Aircraft Buyers Guide

Don't purchase a Cessna 172
without reading this unbiased,
up-to-date 2006 report!

Without knowledge of specific problem areas, even experienced Skyhawk pilots can get themselves into serious trouble by missing critically important issues during their pre-purchase analysis and evaluation. Purchasing a Cessna 172 without knowing these little known gotcha's can cost you huge in ongoing maintenance expenses and/or could require a major investment in repairs or safety modifications.

Fortunately, you don't need to make an uneducated purchase! I've made it easy. You can get all the facts today in this powerful report.

Although the Cessna Skyhawk is a docile, economical and practical plane, as with any production airplane, it had its growing pains too. Between a number of changes made throughout the years, some major glitches cropped up along the way. That, and with the predictable problems related to aging, a smart shopper will become well informed with all of the comfort, performance, safety and maintenance issues surrounding this airplane. These issues will directly affect the value, utility and re-salability of your investment.

For example;

There is one model of Skyhawk that you don't want to even consider without knowing exactly what to look for in the candidate aircraft. If you buy one without recognizing the tell-tell signs of lurking disaster, you could easily be inheriting a totally trashed engine or worse yet, an engine that, although operating at 100% today, could without notice, suddenly experience a SUDDEN AND TOTAL FAILURE.

It would be an expensive mistake to make such a purchase, for sure. But more importantly, you'd be needlessly endangering yours and your passengers' lives.

My guess is that you already appreciate all the great Skyhawk features. That's why you're considering buying one. But, you'll want to be sure to read the chapter called "Bright Spots and Blight Spots". In it, I cover some of the many reasons why you would love to own this airplane.

But then, I balance the Skyhawk's assets against a comprehensive look at some of the problem areas and what you need to do to protect yourself and your pocketbook from some of the nasty surprises awaiting the uninformed.

For instance;

In a search for more speed, many Skyhawks and Skyhawk derivatives can be purchased with speed mods and/or higher horsepower engine/prop combinations. Do they work? Does putting even a 195 horsepower Continental into the Skyhawk (when Cessna did it, they called the result the "Hawk") pay any dividends? Will it deliver sufficient speed enhancements to warrant the additional operating costs, fuel burn and overhaul costs (which is substantial!) over the standard 160 horsepower Skyhawk?

The answers will surprise you!

I'm a 30+ year flyer, engineer and passionate aviator, researcher and aeronautical buff who's owned and operated a number of Cessna aircraft including several Skyhawks.

In the approximately 1500 hours of operation of 172s, years of study and untold hours of discussion with some of the finest aircraft mechanics in the country, I've come to realize that buying and owning a Skyhawk is not a mission for the unprepared, the untrained or uneducated buyer.

In the over 40 years that Cessna has been producing these aircraft (not including 1987-1996 when Cessna's Skyhawk production ceased), there were significant changes made in the design, performance and mission capability of the 172. For instance, you could be regretfully mistaken if you think that buying the latest model 172 that you can afford will provide you;
  • the best aircraft for your use profile or
  • even that it will buy you a plane that you won't later regret having purchased at ANY price, no matter how "cheap".
The year-to-year "improvements" were sometimes not improvements at all.

Many of Cessna's year-to-year changes actually decreased aerodynamic performance and safety over previous years. For the unwary pilot, unequipped with the information in this report, buying and owning one of these aircraft could be an experience full of disappointments.

If you don't know which year and model of aircraft to avoid and what specific problems to be looking for, then you're just tossing the dice. There are some gotcha's with Skyhawks. And you cannot imagine how costly some of the problems could be (and once you own the plane, guess whose wallet will get drained?).

Thankfully, you don't have to be one of those "roll the dice" pilots.

In my powerful and exhaustive book...

The Smart Pilot's Expedited Approach

A Complete & Easy Buyer's Guide For Cessna 172s,

I cover all of the excitement of owning one of these wonderful birds (literally the world's best selling single engine aircraft ever), while revealing all of the gotcha's that you, as an owner, want to avoid. It's done in easy-to-read, short and concise paragraphs with lots of pictures and visual aids to communicate the things that are really important to know.

For a glimpse of some of the 172s finer points, here's a sample of what I cover;

  • Exciting? Well... Probably No. Reliable and Practical? Absolutely!
  • Mild Mannered In the Air & On the Ground
  • Safety Is Its Strong Suit
  • Tons of After-Market Modifications
  • Maintenance on the Cheap
  • Flying the Skyhawk - What a Wonderful Feeling
  • Magically Releasing the Hidden Horses

However, this wasn't written just to compliment. It's intended to be an unbiased report that will help equip and prepare you when looking for a reliable, safe, and low maintenance Cessna Skyhawk to buy and own.

