The Cessna 172R Skyhawk is possibly the most important light aircraft to enter production in the 1990s as it is the modern day development of the most popular GA aircraft in history.
Recession and crippling product liability laws in the USA forced Cessna to stop production of light aircraft, including the 172, altogether in 1985. It was not until the signing of the General Aviation Revitalisation Act by the US President in August 1994 that Cessna announced it would resume light aircraft production.
The new 172R Skyhawk is based on the 172N (the previous major Skyhawk production model), but features a fuel injected Textron Lycoming IO-360-L2A engine. Cessna says it is significantly quieter than the O-320 it replaced as it produces its max power at only 2400rpm.
Other changes include a new interior with contoured front seats which adjust vertically and recline, an all new multi level ventilation system, standard four point intercom, interior soundproofing, and energy absorbing 26g seats with inertia reel harnesses.
The 172R features epoxy corrosion proofing, stainless steel control cables, a dual vacuum pump system, tinted windows, long range fuel tanks, backlit instruments with non glare glass and an annunciator panel. 172R options include two avionics packages (one with GPS, the other with IFR GPS and a single axis autopilot) and wheel fairings.
An engineering prototype 172R (a converted 1978 172N) powered by an IO-360 first flew in April 1995, while the first new build pilot production 172R first flew on April 16 1996. This aircraft was built at Wichita, while production 172Rs are built at an all new factory in Independence, Kansas.
The higher performance 172S Skyhawk SP is pitched at `owner-users'. Delivered from July 1998 it features a IO-360-L2A (as on the 172R) but rated at 135kW (180hp) by increasing rpm. It also features a 45kg (100lb) increase in useful payload, a new prop and standard leather
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