The Cessna 172 Skyhawk is among the most popular and iconic airplanes for aspiring pilots and seasoned aviators alike.
Understanding its cost both in purchasing and maintaining the aircraft is crucial for those thinking about buying one.
In 2023, a brand new Cessna 172 Skyhawk carries a price tag of around $432,000.
However, for those looking to purchase a second-hand model, prices can run anywhere from $50,000 to $250,000, depending on the age and condition of the aircraft. It’s worth noting that the total cost of ownership goes beyond just the initial purchase price, as expenses like insurance, maintenance, and hangar fees can add up to over $12,000 annually.
Before making such a significant investment, it’s essential to have a clear understanding of not only the upfront cost but also the ongoing expenses involved in owning a Cessna 172 Skyhawk.
Whether it’s for personal use or commercial ventures, being well-informed about the aircraft’s financial implications makes it easier to plan, budget, and enjoy the thrill of aviation.
Cessna 172 Skyhawk: A Brief Overview
When it comes to light general aviation aircraft, the Cessna 172 Skyhawk stands out as an iconic and versatile airplane. Since its inception in 1956, the Cessna 172 has earned a reputation for being a reliable and easy-to-fly aircraft. In this brief overview, I will discuss some of the key features and history of the Cessna 172 Skyhawk.
The Cessna 172 Skyhawk is a single-engine, four-seat aircraft, featuring a high-wing design and tricycle landing gear. It’s powered by a Lycoming piston engine, which provides the airplane with a cruise speed of around 124 knots and a range of approximately 640 nautical miles. These capabilities make the Cessna 172 an excellent choice for training, recreational flying, and even some light business travel.
Over the years, the Cessna 172 has undergone various updates and improvements. Despite these changes, the overall design and principles have remained consistent, making the Skyhawk a familiar and enduring presence in the world of aviation.
In fact, with more than 44,000 units built, the Cessna 172 Skyhawk holds the record for being the most-produced aircraft in history.
Factors Affecting the Cost of a Cessna 172
Stages of Aircraft Ownership
When looking at the Cessna 172 price, I break it down into three stages: acquisition, operation, and maintenance. The acquisition cost is the initial price paid for the plane, either new or used. The operation and maintenance costs include expenses such as fuel, insurance, hangar fees, and necessary repairs or updates.
New vs Used
There’s a notable difference between the cost of a new and used Cessna 172 Skyhawk. A used model with high flight hours can be as low as $30,000 to $50,000, while a new one can cost over $400,000.
It’s essential to weigh the pros and cons of buying new or used, as a more affordable used model may come with higher maintenance costs, while a new model may have increased insurance rates and depreciation.
Price vs. Operational and Ownership Costs
In addition to the acquisition cost, you need to consider the ongoing operational and ownership costs associated with owning a Cessna 172 Skyhawk.
For example, fixed costs can range from $1,000 to $5,000 per year for insurance, hangar fees, and regular maintenance. On top of fixed costs, variable costs such as fuel and engine overhauls can cost roughly $50 to $60 per hour of flight time.
Here’s a summary of the annual fixed costs:
- Insurance: $1,000 – $3,600 (depending on coverage and plane age)
- Hangar fees: Variable based on location
- Regular maintenance: Costs will change depending on the airplane’s condition and usage
Cessna 172 Purchase Price
As said above, in 2023, a brand new Cessna 172 price is over $430,000. This price can fluctuate based on various factors such as additional features or customization. It’s important to keep in mind that this initial purchase price isn’t the only cost associated with owning a Skyhawk.
If you’re considering purchasing a used Cessna 172 Skyhawk, the market offers a wide range of options with varying prices. Used Skyhawks can cost anywhere between $50,000 and $250,000, depending on factors like the age of the aircraft, its condition, and its maintenance history.
In fact, I found some used Cessna 172 listings on Controller.com, such as:
- 1981 Cessna 172N Skyhawk: USD $170,000
- 1978 Cessna 172 Skyhawk: USD $95,000
It’s important to remember, though, that the cost of a used Cessna 172 can change over time due to market conditions and availability. In 2020-2022 aircraft prices overall climbed significantly, including the prices of used aircraft.
To find the best deal for your needs, you’d have to research extensively and compare various listings before settling on a specific aircraft.
When it comes to the total cost of ownership for a used Cessna 172, factors such as insurance, maintenance, hangar fees, and fuel costs should also be considered. These costs can vary greatly, but annual fixed expenses like insurance, hangar fees, and regular maintenance typically total $1,000 to $5,000. Additionally, variable costs like fuel and engine overhauls can amount to $50 to $60 per hour of flight time.
Whether you choose to purchase a new or used Cessna 172 Skyhawk, being well-informed about both the aircraft’s initial price and its ongoing costs is essential for making the right decision for your needs.
The fuel efficiency of the Cessna 172 Skyhawk is quite decent for an aircraft of its class. On average, it consumes around 8 to 10 gallons of fuel per hour, with a fuel burn rate of 50 to 60 dollars per flight hour, depending on the cost of aviation fuel in your area.
Maintenance and Overhauls
Maintenance costs include oil changes, inspections, and parts replacements as needed.
As for overhauls, the cost can vary depending on the extent of the work required. For engine overhauls, I allocate a portion of the 50 to 60 dollars per flight hour cost in preparation for this expense. It’s important to budget for overhauls since engines have a specific operational lifespan before needing major work or replacement.
