Cessna By Textron Aviation

Clyde V. Cessna founded Cessna in 1916 after seeing an airshow near Oklahoma City in 1911. A mechanic and auto salesman, he assembled his aircraft using a kit from Queens Airplane Company in the Bronx. After several failed attempts, he eventually got the hang of flying and became a decent pilot. By 1916, he began using the Jones Motor Car factory in Wichita, Kansas, to start production for his aircraft.

By 1917, the Comet was built by Cessna; however, World War I forced a halt in production and sales. At this point, parts and supplies were reserved for war efforts. So Cessna accepted his failed business and returned to farming.

In 1925, Walter Beech and Lloyd Stearman convinced Cessna to continue aircraft builds. They made Travel Air Manufacturing Company with Cessna as its president a group. In this role, Cessna felt he was missing out on the engineering and designing aspects of aircraft production and teamed up with Victor Roos to establish the Cessna-Roos Company. Roos left shortly after the company’s establishment for another job. After selling an A and D series of aircraft, private aircraft sales fell to an all-time low. In 1931, Cessna was forced to close down his company once again.

Cessna’s nephew Dwane Wallace received his degree in aeronautical engineering from Wichita University two years after Cessna’s shutdown. He worked for Beech Aircraft Company, eventually convincing the board to allow his uncle to reopen his shop and continue making aircraft. At the time, Beech occupied a small section of Cessna’s former factory.

Cessna rejoined aircraft production but retired in 1936, selling all of his remaining shares to his nephews, Dwane and Dwight Wallace. Under the Wallace brothers’ leadership, Cessna built its first twin-engine aircraft in 1938. Demands eventually came pouring in from the U.S. and Canadian military for training aircraft. As a result of World War II, Cessna expanded into business aircraft and eventually became part of Textron Aviation.

  • Country of Origin: America

Cessna Skyhawk 172N & Cessna Skyhawk 172P Statistics

Below are average statistics for the latest Cessna Skyhawk within the N through P model range. Find more information on Cessna’s most popular single-piston aircraft and join the aviation community at VREF Online.

Cessna Skyhawk 172 P (1986) Statistics

123 kts

Maximum Speed

440 nm

Maximum Range


Maximum Occupants


Range Of Years Manufactured


Total Aircraft Build


Current Operational Aircraft

946 lbs.

Useful Load


Average Sale Value


Average Days On Market For Sale


VREF Demand Rating

Operational Resources

Operations Manual

Maintenance Document

Local Resources



Cessna Skyhawk Details

Below are the details for the 1986 Cessna Skyhawk 172P.


Tweed fabric is used in various colors for comfortably seating four. Its back seat is a solid back or split-backed fixed seat for rear-seat passengers. The front two seats are capable of reclining. Its original controls consist of conventional aileron, rudder, and elevator control surfaces. Its panel follows a basic “T” configuration.


Cessna’s 1986 Skyhawk has tricycle landing gear and a 2-blade propeller. It is an all-metal, four-place, high-wing, single-engine airplane designed for utility purposes. It has single-slot type wing flaps, and wings have strobe lighting installed, totaling an area of 174 square feet.


The Cessna 172 contains the following standard avionics:

  • ADS-B Out and in
  • Integrated VFR sectional charts
  • IFR high and low charts with night mode
  • COM frequency decoding
  • Vertical situation display
  • Selectable visual approaches
  • Wireless database and flight plan loading
  • The angle of attack indicator
  • Simplified maintenance

Optional avionics include:

  • Garmin GFC – 700 Autopilot featuring Electronic Stability and Protection (ESP) and Under Speed Protection (USP)
  • Garmin Connect Satellite Iridium
  • Surface Watch for runway safety


  • Configuration: Single engine, piston, fixed gear
  • Max Take Off Weight: 2,550 lbs.
  • Take Off Run: 1,630 ft.
  • Cruise: 124 kts
  • Range: 640 nm
  • Landing Roll: 960 ft.
  • Wing Span: 36 ft. 1 in.
  • Length: 27 ft. 2 in.
  • Height: 8 ft. 11 in.

Cessna Skyhawk 172 Models


The initial 1956 Cessna 172 first appeared in 1955. It had a Continental O-300 145 hp six-cylinder, air-cooled engine with a maximum gross weight of 2,200 lbs. It started at $8,995 and remained in production until 1960. A total of 4,195 were made over its five years in production.


The 172A had a base price of $9,450, and a total of 1,015 were built. The 172A replaced the original 172 in 1960, and this model introduced a swept-back tail fin, rudder, and float fittings.


The 172B was introduced as the 1961 model, and “Skyhawk” was added to the name, appearing for the first time. However, many today continue to include Skyhawk in the name when referring to any Cessna 172s. A few components of this model changed from previous versions, including shorter landing gear, engine mounts, a redesigned cowling, and a pointed propeller spinner.

Initially, Skyhawk was applied as an additional deluxe option package, which offered optional equipment such as full exterior paint to replace its original striped design and standard avionics. Its gross weight saw an increase to 2,250 lbs. from 2,200 lbs.


Next came the 1962 Cessna 172C with a base price of $9,895. This model had an optional autopilot and key starter, which replaced the previous pull starter. Also, the seats were designed to be six-way adjustable, and a child’s seat was made optional. This family-friendly feature allowed two children to be carried in the baggage area. In total, 889 172C models were produced. This model has a gross weight of 2,250 lbs.


