N194SP was selected for a specific reason: it’s perfect for its mission. I’d wondered for a long time who buys Cessna 172SP’s. It’s slow. It’s expensive. It’s not very fuel efficient. And the avionics on the round-dial versions, while not terrible, aren’t anything to write home about either. And yet, I purchased one.
I don’t know why it was such a mystery to me. The Skyhawk is a training aircraft. It doesn’t have to be fast. It doesn’t have to have great avionics. Fuel efficiency doesn’t matter if you’re not directly paying for the fuel. And cost is relative: the comfort of having a newer, modern aircraft under you when you’re not yet squared away with the concept of a mile of sky under you is worth a fair amount to many pilots. Those pilots included myself: I trained predominantly in 172S for my PPL.
Of the things it does have going for it, the most important is that it is the training standard. It’s a base from which the majority of us learned to fly. This standardization draws students to this aircraft, as pilots who have not flown a 172 in one form or another are pretty rare. It’s a stable, predictable, forgiving platform from which to learn how to fly both visually and by instruments.
I had two criteria for the aircraft I purchased. First, I was putting this aircraft on leaseback. I needed it to be flown to make that worthwhile. 172SP get flown. The current 172S aircraft on the line at Trade Winds are doing about 60-70 hours every month. That should be enough hours to make doing a leaseback arrangement a benefit to myself as an owner. Second, I’m going to getting instrument rating in this aircraft, so it needed to fill that role as well.
Cessna 172 SP Skyhawk it was.