TYPE: Four-seat lightplane.

PROGRAMME: Development of previous models described in 1985-86 and earlier editions of Jane's; total of 35,643 commercial aircraft in the earlier Model 172/Skyhawk series built between 1955 (first flight of prototype, 12 June) and 1985, when production was suspended. Prototype 'Restart 172' (N6786R), modified from 1978 Model 172N with IO-360 engine, made its first flight at Wichita 19 April 1995; certification flight testing began 10 January 1996; three preproduction 172Rs (N172KS, N172SE and N172NU) assembled at East Pawnee, Wichita, plant under Single-Engine Pilot Program, of which the first flew on 16 April 1996; FAA FAR Pt 23 certification achieved 21 June 1996 after 145 flight test hours; first production aircraft (c/n 80004; N172FN) rolled out at Independence 6 November 1996 and delivered 18 January 1997. First export delivery began on 30 January 1997 when second Independence-built aircraft (c/n 80005; VH-NMN) left US for air ferry to Australia.

CURRENT VERSIONS: 172R Skyhawk: Standard version. Compared with pre-1986 (172Q) versions, features fuel-injected engine; specially developed McCauley propeller optimised for reduced rpm operation; new Honeywell avionics; metal instrument panel with backlit, non-glare instruments; all-electric engine gauges, dual vacuum system, digital clock, EGT gauge, hour meter and centrally mounted annunciator panel; stainless steel control cables; epoxy corrosion-proofing; cabin improvements as detailed below; steps for visual checking of fuel tanks, which have quick-reference quantity tabs, and consolidation of all primary electrical components into a single junction box on the firewall for simplified servicing.
New standard features announced at the NBAA Convention at New Orleans on 9 October 2000, and introduced on 172R and 172S from 2001 model year, include redesigned wingtips, restyled and reclocked main landing gear fairings, improved nose gear fairing, low-drag wing strut fairings, streamlined refuelling and entrance steps, and improved interiors featuring sculptured composite side panels with integrated cupholders and cushioned armrests, removable overhead panels for simplified maintenance, Rosen sun visors, lightweight door handles and a 12 V electrical port for use with a portable GPS, CD player or laptop computer. New optional avionics include a 12.7 cm (5 in) Honeywell KMD 550 LCD colour MFD with Stormscope that interfaces with the previously available KLN 94 colour IFR GPS.
Detailed description applies to 172R.
172S Skyhawk SP: Special performance version, announced 19 March 1998; features Textron Lycoming IO-360-L2A engine rated at 134 kW (180 hp) driving a higher-performance McCauley 1A170E/JHA7660 fixed-pitch, 1.93 m (6 ft 4 in) diameter propeller; avionics and equipment as for baseline version except leather seats standard. Standard empty weight 746 kg (1,644 lb); maximum T-O and landing weight: normal 1,157 kg (2,550 lb), utility 998 kg (2,200 lb); maximum ramp weight: normal 1,160 kg (2,558 lb), utility 1,002 kg (2,208 lb); maximum level speed at S/L 126 kt (233 km/h; 145 mph); cruising speed, 75 per cent power at 2,590 m (8,500 ft) 124 kt (230 km/h; 143 mph); stalling speed, power off: flaps up 53 kt (99 km/h; 61 mph), flaps down 48 kt (89 km/h; 56 mph); maximum rate of climb at S/L 222 m (730 ft)/min; service ceiling 4,270 m (14,000 ft); T-O run 293 m (960 ft); T-O to 15 m (50 ft) 497 m (1,630 ft); landing from 15 m (50 ft) 407 m (1,335 ft); landing run 175 m (575 ft); range with maximum fuel: at 75 per cent power at 2,590 m (8,500 ft), 518 n miles (959 km; 596 miles); at 45 per cent power at 3,050 m (10,000 ft), 638 n miles (1,181 km; 734 miles); endurance 6 h 43 min. First delivery 31 July 1998. Further improvements introduced in October 2000, as noted.
Millennium Edition: Special configuration limited edition Skyhawk SP, announced in February 2000 and available from March 2000. Cessna announced on 9 April 2000 that limited edition would be extended, due to demand. Features redesigned cabin interior with leather seats; floor mats embossed with Cessna Millennium logo; new cup- and chart-holders; Rosen sun visors; polished spinner and cowling fasteners; Goodyear Flight Custom II tyres; avionics package plus Honeywell KLN 94 colour IFR GPS with moving map display; new exterior paint scheme; pilot's accessory collection.

