Here's Some Important Things You Should Know About The Performance Specs Of The Cessna 172...
One of the best single engine airplanes you can own is the Cessna 172! How do we know that? The reality is, this aircraft has been selling for years & a lot of pilots absolutely love flying it. This aircraft rolled out of the assembly line in 1956 & there have been around 43,000 of them made.
One of the mistakes most pilots make when they are looking to buy a Cessna 172 is they think that every version is the same. You have to realize that Cessna made over 20 versions of this aircraft! That is a good thing as it shows their continued evolution in terms of creating a better aircraft.
But as far as the basic's go, you are going to want to probably know some numbers in terms of the performance specs for this aircraft... (You probably know this - but you are going to always want to make sure you verify the performance specs of the 172 you are looking at buying. Verify it via the pilot operating handbook (aircraft manual). The numbers I am going to give you are estimates you can work with.
IMPORTANT: Never just believe the seller when he or she tells you the performance specs... Most sellers are very honest, but when it comes to cruise speed, exc - there is a lot of variations when you factor in wind, weight, exc. So always verify the specs...
That said, you probably want to know what the cruise speed is going to be! Your going to want to expect a cruise speed of around 115 knots when you are flying the Cessna 172. Some of the models are going to give you a faster cruise speed.
For example - The 172 RG (retractable gear) version reportedly cruises at around 140 knots! That is pretty quick compared to 115 knots or 120 knots. But at the same time, you are going to pay a bit more for that speed. A 172 RG could run you around $65,000 to $85,000 +... But you do get at extra speed...
As far as the useable load goes, this is really where Cessna shines. They are masters at creating single engine airplanes that can haul a lot of stuff. Lets take a look at the Cessna 172 R for an example of what you might expect...
Also - If there are not a flood of them on the market, that is a good sign. That usually means that pilots actually like the airplane and they want to keep it. So just because you don't see a lot up for sale does not mean it is a bad thing. In most cases, it is a good thing.
The empty weight is reportedly 1,691 pounds & the gross weight it can fly with is reportedly 2,450 pounds. So that will give you about 759 pounds of usable weight to work with. Now, the fuel capacity is 56 US gallons as well.
So if you fill it full your going to use up roughly 340 pounds and have a range of around 696 nautical miles. (Of course that is under perfect conditions..) But that still leaves you with around 400 pounds after factoring in filling it full.
That means you could fly with 4 people who are all 100 pounds each! (-: Of course that is probably not going to happen in most cases. But 400 usable pounds with a 696 nautical mile range is VERY GOOD...
If you were flying with one passenger you could still probably factor in quite a bit of carry on baggage and still fly quite a distance. Or you could take less fuel, and more people as well as add in a pit stop.
In a perfect situation, you could fly with 4 people who's weight averaged out to 150 pounds each. That would give you 600 pounds of people weight and would still leave you with around 150 pounds for fuel... (These are averages only- ball park averages to think about!)
So that would still give you about 25 gallons of fuel to work with and a range of around 300 nautical miles... (Roughly - in perfect weather). But those are pretty good numbers when you consider everything.
If you were a family of four including a couple of younger kids, you could theoretically fly with your stuff, 4 people & still have a good amount of fuel on board to get you to where you want to go.
Make sure you compare the POH numbers of the Cessna 172 you are looking at buying to other aircraft in it's class. I am sure your probably going to realize that this aircraft really can hold its own and has great performance stats for the price you have to pay.
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