How Fast Does A Cessna 172 Fly?

A Cessna 172, or the Cessna 172 Skyhawk to give it its full name, is one of the most popular light aircraft around, and you may be interested in flying one.

How Fast Does A Cessna 172 Fly

It is the most produced aircraft in aviation history and is so straightforward to fly. This makes it an ideal choice for trainee pilots and simply someone who loves to fly.

While you may be put off by the top speed of a commercial aircraft or a private jet, it may be worth knowing how fast does a Cessna 172 fly.

In this guide, we will look at the top speed of a Cessna 172 Skyhawk, why the aircraft is so popular, and how it compares to other Cessnas and commercial aircraft. 

What Is The Top Speed Of A Cessna 172 Skyhawk?

The Cessna 172 Skyhawk can reach a top speed of 188 mph (303 kmh). This may not seem very fast when compared to the top speeds of several other Cessnas, and especially not when compared to commercial airplanes.

The Cessna 172 Skyhawk is one of the most popular personal airplanes, and it is worth comparing to other Cessnas as it can fly faster than a Cessna 150 which has a top speed of 124 mph (200 kmh), a Cessna 152 which can reach 127 mph (204 kmh), and a Cessna 162 Skycatcher at 135 mph (217 kmh).

That top speed of 188 mph also exceeds that of a Cessna 206 Stationair which can only reach 174 mph (280 kmh) and a Cessna 182 Skylane at only 168 mph (270 kmh). 

There are faster Cessna airplanes available that are worth considering when you think about the top speed of the Cessna 172 Skyhawk.

These include the Cessna 208 Caravan which can hit 213 mph (344 kmh), the Cessna 340 at a top speed of 281 mph (452 kmh), the Cessna 425 Conquest I (309 mph or 497 kmh), and the Cessna Citation X (717mph or 1154 kmh)

Why The Cessna 172 Skyhawk Is So Popular

There are certain reasons why the Cessna 172 Skyhawk is so well-recognized.

It was first designed in the mid-Fifties and has since become one of the most produced aircraft ever with over 44,000 of them being built and flown around the world.

It is for that reason alone that a lot of trainee pilots qualify on a Cessna 172 Skyhawk and still fly them. This is a particularly easy aircraft to fly, especially compared to commercial aircraft. 

It was first flown in 1955 and remains an American single-engine, high and fixed-wing, four-seater aircraft. The Cessna 172 Skyhawk is perhaps well-considered for the world record for a refueled flight endurance feat.

This was when one was flown between December 4th, 1958, and February 7th, 1959 by Robert Timm and John Cook.

The plane took off and landed at McCarran Airfield in Las Vegas and the flight covered an estimated 150,000 miles, which is over six times the distance if you were to fly around the world at the equator. 

The Cessna 172 Skyhawk has a simple build with easy-to-understand systems and procedures which makes it ideal for training on.

You can also call it an obedient plane that will largely do what it is supposed to do which makes it so practical.

Safety is also a key factor as it can be considered twice as safe as many private aircraft. This is largely due to its innate ability to make impromptu landings and its relatively slow landing speed. 

With a modern Cessna 172 Skyhawk, you can expect to enjoy a 696 nautical mile range. That comes with the standard 45 minutes of reserve running on 55% of its power at 12,000 feet.

At a ground distance, this equates to 1,289 km which is still a sizable distance. While its top speed is 188 mph (303 kmh), the Cessna 172 Skyhawk has a cruising speed of 122 knots which is 140 mph (226 kmh). 

The Fastest Cessna Airplane

How Fast Does A Cessna 172 Fly

As a private business jet to suit the needs of the wealthiest business owners, the Cessna Citation X can seat 12 passengers and two crew members.

Few private jets can make the speed and luxury of this Cessna airplane, and it typically comes with a $23m price tag. The Citation X’s top speed was certified by the Federal Aviation Administration as 717 mph (1154 kmh) which is Mach 0.935.

This is the fastest civilian aircraft on the planet and, as well as flying at 93.5% the speed of sound, it is the fastest Cessna airplane available and a lot faster than a Cessna 172 Skyhawk. 

How To Compare The Speed Of A Cessna 172 To A Commercial Airplane

Once you learn that a Cessna 172 airplane can only reach a top speed of 188 mph (303 kmh) and the range of most Cessna airplanes can hit a top speed of between 127 and 309 mph (204 kmh and 497 kmh), you may wonder how that compares to the speed of a commercial airplane.

It is worth putting this into perspective as it gives you some idea of why Cessnas are relatively popular for short distances compared to a commercial airplane. 

Boeing tends to produce most commercial airplanes and their top speeds tend to be in the same range of top speeds.

For instance, a Boeing 777 has a top speed of 644 mph (1036 kmh), the Boeing 787 can hit 652 mph (1049 kmh) and the Boeing 747-400 can go even faster at 656 mph (1055 kmh).

There is also the Airbus A320 which is a popular commercial airline and can reach a top speed of 629 mph (1012 kmh). It is worth noting that these speeds make them ideal for cross-country transport.  

When comparing those top speeds to a Cessna, only the Citation X can go faster at 717 mph (1154 kmh).

These commercial airlines do go around four to five times faster than a lot of Cessnas and that is factored into the price of a flight ticket. 

Final Thoughts

The top speed of a Cessna 172 Skyhawk is 188 mph (303 kmh) which compares well amongst most Cessnas.

It should also be noted that it has an excellent safety record and is relatively easy to fly which makes it great for a trainee pilot.

If you were considering becoming a pilot then there are few better airplanes to learn how to fly than a Cessna 172 Skyhawk.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Type Of Fuel Does A Cessna 172 Skyhawk Use?

To power its piston engine, the Cessna 172 Skyhawk uses AvGas.

Is The Cessna 172 Skyhawk Safe To Fly?

When you compare the safety record of a Cessna 172 Skyhawk to other private aircraft then you should find that it is over twice as safe.

This is largely down to its ability to make impromptu landings which are essential if the airplane comes into difficulty. It also has a slow landing speed, so it can be relatively easy to land. 

Jacob Stern
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