Although the term “General Aviation” does not have a strict definition, no one aircraft is more emblematic of the sector than the Cessna 172. Whilst many GA designs fill a niche, the 172 does a range of jobs, from basic training to medium range touring, remarkably well. More widely manufactured than any aircraft on history, over a total production life of 55 years some 44,000 have left the factories of Cessna and its licensed subsidiaries.  

The Cessna 172 began as a tricycle undercarriage conversion of the Cessna 170. The airframe converted, N41678, was itself a prototype of an ultimately unproduced variant of the 170, the C – this sported squared off tail surfaces which, together with a nosewheel, became the principle distinguishing features of the original model Cessna 172. A 6 cylinder 145hp Continental O-300 engine completed the design. With highly benign taxiing and flying characteristics, the 172’s certification was uncomplicated and the new model became an instant sales success.  

In common with its Cessna contemporaries, the early variants of the 172 are distinguished by a built up rear fuselage – the characteristic “omni-vision” rear screen coming later. The straight vertical stabiliser was a feature of the initial 172 (1956-1959) only, being replaced with the distinctive swept tail from 172A onwards. The initial 172 also had a different intake configuration, with 172A onwards having a single open elipse. The Cessna 172B moved the engine back by 6 inches, and this necessitated a distinct zig zag cut line between the cowl and bulkhead. Other features of early models which make be less familiar to pilots of newer 172s are sprung steel undercarriage legs with a narrower track than modern models, and a simple wing leading edge which was later replaced by a drooped “camber lift” airfoil.   

In common with car manufacturers of the time, after 1959 Cessna took to introducing a new model every year. Often these would incorporate superficial changes to trim and paint specification, however many significant design changes were also incorporated until the design, at least externally, stabilised in the 1970s. This is the first kit in a series of 3 which aims to take these changes into account allowing the modeller to replicate virtually any variant of the 172 built from 1956 to the present day. 

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