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Skyhawk or Archer ?

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Marriott Platinum Member
Dec 2, 2003

Looking for opinions on the Cessna 172 versus the Piper Archer 180.

Factors I am thinking about are

1) Resale value, profit potential, etc

2) Number of AD's, reliability, ease of maintenance, etc

3) Etc

Comments, info wanted.

Question first:

Are you talking about new or nearly new Skyhawks and Archers, or 20 yr old ones? The Archer is 180 hp, and is comparable to the new Skyhawk SP.

I am talking mid-late 70's airplanes

I will be in the market for one prob in late 2006 (not today, money tied up elsewhere)....anticipate flying it for 2 years and selling it for hopefully a small profit or at least recover my hangar/insurance costs while I owned it
If you're talking Mid-70's then, I would say the Cessna is going to be cheaper, (on average) and a little bit easier to get parts and upgrades for. Dirt simple to maintain as far as airplanes go. But then, so is the Archer, really. In the Cessnas, be aware that beginning with the '77 -N model, Cessna went with the 160hp O-320 H2AD engine, which was "infamous" for eating camshafts. Since then, there have been modifications designed to ease that problem, but some engines with little use have yet to be modified. Also, it's very bad for the H2AD to sit for any length of time, (weeks) without being run. Camshaft gets dry. I still see members on the CPA forums having to get overhauls on these engines at 800-1200 hrs. However, there are those with the mods and regular use that go 2000 hrs. I think the best of the lot are the '74-'76 M models, which have a bit bigger baggage compartment, or go all the way to the '81 -P model when the engine was changed to the O-320 D2J and has a 28 volt electrical system.

I have a '72 -L model with a 150 hp O-320 E2D. Very reliable, still has the 40 deg flaps, and mine has an 885 useful load in it's current config with GPS and RNAV.

The bad is the totally unreliable 12v, cowl mounted landing light, which burns out every 3-10 hrs it seems. (Wing mounted lights are much more reliable, 24v lights draw less amps and you have more choices of replacement lamps, although my replacements are only $13.) I'm waiting for Knots2U to certify their HID lights for my year model. Should be good for my lifetime. :D

The Archer is a good airplane, and faster, but those I've looked at are about $15-20K or so more expensive than a comparable Skyhawk, and I can tell you it's much easier to load the occasional outsize cargo in the Cessna....

(Think 17" Computer Monitor in carton for example.....)

I'm partial to Cessna because the CPA, (Cessna Pilot's Association) is an invaluable, outstanding resource for maintaining and upgrading your Cessna, and for money saving tips and ideas.....

1972- 172L
Serial Numbers 17259904 thru 17260758
1. Dorsal fin extended to rear window
2. Propeller diameter reduced 1 inch to .75 inches
3. Bonded cabin doors
4. Larger control wheel
5. Deeper seat cushions
6. Gray panel color extended to factory installed Cessna/ARC radios
7. Slim line microphone
8. Over-voltage relay and “HI” voltage light installed
9. Redesigned Flap drive
Base Price - $15,895 Average Price as Delivered - $18,940

1973 - 172M
Serial Numbers 17260759 thru 17261898
1. Increased camber leading edge
2. Rocker switches
3. Key lock baggage door
4. Dual lock pin seats
5. Plastic fuel caps
6. Closer fitting panel cover
Base Price - $15,895 Average Price as Delivered - $18,440

1974- 172M
Serial Numbers 17261899 thru 17263458
1. “II” preferred options package available
2. Baggage compartment size increased by 50 percent
3. Dual cowl mounted landing lights optional
4. “Book” cruise speed increased 6 mph due to improved engine cooling air flow
5. Improved heater air inlet
6. Brake fairings installed
7. Shoulder harness trays installed
8. Disposable vacuum system air filter used at 17262867

1975- 172M
Serial Numbers 17263459 thru 17265684
1. Inertia reel shoulder harness system optional
2. Push button mixture control
3. Canted avionics panel
4. Over-center door handles in armrests
5. Encoding altimeter optional
Base Price - $17,890 Average Price as Delivered - $25,146

1976 - 172M
Serial Numbers 17265685 thru 17267584
1. Increased cabin sound proofing
2. More avionics capacity in panel
3. Vertical stabilizer recontoured
4. Primary airspeed indication changed from mph to knots
5. Engine gauges moved to left side of panel
6. Control wheel shaft lowered 1.5 inches
Base Price - $20,750 Average Price as Delivered - $27,667

1977- 172N
Serial Numbers 17267585 thru 17269309
1. O-320-H2AD 160 hp Lycoming installed
2. Pre-select flap control
3. Vernier mixture control
4. Rudder trim optional
5. Recessed air filter to reduce water blockage
Base Price - $22,300 Average Price as Delivered - $30,050

1978- 172N
Serial Numbers 17269310 thru 17271034
1. 28 volt electrical system
2. Avionics master switch
3. Optional air conditioning, 70 lbs additional weight
4. Flush door window latch
5. Solid state voltage regulator
6. Battery contactor moved from battery box to firewall
7. Aileron carry-thru cable turnbuckle relocated above headliner beginning with 17269874
Base Price - $23,495 Average Price as Delivered - $31,850

1979 - 172N
Serial Numbers 17271035 thru 17272884
1. Flap extension speed increased from 85 kt to 110 kt for first ten degrees
2. Alternator control unit replaces regulator and over voltage relay
3. Optional single probe EGT
4. Optional cabin ventilation fan
5. Small “N” numbers
6. Improved flap circuit wiring
7. New engine instruments.
8. Fuel in both gallons and lbs
9. Slimmer front door post
10. Manifold battery eliminates battery box
11. Pull type alternator circuit breaker
12. Urethane paint standard
13. Loose leaf style Pilots Operating Handbook
14. “LOW” voltage light replaces “HI” voltage light
15. Optional digital clock replaces optional electric clock
16. Oil cooler relocated to right aft vertical engine baffle at 17271954
Base Price - $25,950 Average Price as Delivered - $34,975

1980- 172N
Serial Numbers 17272885 thru 17274009
1. Manifold type battery used, eliminating battery box
2. Front seat stops moved back 4 inches
3. Engine gauges moved to upper left side of instrument panel
4. Dual defroster vents
5. Slimmer door posts
6. Wood grained lower instrument panel
7. Muting marker beacon switch
8. Nose wheel fairing door replaced with hole and plug at 17273497
9. Baggage compartment door latch design changed at 17273535
10. Induction air filter fasteners changed from screws to quick release fasteners at 17273580
Base Price - $30,735 Average Price as Delivered - $39,165
The debate between these 2 planes could go on foreeeeeverrrrr. Personally, I prefer Cessnas. I've got a good amount of time in Archers/Cherokees and Skyhawks, and I can honestly say that I've just never liked the overall setup of Pipers. I like the Cessna's high wing (keeps ya cool in the summer), the cockpit is roomier, they're easier to get into, the windows actually open (again, to keep ya nice and cool), I prefer the yoke and trim design, and I even think that Cessnas land nicer. Yes, I said it...I think they land better. I also never did like getting on the ground to check out that Piper landing gear....such a pain to me. But of course....I'm biased. I started out in Cessnas.

GOOD info, thanks

you must work for Cessna Sales when you are not looking at the BRITE

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