Cruise Speed on a '56 C172

Cruise Speed on a '56 C172

<HTML>I was wondering what other people get for a cruise speed in their birds.

I have a '56 C172 and cruise right at 100-105 MPH (not knots).  I keep seeing refernces from people cruising at 100 KNOTS which should be at least 115 MPH.

I seem to be a little on the slow side.  I have verfied my speeds with my GPS on a calm day..

Is this a normal speed for a plane as old as mine?</HTML>

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Re: Cruise Speed on a '56 C172

<HTML>Dave,  yes your speed is alittle low.  When I purchased my 1961 172B my cruise figures seemed to match yours.  I figured out (with this boards help) that my tach. was fast.  I borrowed a digital photo/electric tach from my A&P and charted the full rpm range at cruise.  When I now cruise at 2575 indicated I am actually turning at 2450 which has an indicated airspeed of 115 mph.
As a hint what does your tach indicate on climbout?  This rpm will be close to your cruise rpm.  My Tach. actually indicates 2600 rpm on climbout which is redline.  your results may vary</HTML>

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Re: Cruise Speed on a '56 C172

<HTML>Hello Dave, yes that is a bit slow. They're all slow but yours is slower then most. I would verify your GPS speeds first. The most accurate way to do this and eliminate the wind factor, is to fly due north for 3 minutes and record your speed. Then fly due south for 3 minutes, due east & due west. Add all figures together then divide that number by 4. Doing this will give you your most precise ground speed. If these figures still total 100/105 MPH, all I can recommend is that you sell that turd to the next chump looking for a Cezzna. You'll still come out of it with enough money to buy a nice mid-60's Cherokee. At 5000' MSL mine will do a true 139 MPH, and at 10,000' MSL it will do a true 132 MPH with an 8.2 GPH fuel burn. You just can't beat a Piper Cherokee when it comes to the most bang for your buck. Hope this helps,
Rusty</HTML>

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Re: Cruise Speed on a '56 C172

<HTML>Instead of the tin bucket cherokee I'll be purchasing a 182, do better than 139MPH and it's a high wing, much easier to get into and see out of.  I'm just a high wing guy....</HTML>

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Re: Cruise Speed on a '56 C172

<HTML>Ahh.  Piper owners are always so.......uhm......Eloquent!</HTML>

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Re: Cruise Speed on a '56 C172

<HTML>Why is a Piper owner on a Cessna chat room , anyway?
Must be thinking aboout stepping up smile


I Love my 182!!!</HTML>

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Re: Cruise Speed on a '56 C172

<HTML>Point taken Dave! Of course those lead-sled, scrap metal, Drag Kings have to burn nearly twice the fuel to pass my Cherokee by a whole 15 kts. And you can do all that at 3 times the purchase price and operating cost of a Cherokee. Now that sounds like a real deal. It just don't make any since at all. You could get an M20C Mooney that's truly built of high quality workmanship (unlike cezzna) that would literally smoke a 182 while only burning 9 GPH. Now that's something to boast about! The problem with those Drag Kings are the galvinized 2x4's holding the wings on. My God Man, you can just look at a Cezzna parked next to any other plane and actually see the drag ... as well as the very low cost & quality of their mass production. Cezzna's motto was: Let's build these cracker cans as cheap as possible and pump them out as quick as possible. It's a denile thing with you guys. Due to a lack of individuality and imagination, you made a bad buy and won't admit it. Then you have to walk around all other planes with blinders on. Because one quick glimps of any other aircraft, will simply sparkle with airframe efficiancy and true quality workmanship.</HTML>

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Re: Cruise Speed on a '56 C172

<HTML>Dave,

  There are many things that make a 172 slower than book. 
Here are a few ways to make it fly faster:

C.G. in mid or rear of the range
wheel pants on
prop with enough "meat" on it
don't slip through the air
rigging flaps/ailerons
close air vents
remove extra antennas
seal the cabin against air leaks
root fairings for the spars
wash and wax
lack of "bumps" on the aluminum

  A few of these are a bit tougher to figure.  If your prop doesn't have enough "meat" or pitch, this is tough to tell.  Need an A&P for this.

  Some planes are in a constant slip.  Sometimes the T&B and associated yaw bubble were installed at an angle.  If your autopilot keeps waggling back and forth 5 degrees, or you seem to always fly "Chinese Style"  (one wing low), this may be a problem.  Level the T&B and/or AI.

  If the flaps are droopy or the ailerons are both droopy, you'll lose some top speed (pipers are famous for droopy right flaps...guess why).

  Extra antennas are drag that lowers top speed.  Do you think the factory test plane had any external antennas at all?  OK maybe ONE.

  Air circulating into and around the cabin can only cause drag.  I bet the factory test pilot and the marketing department made sure the test plane was "tight".

  The 172 is different from the Skyhawk.  The latter has fairings for some of the draggy parts (landing gear to fuse contact, spar to wing, some more in the tail).

  Good smooth paint well washed and waxed helps.  I got a new paint job and got more than a few MPH out of it over the burbling old peeling paint.

