February 2008 Issue
Four Skyhawks: The S-GA Model Rules
Cessna’s 172 is still a mainstay in the line. Unless an autopilot is a must, the S-GA-model is a top value. The new diesel version is a wildcard.
In the world of light airplane manufacturing, Cessna has figured out one thing better than any other single manufacturer: There’s a difference between people who talk about buying airplanes and people who actually buy them. The people who talk gave up the Cessna Skyhawk for dead when it was reintroduced in 1997; the people who buy made it the second best-selling single in 2006 behind the Cirrus SR22. It will occupy the same position when the 2007 sales figures are tallied. Not bad for an airframe conceived in 1956 and still selling against the cutting-edge best from Cirrus, Diamond and others. Incredibly, Cessna isn’t done with the Skyhawk yet, having announced a Thielert-powered diesel version last fall at AOPA Expo in Hartford and, as of press time, it has dropped the 160-HP R-model from the lineup. Given Cessna’s confidence in the 172, we wondered how the four variants of the Skyhawk—two versions of the 180-HP gas model and two versions of the new diesel—stack up against each other and against an older Hawk.
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