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Cessna Aircraft Compared – Why Buy a Cessna Skylark Light Airplane?

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Why Buy a Cessna 175 Skylark Light Airplane?

The Cessna 175 Skylark offers an affordable, reliable route to private plane ownership and good examples can be picked up at prices no more than the average family saloon car. You do not often come across these sturdy light aircraft yet they are one of the models in the Cessna line up that truly has stood the test of time.

The Cessna 175 Skylark is a four-seat, single- engine, high-wing airplane that was produced between 1958 and 1962 by the Cessna Aircraft Company. It was designed to fill a niche between the lower powered Cessna 172 Skyhawk and the heavy-duty Cessna 180 and 182 Skylane. Skylark was the name given to the deluxe versions of the 175 from 59-62. The basic airplane was sold as a 175. The Skylark C175B included a package of optional equipment and a special paint scheme.

Through its lifetime the basic airframe design changed once, from the straight cowl, straight tail to the hump nosed cowl and slanted tail of the later models. The fastback fuselage was retained through the entire production line.

Externally, the only obvious difference between the 172 and the 175 is the slight hump on the engine cowl behind the 82″ propeller. The hump allows for the bigger, geared GO-300 Continental engine that provides the 175 with extra horsepower and a beefier performance.

The engine of the C175 was rated at 175 hp (130 kW), or 30 hp (22 kW) more than the engine of the 172. The Skylark, with 175 horsepower, is 15 mph faster than a Skyhawk and can take off and land in shorter distances. The extra horsepower and manual flap activation on the Cessna 175 makes these planes great for short take off and landing operations.

The 175 model had Cessna’s newly designed split level instrument panel, placing all of the primary flight instruments directly in front of the pilot, instead of spreading them out over the panel like earlier models. This makes them much better for IFR use then the previous Cessna models.

The 175 is not a noisy plane as the GO-300 geared engine runs the propeller at low revs (a maximum of 2400), however, the small whirring noise of the gear reduction drive will take some getting used to by those not familiar with it.

The Cessna 175 offers a comfortable ride so that longer journeys can be undertaken without the fear of stiff limbs and bad backs at the end of it! The cabin is thoughtfully laid out but it is the high wings that are perhaps the best feature for the pilot and passengers alike. The high wings allow for uninterrupted views from all angles, making leisure flying a real joy.

Between 1958 and 1962, a total of 2,106 Cessna 175s were built, so they are not the most frequent sight at airfields. But they are definitely worth considering if you are interested in buying an affordable and reliable light aircraft.

Cessna Aircraft Compared – The Cessna 172 Vs The Cessna 182

Cessna 172

To the uninitiated, the Cessna 172 and Cessna 182 are indistinguishable from each other. Both are 4 seat, high wing planes with struts bracing each wing. But for pilots, they are substantially different aircraft.

The major difference between the 172 and 182 are the engines. Both have been produced for over 40 years and during that time have come from the factory with a variety of engines. Since the 172N was introduced in 1977, the factory standard engine has produced 160 hp.

Prior to that 172 engines ranged from 145 to 160 hp. Many older aircraft have been upgraded in the after market to more powerful engines, including a popular 180 hp. version. All such changes are accomplished via a STC, or supplemental type certificate issued by the FAA.

Though the 182 has been powered by a several different engines, standard non-turbo models have always weighed in at 230 hp. This difference in horsepower has several implications. One is of course speed. The 182 is 15-20 knots faster than a 172. It can also climb 200 feet per minute faster.

Typically aircraft with bigger engines can lift more weight too. A standard late model 172 maximum weight is 2450 lbs, a 182 3100 lbs. Not all of that difference is useful load, an empty 182 is around 300 lbs. heavier than its smaller cousin.

Not all of the differences between the 172 and 182 are as easy to quantify as specifications and performance numbers. Being heavier, the 182 is a more stable aircraft than a 172. It doesn’t bounce around quite so much, and tends to track better in the direction you want it to go. This is a good feature if you intend to do much instrument flying. (Flying in the clouds or without visual reference to the ground.)

With over 200 horsepower and a controllable pitch propeller, the 182 is also considered a high performance airplane. What this means is that additional instruction is needed to be able to fly it, both by regulation and requirements of insurance companies.

As far as price goes, a typical price for a used 1978 172 would be in the low $40,000’s, while a similarly equipped 182 would be at least $20,000 more. A 182 will be more expensive to own too. Insurance, inspections, engine overhauls and operating costs will all be more. For example, a 182 will consume about 3 gallons per hour more fuel.

None of these things makes one plane better than the other. What distinguishes a plane is how you intend to use it. If you want a simple plane that’s relatively cheap to operate, that calls for a 172. If you want to use your plane for transportation and intend to go into weather, a 182 would better suit your purpose.

