August 9, 2004

Upgrading to the Cessna 172

Tonight I took my first flight in the Cessna 172. The 172 is a four passenger plane compared to the two person Cessna 152 that I trained in. An additional bonus to the 172 is the increased power, providing for better climb and cruise speeds.

Although I knew all that before the flight, I had no idea how obvious the extra power would be. I expected the extra power would evenly counter the extra weight of the plane and that it would perform somewhat similarly to the 152. I was wrong. The plane powered down the runway and into the air. I was at traffic pattern altitude much quicker than I expected. We immediatly left the pattern to go out to the practice area so I could get comfortable with the plane. We did some stalls and tight turns and after a few minutes I began to feel a little more in touch with the plane. But I was still having troubles keeping it in steady flight as it wanted to climb. I guess that is not all bad.

After flying for about a half hour, we returned to the field to practice landings. Here I noticed the biggest difference. The Cessna has three flap settings of 10°, 20° and 30°. The 172 has variable flaps that can be set at any degree between 0° and 40° and the gauge is not very accurate so you have to watch as the flaps retract and guesstimate when they are in the right location. That took some getting used too. The 172 handles at about 5 knots faster in the pattern than the 152 and the difference in speed was difficult to get used to. The other difference was this plane is much heavier during the flare to land. As I reduced power prior to touching down, I needed to apply a lot of back pressure on the yoke and even then came down in a less than soft manner.

My instructor and I plan on taking one more flight in the 172 before I will plan on renting it on my own. I think I will feel more confident in it with a few more landings under my belt. Although challenging, the 172 was a joy to fly.

Posted by at August 9, 2004 10:02 PM

Hi Todd,

Wow, sounds like a good thing to have a check ride. Are there any other planes in this class? Do you think transferring to other planes will get easier, or will each new plane need a couple of practice rides with your instructor? Finally, are instructors only certified in certain planes? Or when you decide to buy your Cessna 210N Centurion (, are you going to have to find a new instructor?

Just curious,

Posted by: Similate at August 10, 2004 12:05 AM


We'll all pitch in if you give us rides. :)

Posted by: Aaron at August 10, 2004 1:13 AM

Similate - With my license I can fly single engine planes meant for land (no float planes) but with each different make of plane I will need to be checked out by the rental company. In fact if I go to another rental location they would even check me out in the 152 before letting me rent it.

I think each time I change planes I will likely take a flight or two with someone trained in that plane. There are just a lot of little differences like where the gauges and instrument are located in addition to flight differences.

The Centurion is a great choice if you guys want to pay for it 8-). Another fun site for planes is

Posted by: Todd at August 10, 2004 10:15 PM

I noticed the same thing. The 172 climbs to pattern altitude really fast! I also had to work on slowing the plane down in the pattern. Overall it's quite a comfortable plane to fly.

Posted by: Richard Caetano at August 12, 2004 2:16 AM

Richard - I completely agree I found myself continuously pulling the power back to maintain an altitude. Whereas in the 152 I almost always flew with a high power setting. I think I will really enjoy the 172.

Posted by: Todd at August 12, 2004 9:35 AM