First Ride in a Cessna 172SP

My normal (rental) plane (N739GY) is a 1979 Cessna 172 “N”. I think the “N” stands for “normal”. It is a basic trainer; not too much clutter in the cockpit, and very forgiving to a novice pilot. Alas, this plane was still tied up for its 100 hour inspection, so if I wanted to fly at all today, I’d have to go fly one of the bigger planes.

So, instead, N5101E was used. This is a 2001 model Cessna 172 “S”. This has a larger power plant based on fuel injection; a much more modern stack of radios and GPS and direction finding gear; much more accomodating seats and seat belts. All in all, a much nicer (and newer) model. Planes have improved over time, much like cars.

Now, the fun parts to this plane. The startup procedure is a bit funky (to me at least). The checklist is a whole lot more verbose. Fuel vapors appear to be a concern for hot days. And, actually flying this thing, the yoke was stiff, and the rudder very twitchy. I took 5 passes at the remote airport today in this plane, and I only actually touched down once. Trying to get this plane stabilized was difficult, as the plane was quite squirrelly. Maybe I am spoiled with the flying habbbits of N739GY..

On the plus side, I needed to practice go-arounds.. and this plane provided that!

I don’t plan on soloing at all in the 172SP. For solo work, I’ll stick with the tried and true.

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