CUSTOMERS: Total of 180 172Rs and 279 172Ss delivered in 1999, 150 and 340, respectively in 2000, 107 and 341, respectively in 2001, 57 and 258 respectively in 2002 and 50 and 201 respectively in the first nine months of 2003. The 1,000th 172R/SP was delivered in October 1999 to North Florida Medical. Customers include Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (initial batch of 73 172Rs out of 300 piston-engined Cessnas of all models to be ordered over a 12 year period), TAM Training (10), Western Michigan University (38), US AFB Flight Training Centre (22 delivered from 30 March 1998), Civil Air Patrol (42 172Rs/SPs ordered by August 2000, Daniel Webster College of Nashua, New Hampshire (20 172Rs delivered by August 2000, Central Missouri State University (16 172Rs delivered by March 2000), Kansas State University (15 172Rs delivered), Singapore Flying College at Jandakot, Perth, Australia (six 172Rs ordered in February 2000 in addition to five delivered in early 1998), the University of Dubuque (three 172Rs delivered in 2003, bringing fleet total to nine), American Flyers (five 172Rs delivered in 2003, bringing fleet total to 25), and Southern Illinois University Carbondale (seven 172Rs delivered in April 2003).

COSTS: 172R Skyhawk US$155,000 standard equipped; Skyhawk SP US$165,000. Price including NAV I US$164,900 (172R) and US$174,900 (172S); NAV II US$177,500 (172R) and US$187,500 (172S) (all 2003).

DESIGN FEATURES: Classic, all-metal, braced high-wing, touring lightplane. Tapered, mid-mounted tailplane and wing outer panels; sweptback fin.
NACA 2412 wing section. Dihedral 1° 44'. Incidence 1° 30' at root, -1° 30' at tip; fin sweepback 35° at quarter-chord.

FLYING CONTROLS: Conventional and manual. Actuation by stainless steel cables; modified Frise all-metal ailerons; electrically actuated single-slotted Para Lift flaps; trim tab on elevator.

STRUCTURE: Conventional light alloy, with composites for some non-structural components such as nose-bowl, wing-, tailplane- and fin-caps, and fairings. Epoxy corrosion proofing and polyurethane exterior paint standard.

LANDING GEAR: Fixed tricycle type with Cessna Land-O-Matic cantilever tapered steel tube main legs and oleo-pneumatic nose leg; steerable nosewheel, tyre size 5.00x5; mainwheel tyres size 6.00x6; hydraulic brakes. Wheel fairings optional, but included free when Nav I and II packages are purchased.

POWER PLANT: One 119 kW (160 hp) Textron Lycoming IO-360-L2A flat-four piston engine driving a two-blade, fixed-pitch McCauley 1C235/LFA7570 metal propeller. Fuel contained in two integral wing tanks, combined capacity 212 litres (56.0 US gallons; 46.6 Imp gallons) of which 201 litres (53.0 US gallons; 44.1 Imp gallons) are usable. Refuelling points on upper surface of each wing. Oil capacity 7.6 litres (2.0 US gallons; 1.7 Imp gallons).

ACCOMMODATION: Four persons in two pairs on contoured, energy-absorbing seats dynamically tested to 26 g, those for pilot and front seat passenger being vertically adjustable, reclining and mounted on enlarged seat rails with dual locking pins; dual controls standard; rear bench seat with reclining back; door each side of cabin, hinged forward; inertia reel harnesses for all occupants; tinted windows with hinged side windows; ambient noise reduction soundproofing; composites headliner, and double-pin latching system for cabin doors. Baggage compartment to rear of cabin, with access door on port side. Cabin is heated and ventilated. Air conditioning optional.

SYSTEMS: Electrical system comprising 28 V 60 A alternator and 24 V 12.75 Ah battery.

AVIONICS: Comms: Bendix/King KX 155A nav/com; KMA 28 audio panel. KT 76C Mode C transponder all standard.
Flight: Bendix/King KI 208 VOR/LOC standard. Optional NAV I package comprises KLN 94 GPS, second KX 155A with glideslope, KI209 VOR/LOC/GS and MD 41-231 GPS-Nav selector; optional NAV II package adds KAP 140 two-axis autopilot. Optional additions to NAV II include KCS 55 compass, KR 87 ADF and KMD 550 MFD.