With a total of 1,146 built, the 1963 172D model came with a few new features. Gross weight was increased to 2,300 lbs. from 2,250 lbs. This amount will not change until its later model, the 172P. A few new additions were added to the 172D, including:

  • New rudder
  • Brake pedals
  • 172D Powermatic (175 horsepower Continental GO-300E)

The 172D had a lower rear fuselage, a wraparound Omni-Vision rear window, and a one-piece windshield. Previous models without this characteristic are called “fastbacks.” Using the term, Omni-Vision became part of Cessna’s marketing to showcase enhanced pilot visibility features. However, the addition of the rear window did cause a loss of cruise speed due to the extra drag. There was also not a notable amount of improved visibility.

The addition of the Continental GO-300E increased its cruise speed by 11 mph compared to the basic 172D. However, opting for some damage control tactics, this model was a rebranded Cessna 175 Skylark. Its GO-300 engine suffered reliability problems, and word spread quickly, giving it a negative reputation. The public didn’t buy its marketing ploy, so production of both the Powermatic and Skylark halted forever.


In 1964, the 172E was introduced. 1,401 172Es were built that year as the Cessna brand gained popularity. A few alterations included the circuit breaker replacing electrical fuses and a redesigned instrument panel.


In 1965, Cessna welcomed its 172F model, which featured electrically operated flaps, replacing its former lever-operated system. Until 1971, Reims Cessna built this model in France, otherwise known as the F172 (1,436 total). Thus, the basis for the U.S. Air Force’s T-41A Mescalero primary trainer was formed. Its purpose was for initial flight screening aircraft in USAF Undergraduate Pilot Training (UPT) during the 60s and 70s.

As the UPT program removed all F172s, some extant USAF T-41s were assigned to the U.S. Air Force Academy for the cadet pilot indoctrination program. Others were distributed to Air Force aero clubs.


1966 172G offered two versions, including the standard 172G model with a more pointed spinner for $12,450 and its upgraded variant in the Skyhawk version for $13,300. A total of 1,597 were built.


In 1967, the 172H became the last model powered by a Continental O-300 engine, and only 839 were built of this model. Furthermore, a shorter-stroke nose gear oleo was introduced to reduce drag and spruce up the plane’s appearance during flight. Additionally, a new cowling was implemented, which meant shock-mounts transmitted lower noise levels to the cockpit to reduce cowl cracking. Finally, its electric stall warning horn was replaced with a pneumatic one. Again, this model offered two versions with the standard 172H at $10,950, while the Skyhawk version cost $12,750.


1968 saw the start of the use of Lycoming-powered 172s. The 172I featured a new standard T instrument arrangement and Lycoming O-320-E2D engine, which increased its power. As an additional result, the 172I optimal cruise speed increased to 131 mph (211 km/h) TAS (true airspeed). A total of 1,206 were built.


In 1969, Cessna welcomed the 172K, which featured a redesigned tailfin cap and reshaped rear windows. In 1970, the 172K model also had downward-shaped conical wing tips made of fiberglass. A total of 759 172K aircraft were produced.


1971 and 1972 saw the introduction of the 172L, which replaced the main landing gear legs with tapered, tube-shaped steel gear legs.


In 1973, the 172M debuted and featured a drooped wing leading edge for better low-speed handling, and it was also called the “camber-lift” wing. Additionally, this model saw an improved hold for more avionics and the relocation of a few small gauges.

Consumers also had the option to buy a higher standard equipment package, which included a second navigation radio, an ADF, and a transponder. By 1976, Cessna referred to the 172 only as Skyhawk. A total of 7,306 were produced.


This 1977 model featured a Lycoming O-320-H2AD engine, designed to run on 100-octane fuel instead of 80/87 fuel. This model remained in production for the next three years until the 172P.


Cessna skipped an ‘O’ model to avoid mixing up the letter with the number zero. Thus, the 1981 172P is the next aircraft in the lineup. In this model, we see the introduction of the Lycoming O-320-D2J engine. Its gross weight increased to 2,400 lbs. from 2,300 lbs. It had an optional wet wing and 62 U.S. gallon capacity.

172Q Cutlass

Cutlass was added to the 172Q name to remain linked to the 172RG. However, this 1983 model was a 172P with a Lycoming O-360-A4N engine.


Introduced in 1996, the 172R is powered using a Lycoming IO-360-L2A engine. Many modern improvements were made to this model, including:

  • Improved soundproof interior
  • Multi-level ventilation system
  • Standard four-point intercom
  • Energy-absorbing front seats with vertical and reclining adjustments and inertia reel harnesses


This model is still in production and features a Lycoming IO-360-L2A engine, a Garmin G1000 avionics package, and leather seats for later models.

Top Cessna Skyhawk 172 Questions

How Much Is A Cessna 172 Skyhawk?

The average price for a new Cessna 172 Skyhawk is around $370,000 to $425,000. Various additions, features, and other options affect the total cost of a new Cessna 172.

What Is The Difference Between Cessna 172 And 172 Skyhawk?

Technically, the 172 and Skyhawk are two different models, and the 172 is standard, while the Skyhawk is its deluxe model sibling. However, the aviation community primarily refers to Cessna’s 172 and Skyhawk as the same aircraft model.

How Much Does A 2020 Cessna Skyhawk Cost?

A 2020 172S costs about $449,400.

How Much Does A 2021 Cessna Skyhawk Cost?

A 2021 172S costs slightly more than a 2020 model at around $453,600.

Can A Cessna 172 Fly Across The Atlantic?

It may be possible to fly a 172 across the Atlantic. However, the risk of crashing is much higher when attempting to do so because of its fuel requirements, the possibility of flying at a high altitude, and other atmospheric conditions.

How Much Does It Cost To Fly A Cessna 172 Per Hour?

According to BWI Insurance, operating costs for a Cessna 172 average between $100-$200 per hour.

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