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C172 Still In Production After 60 Years.

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C172 Still In Production After 60 Years.

Old 9th Mar 2017, 01:00
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C172 Still In Production After 60 Years.

Just came across this on the net.

60 years and still going strong. Quite an achievement.

Shame they are getting a bit pricey to own and fly in Aus.

BBC - Future - The plane so good it?s still in production after 60 years
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Old 9th Mar 2017, 01:24
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Still in production after 60 Years

So is the mighty Lockheed C130 Hercules which first flew on 23 August 1954, deliveries to the USAF began in 1956 and to the RAAF in 1958. A true "Legend of the Sky".
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Old 9th Mar 2017, 02:24
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Still in production after 60 Years
So is the mighty Lockheed C130 Hercules which first flew on 23 August 1954, deliveries to the USAF began in 1956 and to the RAAF in 1958. A true "Legend of the Sky".
Damn, Thread hijacked on first post after just 24 minutes.

Usually takes a couple of pages.

Is that a record?

Go the mighty C172!
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Old 9th Mar 2017, 02:28
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Just like the B737, which is 50 years old this year. And if you look outside of the US aviation industry, the Ford Mustang has been in production since 1965 (52 years).
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Old 9th Mar 2017, 05:14
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And probably the greatest shame is that the technology used in the C172 has not progressed, in line with technological advancements in many other fields, and the C172 will go out of production within a decade or two, because of that inability to offer major, cost-saving, efficiency gains with each new model.
If the C172 was a motor vehicle, it would be on offer in the dealerships as a 1934 Ford with mag wheels. After all, downdraught carburettors, rubber mountings and mechanical controls were all readily available in 1934.
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Old 9th Mar 2017, 05:21
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in line with technological advancements in many other fields, and the C172 will go out of production within a decade or two, because of that inability to offer major, cost-saving, efficiency gains with each new model.
Please explain. What advancements could be made that haven't been made? What efficiency gains are you thinking of?

P.S. The PA28 is 57 this year and still in production as well.
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Old 9th Mar 2017, 05:22
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i guess certification has nothing to do with locking in old designs for eternity while technology marches on....
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Old 9th Mar 2017, 06:35
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C172 - Worlds Safest Aeroplane.
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Old 9th Mar 2017, 07:47
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27/09 - I'm talking engine design improvements that could have placed the 172 into current-level cutting-edge engine technology, with improved engine construction materials, engine design changes that could have improved fuel efficiency by 25-30%, airframe design changes that could have improved the drag coefficient, construction material changes that could have seen lighter weight with the same or more strength - along with numerous other areas where Cessna technology still lives in the 1950's.

In the same era that the 172 has been in production, we have seen automotive improvements that make the automotive products of today seem like space-age, as compared to the automotive offerings of 1957.
There's nothing like manufacturer inertia and resistance to change - or more importantly, resistance to the costs of changing production procedures from manufacturing equipment that was paid for by the mid-1960's, and which has produced a regular cash-cow ever since.

If the automotive manufacturers were still building motor vehicles on 1957 production lines and equipment, they wouldn't be able to sell anything, such would be the cost of manufacture and the inefficiency of the end product.

If the 172 had kept pace with automotive advances - today, it would be built entirely by robots, with faultless, 100% repetitive precision, contain large amounts of composites and alloys, and high-tech plastics and resins, be 30% more fuel efficient, have a considerably lower drag coefficient, and cost 2/3rds to buy new, of what it did in 1957.

Corporate manufacturing would still be building wood-and-wire biplanes, and wooden-wheeled drays for transport, if they were allowed carte blanche control over competition and technological advancement.
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Old 9th Mar 2017, 09:19
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I'd have to agree that Cessna could use composite design and construction techniques blending a rig with lighter weights and improved performance including a more powerful donk. But of the many older training, touring types of frames I still consider the 172 to be the "Swiss army knife" of many since you can take it almost anywhere and do quiet a lot with it if handled correctly! In my opinion, although perhaps ancient in design, still a good frame
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Old 9th Mar 2017, 09:31
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Sorry Acrosport II, didn't mean to "hijack" your thread, just wanted to point out the venerable C130 has been around a long time in it's various forms. Probably the most versatile airlifter ever built. That said however the C172, as pointed out by onetrack, has changed little over it's lifetime. That it is still selling says plenty about it being acceptable to many over a very long period. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" comes to mind.
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Old 9th Mar 2017, 09:33
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C172 - Not only the world's safest aeroplane, but also the word's most populous aeroplane. With over 40,00 built it even beats that ever popular German design the Me109.
By comparison, the automotive industry produced 3 million Ford Falcons in a backward country like Oz, in roughly the same time span.
To give them their due, Cessna tried to do some of the things onetrack describes and came up with the C177. Nuff said.
Maybe the Cirrus range meets some of things onetrack espouses..
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Old 9th Mar 2017, 09:36
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There's nothing like manufacturer inertia and resistance to change

