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In 1956, Cessna started building the 172 training plane - and more than 60 years on, it’s still in production.

More pilots over the years have earned their wings in a 172 than any other aircraft in the world - Doug May, Textron Aviation ( More...

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indy2001 17
I still have the red satchel (and all its contents) that I received in 1977 when I enrolled at a Cessna school for my private pilot training. It contains the manual for the Cessna 150 that I would use until my solo. The same week that I soloed the flight school got rid of the 150, so I was given a manual for the 172 that would become so familiar over the next few weeks and months. It seemed so much roomier after the crowded 150 cockpit, but in the air the performance and feel of the 150 and 172 were almost the same. Over the next couple of years, rented 172s from our home base at KLAF took 4 of us to almost every Big 10 campus on college football weekends. Just after I passed my tests I temporarily switched over to Pipers, but I preferred the high-wing Cessna with its great downward visibility. Although I haven't flown anything but a computer sim for years now, I look back very fondly on my days in the Skyhawk.
Mike Mohle 6
When I was training I remember transitioning from 150/152 to the 172 and thought that it was a "big" airplane and that I was finally a real pilot. It could have been a 747 at that point!!!!
30west 5
A classic airplane from Cessna! Who hasn't flown and trained in a C-172?

Almost as old as the still operational sixty-five year old B-52, although it is not in production any more. The first flight of the BUFF was April 15, 1952 under the command of Tex Johnson who famously barrel-rolled the Dash-80, the prototype of the 707, over Lake Washington during Seattle's Seafair celebration in 1955.
bentwing60 3
In response to the first question, the Cirrus drivers. In response to the BUFF, I love it but the term might offend some, if they knew what it meant. LOL. And as for the article, the authors major blooper came when he said a "change in the legal environment" led to a pause in production in the late 80's. Actually tort reform and a change in the legal environment led to the resumption of piston engine airplane production some years later. The lawyers crawling all over every accident, lawsuits for everyone, and the cost of product liability insurance led to the cessation of production of virtually all piston engine airplanes in the U.S. in 1984, 1985. I suspect you were there. And I thought I had died and gone to heaven after picking up a few students who could afford to train in a 172, as opposed to a 150 or 152. And I think Tex Johnson and Bob Hoover had more than a couple of things in common. Cheers.
30west 3
Oh yes, the Cirrus. A generational oversight on my part. BUFF, you are correct "fellow" might be too gender specific for some. ;-)

