2 Things Every Pilot Should Know About The 152's Performance
One of the most popular 2 seater airplanes ever made was the Cessna 152! They are nice looking and most importantly they have stood the test of time and generations of pilots have been trained by them. When it comes to the performance specs, this airplane shines! Sure it is not a jet, but considering its size (and price) it performs pretty good...
IMPORTANT: You have to realize that because of the age of the Cessna 152, there have been modifications over the years. Some have been through developments by Cessna but others have been through after market changes by owners. So make sure you really do your research on the airplane your looking at to make sure you get the right performance information.
2 Surprising & Important Things You Should Know
About The Cessna 152
#1 - There Is More Behind The Engine Then You May Think
When you are looking at the Cessna 152, most people are not thinking about the engine. You know it is there and will crank out 11o horsepower. But what you have to realize is that there is way more behind all this then you may realize.
The performance of the 152 is primarily based on the Lycoming O-235 which was put into service in 1942.(1) That alone should tell you something about this airplane... Having an engine that has been in service that long is in most cases a good thing! Obviously it worked or it would have not made it into thousands of Cessna 152's.
The other thing you have to realize is that Cessna is owned by Textron. Not only that, guess who now owns Lycoming Engines? Textron!(2) Textron is massive and is into all kinds of aviation businesses - big ones too! It is not like Lycoming is run out of some old guys garage who has been building these things for decades. Lycoming is the real deal!
The reason that is so important is because of the fact that the engine maker is still around! That means your not going to have to worry about parts for this airplane (in most cases and countries).
One Other Important Thing
One thing that gives a pilot peace of mind is the fact that this airplane has stood the test of time in terms of the engine's reliability. It's been around a really long time and has been proven to be trust worthy. One of the problems with buying a brand new plane that is a new concept with a new, unproven engine is that you don't know if it is going to stand the test of time.
You don't want to buy something new that is marketed as the greatest thing ever and then find out that there are all kinds of engine issues and these airplanes are dropping out of the sky all the time. That would not be fun!
Because the 152 has such a long history of performance, we know that the Lycoming engine is hear to stay and is going to work for you. Of course that does not prevent all engine issues, but it helps to know that the engine you have has a good history behind it.
#2 - This Airplane Has Some Good Performance Numbers
When it comes to putting that engine to work, the 152 really does shine. Your probably going to see a cruise speed of about 107 knots with this airplane.(3) But you have to remember that this is a true airspeed which does not factor in winds, altitude, exc.
Still, that is not bad considering that is what a lot of the light sport aircraft (LSA) that are being built now days cruise at. Not only that, with the 152 - your not going to have to spend $100k or more to get a 107 knot cruise speed!
This airplane is not going to rival a turbcharged twin, but when you fill up at the pumps - your going to be pretty glad your not flying the turbocharged twin. And all things considered - the performance of this airplane is pretty good.
The Other Side Of Performance
We often want something that goes fast enough to make us feel like were flying a jet. But the other side of performance is that you also want something that is really good economically. And the 152 really shines in that area.
Sure it is not going to be super fast, but the fuel burn rate is really good & with the small engine, you should be spending less on other mechanical issues as well compared to a 300 horsepower airplane. With a bigger engine comes other things that are "bigger" as well like more digital equipment and toys to fix. It all adds up over time - that's why the 152 is nice... It's simple!
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References: #1 - Sourced 02/02/2012 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lycoming_O-235
References: #2 - Sourced 02/02/2012 http://www.textron.com/about/our-businesses/
References: #3 - Sourced 02/02/2012 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cessna_152
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