Finally, as for distinguishing one plane from another, the giveaway is the nose. A 182 has a fuller cowling section to cover the larger engine and a more streamlined windscreen.

Cessna 172 Skyhawk – The Most Popular Plane of All Time

Cessna 172 Skyhawk

More Cessna 172’s have been built than any other aircraft. Since production started in 1956, more than 43,000 have rolled off the line, and they continue to do so.

What accounts for the 172’s popularity? It’s a serendipitous combination of performance and utility that’s hard to beat. Though very few pilots would list the Skyhawk as their dream aircraft, it’s the one that many end up with. For decades it was the step up plane after learning to fly in a Cessna 150.

After a 150, the Skyhawk did seem to have loads of room, power, and speed. Confronted with quickly escalating costs of buying and flying larger and faster airplanes, many decided that the 172 suited their needs just fine.

It’s hard to imagine, but the when the 172 was introduced, it seemed a very modern aircraft. Remember, its immediate predecessor was the tail dragging 170, and planes before that were mostly made of wood and fabric. To climb into the relatively quiet all metal 172 was a big jump up in comfort and utility.

Easier to land, cheaper to maintain, 10 knots faster and two more seats than your average tail dragger were big selling points, as the numbers show.

The Skyhawk’s airframe has proven remarkably long lived. Even though the basic technology is over half a century old, when you put modern avionics such as the Garmin G1000 in the instrument panel it’s hard too tell the difference from much newer designs.

The Skyhawk is also helped by docile handling characteristics. Generally regarded as easy to land, it has no bad habits to speak of.

Though aircraft have never been cheap, the 172 benefits from being at the low end of the market for what have long been considered modern aircraft. It’s also the first of what could be considered an aircraft useful for going somewhere. Anything less would have to be considered more for recreation than transportation.

The purchase price is only the entry fee to owning an aircraft. As many owners regretfully discover, it’s really an opportunity to spend much more on gas, insurance, maintenance, inspections, engine replacement funds, hangers, and many other things that consume money. The Skyhawk is fortunate in that having a simple design and low fuel requirements (under 10 gallons/hour), some of these expenses are reduced.

Though the Skyhawk is still being produced, it does have more competition than it did in its heyday. New composite designs are faster and shinier, if not significantly more capable. But with a very deep pool of used aircraft, the Cessna 172 Skyhawk is sure to be a popular airplane for many years to come.

Cessna 210: A Centurion’s Need for Speed

Cessna 210

There’s no real answer to the question of which aircraft model is the best, because each plane has their unique advantages and disadvantages. Much depends on the preferences of the pilots individually, but one aircraft that would be in the running for the best in regards to speed and cargo/passenger capacity would be the Cessna 210, also known as the Centurion.

Significantly more expensive to own and operate than smaller lightweight aircraft, the Cessna 210 has load capability to match most competitors with elbow room to spare. But speed is the Centurion’s strongest attribute, with newer models topping in at cruising speeds of over 190 knots.

This plane is one of the fastest single engine aircraft ever built for general aviation. What’s even more impressive about the speed of the Cessna 210 is that it can even outrun and overtake many light twin engine aircraft. If you have places to go and need to get there fast, the Cessna 210 Centurion can get you there…and quick!

One has to remember, however, that with great speed comes a great fuel cost. The fastness and load capacity of the Cessna 210 doesn’t come cheap. You’ll soon discover the Centurion’s big engine guzzles lots of high priced gasoline. And with fuel prices rising, this might change your mind about the 210.

But what can the price of gas hold up against the need for speed? The extra fuel cost and added maintenance of retractable landing gear may turn some would-be Cessna 210 owners away, but some pilots who love to fly fast say that it’s more than worth the extra cost to have a Centurion in their hangar.

Another disadvantage, or advantage, depending on how you look at it, is the aircraft’s option of being equipped with six seats. While making it possible to carry more passengers along for the flight, the 210’s six seats increases insurance costs opposed to four-seaters.

But on the other hand, having the extra cargo and passenger space makes the cost-per-seat-mile rates quite reasonable compared with the aircraft which can only hold four persons.

Overall, this plane has definite advantages and disadvantages. And of course, the 210 isn’t the right choice for everyone. But if you are drawn to the Centurion’s unprecedented speed and proficient load capacity, then the Cessna 210 Centurion might just be the aircraft you have been looking for, the sky is the limit…and let’s hit the sky fast!

Robby Davis

Robby Davis

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At CoastPrivate, we’re more than simply a jet charter company; we’re a full-service private aviation brokerage offering a wealth of solutions, from ad-hoc charter and elite jet card membership programs, to airliner charters, private jet leasing and private jet sales worldwide.

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