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The evolution of the 172 over the years.
For more, check out our feature, "Cessna 172: Still Relevant."
As a proud owner of a near pristine hotrodded 1963 P172D, I certainly agree with many of the article's comments--not enough, though, to think about trading. Mine is old, but it's mine, it's paid for, and in informal testing, it can outrun a late model SP.
I think Cessna could materially reduce the cost of the new ones if it went back to a 6-pack, because I see very little utility for an airplane of the 172 class to have such sophisticated avionics as a G1000. A 172 can only handle moderate IFR, certainly without any icing other than the slightest of rime, so there is no way the advanced features of a G1000 could be used. Any reasonably competent IFR rated/proficient pilot with a basic 6-pack can handle more than a 172 can handle .
Other current upgrades, I certainly agree with. The only way my pilot seat became as comfortable as it is, occurred with a complete rebuild by Oregon Aero. The single lap belts it had were replaced with much better BAS harnesses, which are on a par with the AmSafe airbags of the new ones. I've otherwise improved the interior somewhat, but at not just a little cost, and unfortunately there's still Royalite galore in it. Mine's nice, but the upgraded interior of the new ones is much more attractive than the older models had.
No doubt, the new 172 is a great little airplane, but I'll be keeping mine, thank you.
High wing Cessnas, compared to low wing aircraft, are ideal for me for the following reasons:
1. Superb photo platform: windows can open wide, with wing overhead to shield out sun – shoot between the strut and main gear. The C210 iseven better (no strut, retractable gear);
2. Two doors for easy loading, especially in the rain, and for escape in a crash;
3. Main landing gear is visible and shadow of nose gear can be seen at night;
4. No need for fuel pump – gravity feed;
5. Easy inspection of most mechanical components;
6. Rear window – useful to see other aircraft on taxiway or runway, and to check movement of control surfaces;
7. In water landing, fixed gear aircraft usually flip upside down, and the two doors will be facing up, not down – important if sinking in shallow water; and
8. Birds are high wing aircraft.
A new Cessna 172 sold for less than five times my annual wage when I was making minimum wage. Now I make what I consider an 'average' wage, and a new Cessna 172 costs more than six times my annual salary. So a new Skyhawk was actually more affordable when I was making minimum wage, than they are now with a middle-class income. If I were making minimum wage now, a new 172 would cost about 15 times my gross income -- more than three times what it cost in relation to my income when I started working. The Skyhawk is a middle-class airplane for middle-class people. It's the Honda Civic of airplanes. It should not be priced out of reach of its intended demographic group.
That said, I really like the 'retro' paint scheme. I don't care for the 'skyhawk' motif on the tail, but overall it looks much better than the recreational vehicle 'splashes' they've been using since its reintroduction.
Nice plane. Too bad Cessna have priced themselves out of their intended market.
@Heli Boy - Great comment. GA is so expensive it is hard to justify with college and retirement to save for. LSA was supposed to be the savior but even those prices have climbed and a nice new wet LSA rents for over $100/hr in my area.
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