Take a look at the Cessna 172, the 'old school' trainer plane that's the best-selling civil aircraft in history
The Cessna 172 is the world's best-selling civil aircraft, with more than 45,000 units sold.
The plane is commonly used as a trainer aircraft for beginner pilots.
The plane costs around $50,000 if bought pre-owned, and $400,000 new.
The Cessna 172 is the most popular trainer aircraft in the world.
The plane is manufactured by Kansas-based company Cessna. It belongs to the trainer class of aircraft, which means it's built specifically for pilot training and flight experience.
As the plane has been in production for over 60 years, it has an "old school" reputation among aviation enthusiasts.
According to UK-based industry magazine Flyer, more than 45,000 units of the Cessna 172 have been built and delivered. This makes it the most successful civil aircraft in history, per aviation site SP's Aviation. In comparison, contemporary jetliners like the Boeing 737 and the Airbus A320 have sold 10,877 and 10,176 units respectively.
It's been said to be the easiest plane to fly, which is why it remains so popular among private pilots and flight schools.
The Cessna 172 was first produced in 1956 and continues to be built today.
The plane is based on the Cessna 170, an aircraft with a taildragger landing gear. Cessna modified the landing gear into a tricycle, which made the plane easier to land.
There are at least 18 variants of the plane, including the 172A, which has a tailfin, rudder, and float fittings; the 172B, which has a pointed propeller spinner; and the 172C, which introduced an autopilot system.
The contemporary variant of the plane has a re-engineered interior, with higher-quality seats, seat tracks, and restraints.
The four-seater plane is powered by a single engine.
Current models of the plane are powered by the Lycoming O-320 engine, which has a capacity of 180 horsepower. Previous models were fitted with the Continental O-300 and 360 models.
The plane measures 27 feet and two inches in length.
It has a maximum speed of 126 knots (around 233 kilometers per hour) and a range of 640 nautical miles.
In 1958, two pilots set a world record in the plane for the longest-ever flight without landing. The men flew the plane for 64 days, 22 hours, and 19 minutes, covering 150,000 miles (240,000 kilometers), which is around six times the circumference of the Earth, according to aviation publication Simple Flying. The record has stood the test of time and has yet to be broken.
The plane costs between $40,000 and $50,000 when pre-owned, and $400,000 when new.
Other fees include insurance, hangar rental, and maintenance, which can cost anywhere from $800 to $5,000. Other operational expenses like fuel and engine overhauls cost around $50-$60 per hour.
Older variants of the plane had a cockpit control with six primary flight instruments, according to a manual by the US Air Force Auxiliary.
Older variants had a dashboard that informed a pilot of the plane's airspeed, altitude, attitude, vertical speed, heading, and turn coordination. New variants have a glass cockpit with Garmin G1000 avionics.
Experts have described the cockpit as "spacious and comfortable."
The plane is said to have a "great safety record," according to the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association.
The plane's fatality rate is 0.56 per 100,000 hours, which gives it the best safety record in private aviation. According to the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, around 237 Cessna 172 Skyhawks — the standard version of the aircraft — were reported to be involved in accidents every year in the 1990s. But the majority of those on board usually suffer little to no injury, according to the organization.
The plane's simple systems and procedures make it one of the safest general aircrafts, which bolsters its reputation as a reliable trainer plane.
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