As an aircraft owner, you need to consider insurance costs as part of the overall operational expenses. For a Cessna 172, the annual insurance premium can vary, but on average, expect to spend around $800 to $2,000 dollars per year, depending on factors such as pilot experience, aircraft age, and coverage requirements.
Hangar Fees and Storage
Finally, you need to think about where you’ll store your Cessna 172 when it’s not in use. Hangar fees and storage costs depend on the location and facility quality, but they typically range between $500 to $1,500 dollars per month.
In some cases, it may be possible to find more affordable options, but it’s crucial to ensure that the aircraft is stored in a secure and protected environment.
You’ll want to look into hangar options before purchasing your aircraft. Many airports have waitlists for available hangars.
Performance and Handling
As a pilot, I appreciate the Cessna 172 Skyhawk for its performance and handling capabilities. This aircraft is known for its reliability and ease of use, making it a popular choice among pilots.
Speed and Range
The Cessna 172 Skyhawk has a best cruise speed of around 115 to 119 KIAS, making it suitable for both short and long flights. Its range is quite impressive, with the aircraft capable of covering distances up to 435 nautical miles without refueling, depending on the specific model.
This makes the Cessna 172 Skyhawk an ideal choice for pilots who need a versatile aircraft fit for various types of missions.
Load Capacity and Passengers
The Cessna 172 Skyhawk is designed to carry up to 3 passengers plus 1 pilot. The cabin is comfortable and spacious enough to accommodate everyone on board however, dependiing on the weight of everyone, you may not be able to carry four adults. Large windows provide excellent visibility, allowing passengers to enjoy the views during the flight.
- Passengers: 3 + 1 (pilot)
- Spacious cabin
- Large windows for better visibility
The aircraft systems in the Cessna 172 Skyhawk are user-friendly and designed to simplify the flying experience for pilots. With a 150 horsepower engine, the aircraft has enough power to operate safely and efficiently.
The Cessna 172 Skyhawk boasts reliable aircraft systems that contribute to its overall excellent performance and handling capabilities. As a pilot, I appreciate the aircraft’s balance of power, efficiency, and ease of use.
Upgrades and Customization
Avionics and Technology
One upgrade you may consider for your Cessna 172 Skyhawk is improving the avionics and technology on board. Modern avionics, such as Garmin systems, can significantly enhance your flying experience and increase safety. Upgrading to a glass cockpit or adding advanced navigation equipment may be a worthy investment.
When it comes to avionics upgrades, ensure that the maintenance schedule is followed strictly. This helps guarantee that your upgraded systems remain in top condition and comply with regulatory requirements.
Interior and Exterior
Customizing the interior and exterior of your Cessna 172 can bring a personal touch to the aircraft and improve its overall aesthetics. For the interior, you may opt for new upholstery. The exterior, on the other hand, can receive upgrades such as a custom paint job or adding your own unique markings.
Furthermore, upgrading the engine can significantly impact my Cessna’s performance. A common choice is to install a more powerful Lycoming engine, which can increase horsepower and potentially improve fuel efficiency. However, it’s important to keep in mind that engine upgrades may require additional maintenance and consideration of factors such as compression and airframe compatibility.
Financing and Ownership
When looking to purchase a Cessna 172 Skyhawk, you have several loan options to consider. Financial institutions and aviation lenders provide loan options with various terms, interest rates, down payments, and loan amounts. To get a better idea of monthly payments, you can use the AOPA aircraft loan calculator. This tool allows you to estimate the monthly payments for different loan scenarios and can help you make an informed decision about financing.
Finding a Cessna 172 for Sale
Websites and Resources
As a prospective buyer, there are several websites to find Cessna 172 airplanes for sale.
One of the best resources is Controller.com. They have a wide range of Cessna 172 models listed for sale, such as 1980 Cessna 172N Skyhawk for USD $139,900.
Another helpful site is Trade-A-Plane, where I stumbled upon a 1973 Cessna 172M Skyhawk priced at $89,950.
Hangar67 is yet another platform that features a variety of Cessna 172 models, such as a 2020 Cessna 172SP Skyhawk for $479,900.
Inspection and Finalizing Purchase
Once you’ve identified the Cessna 172 that interests you, make sure to follow a rigorous inspection process. I’m not talking about a simple 172 pre-flight inspection. This needs to be an in depth pre-buy inspection performed by an A&P. It’s crucial to carefully inspect the aircraft’s exterior, ensuring there’s no damage or corrosion.
Next, check the airplane’s logs and maintenance records to review its service history. This way, you can accurately assess the aircraft’s overall condition and remaining life of major components like the engine.
A fundamental aspect to consider when purchasing a Cessna 172 is the engine type. Both the 172R and the 172S models feature the IO-360-L2A engine, known for its reliability and performance. It’s essential to check engine hours and time since the last overhaul to understand the engine’s current status.
Engaging a knowledgeable mechanic or an aircraft appraiser can be invaluable during the inspection and purchasing process. Their expertise can help identify potential issues and assist in making an informed decision when buying a Cessna 172.
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Brian is an experienced digital marketer who joined Thrust Flight in 2022 as the Chief Marketing Officer. He discovered a passion for aviation at 10 when he went for his first flight in a Piper Cherokee and enjoys helping others discover a career path as a professional pilot. He is an experienced marketing consultant helping brands with a variety of marketing initiatives. Brian received a bachelor’s degree in Communications from Brigham Young University.
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