Textron Makes Big Sale to ATP Flight School

The national flight school is adding 55 Cessna Skyhawks to its training fleet.

Textron Aviation’s Cessna 172 Skyhawk is one of the most widely used training aircraft in the world. [Courtesy: Meg Godlewski]

ATP Flight School is growing its training fleet with the help of Textron Aviation and an agreement to purchase 55 Cessna 172 Skyhawks. ATP has 74 locations around the country with a fleet that utilizes some 200 Skyhawks.

The Skyhawk, designed and manufactured by Textron Aviation, a Textron (NYSE:TXT) company, was first flown in 1955 by the Cessna Aircraft Company. The Model 172 quickly gained popularity with pilots who were looking for a four-place design that was easier to take off and land than a tailwheel aircraft, like the Cessna 170.

The four-place, high-wing design and gentle handling characteristics quickly made it a favorite in the flight training community. There are those who would argue the piston-powered Skyhawk is the backbone of the training fleet. Most pilots have a few hours in a 172 in their logbooks by the time they achieve their commercial certificate.

"This order announcement demonstrates our continued long-term relationship we have with ATP in support of their flight training needs," said Chris Crow, vice president, Textron Aviation Piston Sales. "For more than six decades, the legendary Cessna Skyhawk has been one of the world’s top training aircraft. We are thrilled to see these aircraft utilized to inspire the next generation of professional pilots."

ATP operates one of the largest professional pilot training programs in the country, with the student body logging more than 40,000 flight hours per month.

"ATP takes pride in providing Airline Career Pilot Program students with one of the newest, most advanced safety-focused training fleets," said ATP Flight School director of marketing, Michael Arnold. "The Skyhawk has proven to be an integral part of ATP’s fleet of 490 aircraft, which system wide delivers 480,000 flight hours and nearly 9,000 pilot certificates issued annually. The new order with Textron will be essential in continuing to provide students with the fastest path to gain certification and start their careers as airline pilots."

Deliveries of the 55 aircraft will begin in late 2023 and continue throughout 2024.

Textron Aviation notes that more than 45,000 Cessna Skyhawks have been produced, making it one of the most widely used training aircraft in the world. Most of the earlier Skyhawk models are still flying, and it is not uncommon to find a flight school that has a gamut of 172s ranging from those with round-dial legacy gauges in the instrument panel to those equipped with the Garmin G1000 NXi integrated flight deck and GFC 700 autopilot.

Meg Godlewski has been an aviation journalist for more than 24 years and a CFI for more than 20 years. If she is not flying or teaching aviation, she is writing about it. Meg is a founding member of the Pilot Proficiency Center at EAA AirVenture and excels at the application of simulation technology to flatten the learning curve. Follow Meg on Twitter @2Lewski.

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