason Schappert

    Ira,

    Great question!

    In 1971 Cessna introduced the 172L. The biggest change in this was the landing gear from a flat tapered steel spring (no camber) to tubular landing gear.

    -Jason

  • http://www.JasonSchappert.com/ Jason Schappert

    Ira,

    Great question!

    In 1971 Cessna introduced the 172L. The biggest change in this was the landing gear from a flat tapered steel spring (no camber) to tubular landing gear.

    -Jason

  • http://www.JasonSchappert.com Jason Schappert

    Ira,

    Great question!

    In 1971 Cessna introduced the 172L. The biggest change in this was the landing gear from a flat tapered steel spring (no camber) to tubular landing gear.

    -Jason

  • http://ericgideon.com/ Eric

    Jason, nice overview, but I’m afraid that you’re poorly informed on at least a few points…

    1) the 172S is a 180hp, 2550 lb mtow version of the 172R (160hp, 2440 mtow).

    2) the six pack instrument panel predates the 1973 172M by at least two years, as my 1971 AA-1A has a six pack.

  • http://ericgideon.com/ Eric

    Jason, nice overview, but I’m afraid that you’re poorly informed on at least a few points…

    1) the 172S is a 180hp, 2550 lb mtow version of the 172R (160hp, 2440 mtow).

    2) the six pack instrument panel predates the 1973 172M by at least two years, as my 1971 AA-1A has a six pack.

  • http://ericgideon.com/ Eric

    Jason, nice overview, but I’m afraid that you’re poorly informed on at least a few points…

    1) the 172S is a 180hp, 2550 lb mtow version of the 172R (160hp, 2440 mtow).

    2) the six pack instrument panel predates the 1973 172M by at least two years, as my 1971 AA-1A has a six pack.

  • http://ericgideon.com Eric

    Jason, nice overview, but I’m afraid that you’re poorly informed on at least a few points…

    1) the 172S is a 180hp, 2550 lb mtow version of the 172R (160hp, 2440 mtow).

    2) the six pack instrument panel predates the 1973 172M by at least two years, as my 1971 AA-1A has a six pack.

  • Mike

    Looking for my 1st plane, I would like to take lessons and purchase the same type of plane, any advise.

    Mike

  • mzeroa

    Hey Mike,

    172's are frequent trainers.

    Things to look for

    -Low Total time airframe (TTAF) under say 4,000 is a gem but don't overlook the 5-6 thousand range

    -Low overhaul time (SMOH) Most 172's have a lycoming 0-320 and the overhaul “max suggestion time” is 2000 hours. Look for something midlife or less.

    -IFR avionics. DO you wish to get you instrument one day? This will save a ton of money and stress having them installed already.

    There's a ton more email me and keep me up to date on your progress.

  • Pingback: Choosing an Aircraft | aircraftenthusiast()

  • http://www.streetarticles.com/internet-and-businesses-online/list-pay-day-pro-2-review-a-members-thoughts List Pay Day Pro 2

    Awesome info here, I am also looking into buying my first plane!

  • Greg

    Hey Jason, love ya stuff man.  I am 59 years old and just now looking to get my license and first plane.  I want to end up in a twin.   First of all , am I just to damn old to start flying now, and do I have to start in a single, or can I just go out and purchase that Baron and learn in that?  Silly questions maybe, but i just need to know.  Thanks

  • Cavecpl513

    I can’t find, “Buying a Cessna 172″ Part 1!   Where might it be located?
     Thank You, for Your Time.        -Thom”Caveman” Altman (subscriber)

  • Jessie3801

    Jason, I enjoy receiving and reading your GA info. Very current and insightful. I’m a student pilot with 10 hrs logged while attending grad school in CO. Learning to fly amongst the 14ers was a great experience and I believe an attribute toward my training and skills I developed. Ironically, I’m now out of school and employed in an unrelated field and am finding it difficult to fund the remainder of training required for my PPC (VFR). I live in Long Island, NY and found what appears to be a good school (141 Rated) nearby. Any suggestions on where I can find help funding the accomplishment of my dream to be a pilot? MDW, Long Beach, NY

  • Hardball6696

    The C172 is a vary nice plane. How ever I had my discovery flight in a piper arrow and loved the look and ride!

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