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Old 06-02-2009, 01:54 PM   #1  
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Joined APC: May 2006
Position: C-172
Posts: 7,744
Default Choosing The Right Cessna 172

Yes, still on a quest to buy my own 172 one of these days. This link is to the list of available ones on Trade A Plane. If you were me, which one is the best buy? Why? The variety is certainly great and makes picking one all the more difficult. Looks like the more expensive ones have radios and what not.

Cessna 172 Skyhawk, Used Cessna 172 Skyhawk, Cessna 172 Skyhawk For Sale Single Engine Airplanes at
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Old 06-02-2009, 02:06 PM   #2  
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Position: B717 FO
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Here is one on Bank of America's repo website that seems in good shape. It may need a test flight though...

Commonwealth Boat Brokers Information Gallery

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Old 06-02-2009, 02:28 PM   #3  
Joined APC: Jun 2008
Posts: 8,331

I'd avoid an aircraft with no logbooks like the plague. Eevn with a drastically reduced price becasue of this, resale will be very difficult. Most people don't want to deal with aircraft with no logbooks.
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Old 06-02-2009, 02:52 PM   #4  
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No logbooks is bad, but skylights in a non-aerobatic airplane? Just how badly do you want to sweat?
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Old 06-02-2009, 03:29 PM   #5  
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Posts: 70

A 172 is a great plane, but some models are better than others.
I would get one with a low time Lycoming without the AD designation.
Don't get too caught-up in the radio package, that area is changing rapidly. Something new today will be obsolete in a few years.
Your personel use will dictate what you should buy. If you plan taking long trips, a 172 will be a 2 place airplane, can't fill the seats and the fuel tanks. With the 180hp conversion you get a gross weight increase that would allow four adults with nearly full tanks, but more$, and reduced range.
BTW I own a 182P, great plane. Fill the tanks, fill the seats and not worry about range. When flying alone throttle back to 60% power, lean to peak egt and get 120kts at 10gph. Thats close to 172 speed and burn with alot of power left when you want it.
Good luck in your seach.
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Old 06-02-2009, 03:33 PM   #6  
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Originally Posted by USN C9B View Post
Here is one on Bank of America's repo website that seems in good shape. It may need a test flight though...

Commonwealth Boat Brokers Information Gallery

I was thinking wow this is a good deal till i saw the no logbooks.

Leave lots of money for operation(for any A/C), i.e. don't spend all your money on a newer model, fancy radios, etc. It's gas that gets you in the air, and a hanger, insurance, repairs, etc.

The 172 is a great A/C, neck and neck with the 182. As 8-Capt states the 182 has advantages but with a 172 you don't have to feel bad just going up by yourself for a day. Just to buzz around.

This caught my eye two days ago.

Last edited by Phil1111; 06-02-2009 at 03:59 PM.
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Old 06-02-2009, 04:30 PM   #7  
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Position: ATP, CFI etc.
Posts: 5,988

If you are on a budget then there are a lot of variables to consider buying a trainer and I think your best bet is to rent one for your first hundred hours. Then you will have an idea what you like what you don't like. You may even wish to get your instrument rating because only then are you able to know what avionics you feel comfortable using. There is a point after that when buying an airplane is not a bad idea especially if you are going to use it only for fun. Also, consider similar trainers made by Piper.

If I were in your shoes and wanted a used C172 for less than say, $70k I think I would get an early 80's C172 with 5-8k airframe hours, no damage history, an engine that was recently overhauled or replaced, with complete logbooks and some sort of gps- nav/comm- glideslope setup that has been replaced in the last ten or 15 years. Good luck finding this airplane but they are out there. This is the right time to be looking as people are cutting back on luxuries and selling things like their airplanes.

If you have the money and really want a good airplane, something you can grow with for many years, why not consider a new one? You could drive a hard bargain right now. A new 172SP would last you for years before you outgrow the power, size and equipment level; then you can trade it in on a Cirrus SR22 Turbo, Corvalis or Beech Baron!
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Old 06-03-2009, 05:01 AM   #8  
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Position: Turbo-props' and John Deere's
Posts: 3,159

Wow, there's a 1978 172N with 415 TTAF in there, that's impressive, and also sad. I'd be worried that because it hadn't been used enough you might have issues in that department!

I'm partial to the 172N because I taught in them for over a year and a half. I really enjoyed having the 40-degree flaps(which in normal circumstances aren't really needed). I had a lot of fun in those planes, and there are plenty of junkers and plenty of nice ones also. There's a guy on the same field that had one with the Pen-Yan Aero 180hp upgrade, Power-Flow exhaust, had the 50gal instead of 40 gal, and that thing would move! Definately was a gem of an airplane.

The only true way to find which ones are good or bad is to actually just go out and see them. Make some connections with a mechanic that when you do decide you are going to get one, have that mechanic do a Pre-Buy. ABSOLUTELY make sure you do a Pre-Buy inspection, and a title-lein search on the aircraft. I can't stress that enough. It's something we do every time we buy/sell/broker an aircraft through my company.
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Old 06-03-2009, 06:13 AM   #9  
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Position: Self-employed, C-150 CA
Posts: 7,105
Default My advise

I would pick one with original paint. Even if it looks bad. New paint can hide a lot of stuff. If you were to buy a plane with old and faded paint it tells you two things. First it has not been in an accident. And second, whoever owned it put more priority on the engine and radio stack.

A lot of stuff can happen to a plane that does not make it into the logbooks. New paint can be a sign of hidden sins. Even if there is no hidden damage some people care more about how a plane looks rather then its mechanical soundness. You can't fake faded origional paint. To me it is a good sign. Also you can use it to negotiate a lower price due to the condition of the old paint.

My plane has old paint and I love it.

Do a pre-buy and have a professional title search (insurance) done. It can be difficult to find airplane liens. You don't want a bank to pop out of the blue demanding money.

Oh yea, I would like to make a plug for the Cessna 150/152. They really are a great plane that can do almost everything that a 172 can do at a third the price. Most of the time pilots fly alone or with one other person anyway.

Fuel is not cheap. It is easy to get into a big plane right now that would break the bank every time you want to do touch and goes. Parts are easy to find. Insurance is way cheaper. You can get an autogas STC.

Why not start out with a 150 and move up later? Cheap, safe, fun, guilt free flying.

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Old 06-03-2009, 07:16 AM   #10  
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Posts: 231

Buy an Ercoupe! 6 gallons per hour, lands in about 200 feet. Wont get you anywhere fast, but if your job is to fly fast, why not go slow in your spare time? Cheaper than driving
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