The Cessna 172 Skyhawk is among the most popular and iconic airplanes for aspiring pilots and seasoned aviators alike.
Since you’re thinking about purchasing one let’s go through the overall cost of the airplane as well as the maintenance and other expenses you may not be thinking of.
Cessna 172 Purchase Options
New Cessna 172
A new Cessna 172 runs around $400,000 to purchase. However, with a new aircraft, you’ll have the advantage of the latest technology and a full warranty. Remember this price is really just a guideline. How much you actually spend will vary based on how you configure the aircraft.
Used Cessna 172
The cost of a used Cessna 172 ranges wildly. From $40,000 for an older model with high flight time to late models that are gently used for $300,000.
The condition of a used aircraft will vary greatly depending on factors like age, maintenance history, and engine hours. Be sure to inspect the aircraft thoroughly and review its maintenance records.
Remember, when choosing between a new or used Cessna 172, it’s essential to weigh the pros and cons of each purchase option and consider your personal preferences, as well as your budget.
Cessna 172 Cost Breakdown
Owning a Cessna 172 comes with several fixed costs that you will need to budget for. These include:
- Insurance: The annual insurance cost for a Cessna 172 is between $100 and $1,000, depending on the coverage needed and the plane’s age.
- Hangar Fees: Depending on your location and the hangar facilities, fees can vary widely. Make sure to research and factor this into your budget.
- Annual Maintenance: During the annual inspection, a certified mechanic will thoroughly examine your aircraft. The inspection fee is a fixed cost, averaging around $1,700.
Total fixed costs can range from $800 to $5,000 per year.
In addition to the fixed costs, operating a Cessna 172 also involves variable costs that depend on your flying habits and usage. They include:
- Fuel: A Cessna 172 burns about 7-9 gallons per hour, with Avgas typically costing around $6 per gallon. Hence, your hourly fuel costs may range between $42 and $54 per hour of flight time.
- Engine Overhauls: They are not an annual expense but will be required over time, based on your usage. Be prepared to budget for it.
Overall, the variable operational costs of a Cessna 172 average between $100 to $200 per hour. Remember, these costs might vary depending on your specific situation and location.
We’ve gone over the highlights on operating expenses but now let’s dig into each a bit more to give you a better picture of exactly how much you’re going to spend operating your new 172.
The Cessna 172 burns about 7-9 gallons per hour, and with Avgas typically costing around $6 per gallon, your hourly fuel costs can range between $42 and $54 per hour.
Ensuring you have accurate information about fuel consumption and local fuel prices will help you manage your fuel costs more effectively. You can also look around at local airports to figure out who has the best deal on fuel.
Maintenance and Repairs
Regular maintenance and repairs are crucial to keep your Cessna 172 safe and in optimal flying condition.
Maintenance costs can vary widely depending on the age and condition of the airplane, but expect to spend roughly $50 to $60 per hour of flight time. This includes items such as oil changes, engine overhauls, and general upkeep.
Pre-emptive maintenance can help prevent more costly repairs down the road. This is why it’s so important to always perform your 172 preflight checklist to spot any potential issues.
Storage and Hangar Fees
Storing your aircraft properly when not in use is essential to prevent damage from the elements.
Hangar fees depend on the location and available facilities, but they typically range between $1,000 and $5,000 per year. Storage costs can also include the cost of covers, chocks, and other necessary equipment.
Before you purchase your aircraft you’ll want to secure a hangar. Many airports don’t have any hangar space available so you’ll have to join a waitlist to get a spot.
Owning a Cessna 172 means taking on the responsibility of keeping it insured.
Insurance premiums vary depending on factors like the age of the aircraft, your experience level, and your claims history.
On average, expect to pay between $800 and $5,000 per year for insurance. It’s essential to find an insurance provider that understands your needs and offers comprehensive coverage at a reasonable price.
Landing and Other Fees
Landing fees and other associated costs depend on the airports you frequent and local regulations. While some airports might offer free or low-cost landings for general aviation aircraft, others may charge more substantial fees.
In addition to landing fees, you might encounter costs for flight plans, navigation aids, and air traffic control services.
Being aware of these costs and planning your flights accordingly can help reduce your overall expenses.
Performance and Features
Engine and Propulsion
The Cessna 172 Skyhawk is powered by a reliable Lycoming engine, which is known for its durability and performance. The engine provides ample power for takeoff and cruising, as well as a consistent performance throughout your flight.
This makes the Cessna 172 a dependable choice for both experienced and beginner pilots.
Avionics and Equipment
A new Skyhawk comes equipped with modern Garmin avionics to provide you with advanced navigation and communication tools.
The state-of-the-art Garmin G1000 is a standard feature on many Cessna 172 models, offering the pilot an easy-to-use and comprehensive avionics package. The G1000 includes two LCD displays for primary flight information and multifunction data, as well as GPS, VOR, ILS, and autopilot capabilities.
If you purchase an older model 172 you can pay to have the avionics upgraded to the G1000.
Capacity and Design
The Cessna 172’s cabin is designed with both comfort and functionality in mind. With seating for up to four people, including pilot and passengers, the aircraft provides enough space for your personal and business needs.
The cabin boasts ample headroom and legroom, ensuring a comfortable experience during your flight.
In comparison to the smaller Cessna 150, the Cessna 172 Skyhawk offers a more spacious interior and a larger payload capacity, making it a more versatile choice.
The aircraft’s high wing design enhances visibility and stability during flight, contributing to its excellent safety record.
Before you purchase your Cessna 172 you should at least hold a Private Pilot Certificate, though I recommend you also get your instrument rating.
Once you have your license, flying a Cessna 172 is relatively manageable due to its docile handling characteristics and forgiving flight envelope. You can gain additional confidence in your abilities by attending specialized training programs and engaging with other Cessna 172 enthusiasts on forums or websites.
Maintenance and Inspections
Maintaining your Cessna 172 involves regular upkeep tasks such as oil changes, ensuring well-functioning mechanical systems, and compliance with mandatory inspections.
There are two primary types of inspections:
- Annual Inspection: An in-depth annual inspection is mandatory for all general aviation aircraft, including the Cessna 172. This procedure involves a thorough examination of the airframe, engine, and avionics to ensure all systems are functioning correctly and safely.
- 100-hour Inspection: If you use your Cessna 172 for hire or flight instruction, you must also undergo a 100-hour inspection, addressing similar components as the annual inspection.
Value and Resale Market
The Cessna 172 is a popular airplane model with a strong resale market.
Its enduring appeal over the years brings stability to its value and attracts a wide range of potential buyers. To maintain your aircraft’s value, it’s crucial to take care of its appearance and mechanical systems.
Regular cleaning, proper storage in a hangar, and timely maintenance not only safeguard your investment but also contribute to the Cessna 172’s reputation as a reliable and easy-to-manage aircraft.
Ultimately, your ownership experience rests on your commitment to staying up-to-date with pilot requirements, managing maintenance and inspection requirements, and preserving the value and market appeal of your Cessna 172. By doing so, you ensure a rewarding and fulfilling journey as a proud Cessna owner.
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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.