An airborne workhorse
By James Grahame
The Cessna 172 is one of the most popular light planes in the world. Over 42,500 of these capable four-seat aircraft were produced between 1968 and 1985, and you can usually find a handful on the ramp at flight training schools across North America and around the world.
Many pilots learn to fly the 172 because of its solid construction and easy handling. The high-wing design offers an unobstructed view of the world below and the tricycle landing gear is far easier to handle for student pilots than a "taildragger" design.
The 172 was produced in a variety of models sporting a range of avionics and powerplants. The most popular was the four cylinder 160-HP Lycoming O-320 powered 172N. It has a maximum crusing speed of 122 knots (226 kph), a service ceiling of 14,500 ft and a maximum range of 750 nautical miles (1390 km) with optional extended-range tanks. Chances are you'll need a pitstop well before your aircraft will.
The Cessna 172 Skyhawk (airliners.net)