I have no doubt that the various OEMs would run with improvements .. if it weren't for the certification on-cost remora
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Old 9th Mar 2017, 09:52
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Now now.
I love the Cardinal.
Beautiful looking aircraft - especially the RG.
The facts that stabilator would kill you if that bolt failed and that it was underpowered, and earlier ones were a pig to land are totally irrelevant...
Does make you wonder thought what a 21st century 172 really would be like.
How would a largely composite aircraft handle FBO treatment?
How long would glass panel EFISs last?
One would assume they'd at least get the seats right
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Old 9th Mar 2017, 09:54
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Old Fella
Sorry Acrosport II, didn't mean to "hijack" your thread, just wanted to point out the venerable C130 has been around a long time in it's various forms. Probably the most versatile airlifter ever built. That said however the C172, as pointed out by onetrack, has changed little over it's lifetime. That it is still selling says plenty about it being acceptable to many over a very long period. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" comes to mind.
No worries Old Fella. Another Classic aircraft design.

Although considerably more C172s were built over the last 60 years, and considerably more PPLs / CPLs would have flown them.


I wonder if there is little change because it was a sturdy good design.
I see they are around $275000 USD new now.
The modern day composite (modern materials) Cirrus SR22 4 seater (bigger engine) is around $520,000 USD or so. Not surprising I don't see many of those flying around locally.

27/09
Please explain. What advancements could be made that haven't been made? What efficiency gains are you thinking of?

P.S. The PA28 is 57 this year and still in production as well.
Yes another 'Classic' only 3 years younger. I didn't know they were still making them. I cannot find their new price online, you have to 'inquire'.

Last edited by Acrosport II; 9th Mar 2017 at 11:07.
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Old 9th Mar 2017, 10:37
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Had to do a check flight in a fairly recent model 172 recently. Glass panel an' all!

I would describe it as a "Lady of the skies!' (Or a Gentlemen's conveyance!)

Mein Gott!! If you got into trouble in one of those you had stuffed up badly.

Then again, if you can fly a Seneca 1 (makes sign to ward off evil eye, throws salt over shoulder, crosses myself etc) you can fly anything!!
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Old 9th Mar 2017, 11:15
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I was surprised how different one C172 was to another I flew.

I flew a few C172s many years ago and had fond memories. Flew a different plane many years later and wondered why I had such fond memories.

It must have just been that aircraft. Haven't flown one for years. Id imagine a new C172 would be nice.

Id like to know the total combined flying hours of all C172 over the last 60 years. (some 43,000 aircraft).
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Old 9th Mar 2017, 11:48
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The design might be 60 years young, but they've only been building them for 50 of those.

If the 172 had kept pace with automotive advances - today, it would be built entirely by robots, with faultless, 100% repetitive precision, contain large amounts of composites and alloys, and high-tech plastics and resins, be 30% more fuel efficient, have a considerably lower drag coefficient, and cost 2/3rds to buy new, of what it did in 1957.
No one builds aircraft like that. Even a 787, while falling into most of your categories, is largely hand built. There just isn't the economy of scale to invest in the high tech manufacturing. As quoted above, the closest thig to your description, a Cirrus, costs twice as much.
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Old 9th Mar 2017, 20:22
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That the C172 is still available 60 years on means that modern tech ain't as great as people think. There plenty of newer ideas that have come and gone in the meantime.

That's not saying it can't be significantly better. Just that not enough people are prepared to pay for what it takes to develop it. Whether that's regulatory strangulation or the collective failure of the market's imagination is debatable. There's little reason why private flying couldn't be a much larger part of our lifestyle though, but plenty of reasons why it isn't.
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Old 9th Mar 2017, 20:50
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I thought the Piper Cub was the 'world's safest airplane'? (It can just barely kill you).
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