And so, the part that will save you a bundle is where I reveal all of the little known quirks that you want to avoid (or if you can't or choose not to avoid them, at least you'll be "going in with eyes wide open");

  • If You're Looking For A Flying Porsche Or Corvette, This Ain't It
  • How to Avoid Getting Raked on Your Maintenance Bills
  • Royalite - Cessna's "Better Idea" Gone Bad
  • Cessna/ARC Radios And What To Do When They Inevitably Break
  • The Notorius 'H' Suffix Lycomings - Can You Trust Them?
  • Other Nuisances & How To Get The Upper Hand
  • A Huge Blemish In An Otherwise Enviable Track Record

When it comes time to go shopping, wouldn't you want to know SPECIFICALLY what to look for? The devil's always in the details! That's why I wrote the chapter entitled "Problem Areas to Look for When Shopping". Even your pre-purchase mechanic may not know about some of these gremlins;

  • Learn How to Dodge a Bullet and Avoid Cracked Stabilizer Spars
  • Avoid Inheriting a 100 Hour Repetitive AD That Will Cost You a Bundle
  • Valve Sticking & Breaking Can Ruin Your Day, Particularly In These Specific Models of Skyhawks. Learn How To Keep These Valves Living a Long & Healthy Life
  • Metal Particles Frequently Run Rampant In This Particular Engine. How to Find Them Before They Trash Your Engine and Your Pocketbook

If you're already the proud owner of a Cessna 172, you'll especially benefit by reading the chapter on "Operating Hints That Will Deliver More Value and Performance for Less";

  • How To Keep This Notorious Mechanical Disaster from Biting You
  • Cessna/ARC Radios - The Final Solution
  • How Manhandling On The Ground Jeopardizes Your Safety In The Air
  • Nose Wheel Shimmy Tricks
  • A Brilliant Fix for Collapsing Nose Struts
  • Valve Care That Will Save Your Bacon

And you'll also enjoy the chapter on "After-Market Modifications That Increase Utility, Safety and Performance".

Not sure yet if the Skyhawk is the right bird for you? Then you'll want to review & compare other planes with similar flight profiles. I've given you a head start in the snapshot overview in "Stacking Up Against the Competition";

  • Competing with the Skyhawk's planned "successor". (Can You Guess Which Airplane It Was?)
  • From the Conventional to the Non-Conventional - the Grumman
  • Piper in the Balance


a year-by-year detail of all of the important improvements that Cessna made to this airplane in all of its renditions: the 172, the Skyhawk, and the Skyhawk II. I've also given you all the detailed charts with the performance specs for each year and model of aircraft available.

As a bonus, I discuss the many variants of the Cessna Skyhawk including the Skylark, the Hawk, the Cutlass, and the Cardinal (as an additional bonus, performance charts are provided for the 172RG and the Hawk).

Just for fun, ever hear about the "Powermatic" Skyhawk? (it had a fleeting production life of one year only). You'll learn things about the Skyhawk that even your friends who own Skyhawks don't know.

You'll find discussions about the fixed and retractable versions of the 172 from other Cessna owners and pilots. And of course, ,you'll have my own opinions based on approximately 1500 hours flying time in a Skyhawk including some of my float flying experiences.

This 100+ page buyer's guide is being made available to you today in a downloadable letter-sized, 65 page format that you can have within seconds instead of weeks and for a lot less money than it would otherwise cost.

For just $19.95 total (no shipping and handling charges), you can own the whole 65 page e-book "The Smart Pilot's Expedited Approach - A Complete & Easy Buyers' Guide For Cessna 172s" and have it downloaded into your PC's hard drive within seconds. It's delivered in pdf format, so you can read it on your PC screen or print it out for a permanent addition to your aviation library.

(if you don't have PDF installed on your PC, after you've made your purchase you can get a free copy of Adobe PDF Reader from the download page)


If every potential owner were to review an aircraft in detail, as this book does, they would have a greater understanding of what they need and/or want of their new aircraft. . . I recommend this book as part of the evaluation of their aircraft purchase.

Allen C. Trump, A&P Mechanic & C-172 owner

Hi lee,

. . . enjoyed info (in Cessna 172 Buyers Guide) very much. Thank you again for your help.

Regards, William

Thank you Lee! . . . Thanks for the prompt reply and apologies for the hassle.

Great work by the way! I love it. Thanks!

Cary McCormick

You might be able to buy the "perfect" Cessna Skyhawk without any of the indepth insight and advice offered in "The Smart Pilot's Expedited Approach - A Complete & Easy Buyers' Guide For Cessna 172s". But then again, you might not. Why take the chance?

Here's to being a confident, educated and satisfied owner.

Happy flying!

Lee Parker
Lee Parker

P.S. I absolutely love my 172. And I've purchased more than one of them over the years, so I guess that speaks for itself (I certainly wouldn't have been a repeat buyer if I wasn't happy with my overall experience the first time).

But I've learned a lot over the years and my experience will expertly guide you as well as save you a whole lot of "pocket change". You will learn valuable hints that will keep you and your passengers safe, comfortable and happy.

My advice? Well... there's 65 pages of it. If I were you (if I knew then what I know now), I wouldn't even think about buying a Cessna 172 without first buying "The Smart Pilot's Expedited Approach - A Complete & Easy Buyers' Guide For Cessna 172s".

I guarantee you'll save a bundle of money, headache and worry when it comes time for you to actually shop for and purchase your Cessna 172.

Order your copy today!

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