The Cessna 172 Skyhawk is a four-seat, single-engine, high-wing fixed-wing aircraft. First flown in 1955 and still in production, more Cessna 172s have been built than any other aircraft.
Speed: 126 Knots (Sea Level, 80%), 124 Knots (8500 ft, 75%)
Range: 512 NM / Time: 4.26 HRS (75%, 8,500 Feet)
Range: 638 NM / Time: 6.7 HRS (45%, 10,000 Feet)
Rate of Climb at Sea Level: 730 FPM
Service Ceiling: 14,000 Feet
Takeoff Performance: 960 Feet (Ground Roll), 1630 Feet (Total Over 50 Foot Obstacle)
Landing Performance: 575 Feet (Ground Roll), 1335 Feet (Total Over 50 Foot Obstacle)
Stall Speed (KCAS): 53 Knots (Flaps Up, Power Off), 48 Knots (Flaps Down, Power Off)
Standard Empty Weight: 1663 Pounds
Maximum Useful Load: 895 Pounds
Fuel Capacity: 56.0 Gallons (Total), 53.0 Gallons (Usable), 28.0 Gallons (Total Each Tank), 26.5 Gallons (Usable Each Tank)
Oil Capacity: 8 Quarts (Sump)
Engine: Textron Lycoming IO-360-L2A / 180 BHP at 2700 RPM
Propeller: 76 Inch (diameter) / Fixed Pitch
Measured by its longevity and popularity, the Cessna 172 is the most successful mass produced light aircraft in history. The first production models were delivered in 1956 and they are still in production. As of 2008, more than 43,000 had been built. The Skyhawk's main competitors have been the Beechcraft Musketeer and Grumman AA-5 series (neither in production), the Piper Cherokee and, more recently, the Diamond DA40.
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 the company had flown an improved variant of the Cessna 170, a Continental O-300-A powered Cessna 170C with a larger elevator and more angular vertical tail. 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. To reduce the time and cost of certification the type was added on to the Cessna 170 type certificate as the Model 172. Later the 172 was given its own type certificate 3A12. The 172 became an overnight sales success and over 1,400 were built in 1956, its first full year of production.
Early 172s were similar in appearance to the 170, with the same straight aft fuselage and tall gear legs, although the 172 had a straight vertical tail while the 170 had a rounded fin and rudder. Later 172 versions incorporated revised landing gear and the sweptback tail which is still in use today.The final aesthetic development in the mid-1960s, was a lowered rear deck that allowed an aft window. Cessna advertised this added rear visibility as "Omni-Vision". This airframe configuration has remained almost unchanged since then, except for updates in avionics and engines, including the Garmin G1000 glass cockpit in 2005. Production had been halted in the mid-1980s, but was resumed in 1996 with the 160 hp (120 kW) Cessna 172R Skyhawk and was supplemented in 1998 by the 180 hp (135 kW) Cessna 172S Skyhawk SP. (Wikipedia)