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Cessna 152 or 172 for training?

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Well-known member
Nov 25, 2001
I am not flying until next summer, but I was just wondering about what kind of plane I should use to start my training. The airport by my house has 152s and 172s. I know that if I did it in a 152 it would save me some $$. Are there any other considerations or recommendations I should consider? By the way I am about 6'2" and 175 lbs.
My 2 cents

I got my ppl in a 152.( even did the long ,long commercial X/C in one ) I am 5 10 and weigh 180 My instructor was the same dimensions . In the interest of saving $ I would begin in a 152 as it is an easy transition to the 172. The only difference being the 152 spoiled me landing in gusty winds as its real maneuverable . Enjoy your training !! Chas
A guy your size? A 172, for certain.

If only someone had given me the following advice before I began training: buy a twenty year old Cessna with a mid-time engine, and put it on leaseback at the flight school. This will take you right into your commercial, and save money in the process.
I'm 6' 1" and 210, and I can certainly fit in a 150. There's plenty of headroom due to the reclined seating position. It's adding the instructor to the equation that makes it interesting. It's like you have four butt cheeks, because every inch of width in the cabin is used. It's definitely thigh to thigh. The 172 solves this problem. Training in the summer, you're going to be bumped around viciously during the afternoon due to convection. You won't turn quite so green in the Skyhwak, and you'll find that it doesn't get tossed around like a kite as the 150 seems to be. It's a real airplane. On the other hand, the savings could buy more than a few hours, so are your priorities enjoyment or career-conscious efficiency?

And this last might be anecdotal, but the 172 fleet seems to have had an easier life than the 150 family. It seems they are lower time and haven't spent their entier existence getting the crap beat out of them while training. As such they seem to be in better shape, as a whole.
Having spent a bunch of hours in both, I can say that if you try a 152 you will not really enjoy it very much, given your Goliath stature.

The only problem is that when you fly a 172, you'll immediately become enamored with the additional room.

My vote: go with the 172. Why?
- More room = more comfort, and more comfort = better learning environment
- Its safer...think about it. You're 210, your instructor is about ??...you will be over gross weight in a heartbeat if you have any gas at all on board the plane. If nothing else, you will see very poor climb performance, especially on a summer's day.

Just my two cents. Remember though...if you decide to go with the 152, don't even think think about climbing into a 172. Once you do, you'll be spoiled!

Best of luck!
Yeah, obviously I would be more comfortable in the 172. I will more than likely go with that. I was just wondering, because it would be cheaper with the 152. I would like to be able to have my private by the time the summer ends. How much money do you guys think that it would cost me to do that in the 172?

I'm 6'3" and 200 and I instructed in both 152s and 172s. The 152 is a little tight inside, but it's a much more responsive airplane and a lot more fun to fly than a 172, IMHO. The 152 is a little slower, but your building hours not miles. I'd stay with the 152 for the pvt and time building and try to fly a new(er) 172 for the instrument so you can learn the newer avionics and GPS.

As for buying an airplane... if it floats, ****s, or flies, it's cheaper to rent than to own.


Your tall but your relatively light. You need to weigh up comfort vs expense-You could certainly fit in and fly the 152 (as long as your instructor is not a doughnut stuffed beast)-but you'll be more comfortable in the 172. I flew the 172R for both my PPL and Inst and the 152 for my Comm-and loved both-the 152 is a great little responsive, if not underpowered, aircraft-both are forgiving and great trainers.

Try out both and weigh up the pluses and minuses for yourself-I vote for the 152- merely to save $ (if that's an issue).

That, also, depends.

Rental rates are very location specific, here in the rural Northeast a 172 is $69/hr whereas the the 150 is $55/hr and the instructor is worth $22/hr for a grand total of $91/hr of dual. Assuming you show up with your written exam complete:

At least 10 hrs Solo = 690
At least 30 Dual = 2730
Another 10 hours Ground = 220
Another 1.5 for the checkride = 103
Examiners Fee = 100 ish

Lowball estimate $3843 Flying the C150 would save you $574 off that figure. And I really mean that's a lowball estimate. Very few get there licenses at only the 40 required hours, plan on at least 50. If you've played MS Flight Sim from infancy deduct 5-10 hours.

So I'd bring $4500 to the table if you can find a Skyhawk renting for the above rates. That is alot of money for alot of people, but if it makes you feel any better, your local FBO owner is probably running on a rather scant margin.

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