I learned at VNY in a 150 and graduated to a 172 after getting my license and used it for most of my commercial rating. Most of my instruction time given was in the 150/152. It was always a bonus giving instruction in a bigger single or, if it was great day, a twin. I stopped giving instruction about 1990 due to the frivolous litigation atmosphere and concern for the potential effects on me and my family since we had acquired some assets by that time. I felt insulated from that problem in my commercial flying career.
bentwing60 1
Touche on the BUFF! The II rating moved me up cause I didn't find too many guys who could successfully enter and hold with one VOR and no DME!
30west 2
Most of the instrument instruction I gave were in Pipers, the Archers and Arrows tricked out with dual VOR's, G/S, DME, Marker Beacon, ADF and if you were lucky a heading bug! At lot of it was out of MRY and the seasonal low stratus layer was great for students because of the actual instrument time in the ILS pattern. Great training! Enjoy your next flight!!
In 1977 at hondu Air Force base, I started my basic flying training.
I have 50 flying hours prior getting advanced fighters aircraft training.
C-172 very safe and forgivable aircraft, I enjoyed flying. Thanks with best regards.
For C-172 spins, a shot of power as the airplane breaks over the top can help get the spin started. Make sure you maintain full aft elevator to avoid popping out into a spiral. Full anti-spin rudder and just relaxed elevator is usually sufficient for recovery; shoving the yoke forward leads to excessive nose-down and altitude loss, and unnecessary airspeed increase.
harrydanik 2
it was a great time to be an American in the turbulent & beautiful 60's & 70's, flying those 150's & 172's, flying all over the eastern United States, logging 200+ hours of actual wet time & meeting wonderful people at all those FBO's.
Thanks for super memories....."tailwinds to you all" !
gerardo godoy 1
The DC-3 Little Brother....
Ron Goes 1
At our school it was the C-150/152. The 172s were normally our rental planes. The Piper Cherokee Warrior (-161 we had two) with the tapered wing was far superior and more comfortable than the Cessnas. You really couldn't get a decent spin out of the 172 which is better for safety; lousy for training.
At the static display at the California Capital Airshow at Mather field (KMHR), they had some of the Skylanes, Skyhawks, Skylarks and an old Skycatcher for sale. And I have to admit, for as plain and classic looking that Cessna prop line looks, as decked out as the panel was, that Skyhawk was damn sexy.
Floyd Taber 1
I find this article full of errors and liberties taken in the wording. If you use the word continuous production the 172 is not in the realm of being a first. I fly a 172 and as far as a training aircraft that was never the Cessna companies intent. That is why the 150 was introduced 3 years later. Textron takes great liberties with verbage.
Graeme Smith 2
The 150/152 line was introduced as an entry level plane aimed at getting you towards one of its bigger brethren. Cessna histories state, and all early marketing are aimed at how the planes are great ways to get about on business (hence the 150 "Commuter"). Remember this was long before the Interstate system was even remotely developed into what it is today. Flying really did offer a businessman an advantage. The other marketing materials were aimed at getting away for the weekend with family. No marketing was aimed at training. The fact the 150/152 went on to become a solid trainer was a happy accident for Cessna - never planned.
joel wiley 1
So which is the oldest 172 still flying?
mtpiper 5
N5000A, the first production 172 is still flying.
Floyd Taber 1
It was for sale about 6 or 7 years ago, I just missed it when I was looking for one.
mtpiper 2
The guy that bought it has done a complete multi-year restoration back to the factory delivered paint scheme and I think the interior is correct as well. I thought I read somewhere that even the panel is as it was delivered, except maybe for some radio work.
Can I post a link to a video?
Graeme Smith 1
After a number of requests for updates and corrections to this article made by a number of us from Cessna Clubs - it finally reads tolerably accurately. Now a nice "fluff" piece for GA.
Thanks for clarifying that.
Are you folks aware that a new C172 costs over $400,000 US?
bentwing60 2
Sadly, yes. Priced a new Baron lately? In 1982 I bought a 1979 C152 (S.N. 82817) with 380 hrs. on the clock for $10,500. Placed it with a lease back co. at ADS that at the time was fairly small with a 1/2 dozen airplanes or so. The co. grew to 40+ airplanes, I instructed there in my airplane and others, and when all was said and done, I sold it in 1994 for $17,500 with over 7700 hrs. TT in the maintenance logs. It was a different atmosphere for GA. I miss it.
Scott Wiggins 1
Blame the FAA and lawyers for the absolutely ridiculous costs association with production GA aircraft. Look deep enough and you will see that they are one and the same, meaning lawyers and the Feds. The fact that the 172 is being lauded as a great airplane is really sad. I owned one so I'm well aware of its capabilities. The first time I got in the back of an RV-4, I knew that the Pipers, Cessnas an the like were hopelessly outdated being stuck in a 1950s timewarp like the old Chevys in communists Cuba. I despise the Feds and the legal industry for what they have done to GA.
bentwing60 1
The feds had a part but the legal environment played a far greater role in the great normal category airplane collapse of the mid 80's. Experimental category builds by owner could incorporate new technology and production techniques with far less FAA or legal consequence. Hence, they outclassed the GAMA gang because of certification issues and the fact that any new thing on a GAMA airplane was looked at by the lawyers as acknowledgement that the old system was flawed, more lawsuits, less innovation. For those who have seen the movie since the 70's, I'd guess more than a few would agree that while the FAA may not have always seemed to be our "friends", the legal community has probably cost us as much or more money.
Scott Wiggins 1
Thanks for your response. I agree with your comment without question. If I sound bitter its because I am with regard to the near death of light plane manufacturing. My aviation odyssey took me to OSH for the first time in 1992. I flew my C-172 there from Beeville, TX where I was soon to get my wings in another Skyhawk, the A-4. Suffice it to say that I was blown away by what I saw at Oshkosh. The innovation, excitement, and performance of the homebuilt/experimentals was off the charts compared to the relics of a bygone era, meaning Cessnas, Pipers and the like. I went on to own a Thorp T-18, RV-4, Glasairs I and III, and a Rutan Vari-eze. I'm in a Bonanza these days and consider it the best light airplane ever produced. I'm biased you might say...As mentioned, I agree totally with your assessment. I would add, however, rightly or wrongly that the Feds stood by and allowed the legal industry to destroy light plane manufacturing in this country. While not totally dead, we are only making about a thousand planes a year. This, down from a peak of 40k/year post WWII. I find this unacceptable! Congress intervened once about twenty years ago to limit airplane manufacturers liability to eighteen years. Prior to this law, manufacturers were subject to litigation for the entire life of an airplane. Imagine Piper being sued for defects in eighty year old airplanes. It happened as I'm sure you know. In point of fact, we probably wouldn't be making any light planes if Congress had not stepped in with much needed tort reform. So, here we are. If I seem hard on the Feds its because I see that they deserve it. The only thing I think they got right is allowing the homebuilt sector to flourish. We can only imagine what could have been coming off the Cessna, Piper, and Beech production lines if they had been allowed to innovate and produce airplanes for the flying public with the best of new technology and not priced in the stratosphere...

cheers, and best regards...
bentwing60 1
Back in the "day" the FAA had it's hands full with a burgeoning aviation industry over whom they had legal oversight authority. They had no such authority over the other and probably no desire to tangle with the guys that always rise to the authority of controlling the FAA budget. Just sayin.

My first ever airplane ride was in a 172!!!
Jerry Minor 1
Well, I don't know if you can say that it is virtually unchanged. The 172B model that I owned, with it's manual flaps, spring steel gear, no rear window, and Continental 145 hp 6-cylinder was a far cry from what is being produced today.
Mike Mohle 2
You mean the "Land-O-Matic" gear? LOL.
Sound great
If you want to see a Cessna 172 plane from 1956 come to Tomahawk Wisconsin. Our KTKV Flyers club owns such a plane. Or visit "" to see a picture. For more information contact us.
Sorry correction:
If you want to see a Cessna 172 plane from 1956 come to Tomahawk Wisconsin. Our KTKV Flyers club owns such a plane. Or visit", then go to "Guest Hangar" and "Aircraft and cost of operation". For more information contact us.
Phillip Clark 1
I learned to fly in a 65hp Aeronca, after getting my license I purchased a new 1956 Cessna 172. Loved that airplane.
Good, bad or horrible, the fact is it got us all sharing our memories and the love of flying. I enjoyed reading those more than the article :-)
Roy Highsmith 1
From an old aviator... you haven't lived until you made your first take-off ever in a Cessna 120, tail dragger. You learn to fly real fast when you do. Landings were a thrill. A fun aircraft to fly. I moved on to bigger and better but I still fondly remember when graduating to a 140 was a big thing.


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