  The cover of COO had an amazing picture of a brand new Cessna (206 or 182 or 210?) with rippling, oilcanning wingtops.  Amazing picture really.  Quite an embarrasment.  Aha it was a 206 on the cover of the Oct 2002 issue.  There was an editorial "air mail" in Dec that menioned what a crappy substandard job that plane showed.  If your plane has that, no wonder it's slow!

  Anyway, my .02

Mark</HTML>

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Re: Cruise Speed on a '56 C172

<HTML>  Oh, and not all standard days are alike.  If you're at sea level, at 15 deg, and it's very humid or raining like mad, don't expect to beat the Cessna marketing guys.

Mark</HTML>

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Re: Cruise Speed on a '56 C172

<HTML>Rustyfly? I think the name says it all wink</HTML>

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Re: Cruise Speed on a '56 C172

<HTML>We're talking about a '56 172 here, no?  Wasn't Piper still making rag-on-tube Tri-Pacers then?</HTML>

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Re: Cruise Speed on a '56 C172

<HTML>Piper was still making Tri-Pacers then.  I had a '63 Colt and then a '53 Tri-Pacer.  I have to admit I really love the old tube and fabric covered planes myself. 

That Rusty sure likes his Cherokee, wonder why he's hanging out in the Cessna forums?  I wonder if he's a little jealous smile</HTML>

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Re: Cruise Speed on a '56 C172

<HTML>  I forgot to talk about W&B.  Aft C.G. is better.  Easy to tell why, just look at the trim tab in flight.  If you have a lot of trim in (either way) you have an inefficient tail surface.  The horiz stab is already trying to lower the tail, with forward C.G. the extra trim to get the tail down causes a fairly inefficient horiz. stab.

  If you want to find the magic C.G., just look at the trim in flight.  If it's perfectly straight with the elevator, you have pretty much the magic C.G.

  I know this from my flight to the Bahamas.  Even with two people and 300# of useless stuff way in the back, we got excellent speeds.  Wheel pants and new paint helped, but good C.G. helped a lot too.  I've put 100# of lead in the aft baggage compartment before, and my 172 goes from sluggish on the controls to light and easy and gives a noticeably slower stall.  If I taught primary students (especially women or those with weaker upper body strength) in a 172 I'd have them put a toolbox or weights in the very back for every flight.  It really makes the 172 a whole new animal.  Same is true for a 182.  I have a good friend who doesn't like to fly the 182 because she can't keep the nose off for landing.  Silly.  Just needs weight in the back.  FBO's: tell your renters this and you'll get fewer prop strikes, porpises, and nose collapses...

Mark</HTML>

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Re: Cruise Speed on a '56 C172

<HTML>Dave, I'm suspicious of your instrumentation.  There's no way to evaluate any airplane until the instrumentation is calibrated.  Start with getting your local shop to loan you their tach calibration gizmo and confirm the tachometer.  Next get the avionics/instrument shop to confirm your airspeed indications with a pitot/static check.  (Alternatively, fly alongside another airplane and compare airspeed indications.)
Only after you've done that work, can you determine if you really have a problem.

 

Rusty, Where do you get that "...nearly twice the fuel ..."??    If you want to compare airplanes, let's compare similar types, not Cherokees to Centurions. Let's cut out the BS and compare apples to apples instead of your bizarre and inapplicable statistics.   To beat your own Cherokee BY 15 kts with it's own kind, Piper had to put an O-540 (Can you say GROUNDED DUE TO FAILED CRANKSHAFTS??) in a Cherokee PA28 which DID require "nearly twice the fuel"!


Let's compare a 4-place PA28 Cherokee to it's competitor, a 4-place Skyhawk.

The mfr specs for a Cherokee are:
PIPER PA28-140 CHEROKEE
Engine: LYC O-320-E2A  75% Cruise: 117 kts  Wingspan: 30.00 ft
Horsepower: 150  Stall: 47 kts  Length: 23.33 ft
Rec'md TBO: 2000 hrs  Range: 420 nm  Height: 7.33 ft
   Srv Ceiling: 10950 ft  Empty Wt: 1274 lbs
Std Fuel: 36 gal  Rate of Climb: 631 ft/min  Gross Wt: 2150 lbs  (Useful 876)
Max Fuel: 50 gal     
Takeoff (over 50 ft obstacle): 1700 ft
 

The mfr. specs for a 172 Cessna:
CESSNA 172M SKYHAWK
Engine: LYC O-320-E2D  75% Cruise: 115 kts  Wingspan: 36.00 ft
Horsepower: 150  Stall: 44 kts  Length: 26.92 ft
Rec'md TBO: 2000 hrs  Range: 450 nm  Height: 8.75 ft
   Srv Ceiling: 13100 ft  Empty Wt: 1412 lbs
Std Fuel: 42 gal  Rate of Climb: 645 ft/min  Gross Wt: 2300 lbs (Useful 888)
Max Fuel: 52 gal     
Takeoff (over 50 ft obstacle): 1525 ft

For a difference of only TWO knots, the Cherokee needs MORE runway, carries LESS weight, and LESS fuel, for LESS range, with LESS legroom for rear seat passengers, and flys LESS far on a tank of gas.  The Piper Cherokee is such a great airplane it is no longer in production, has no ongoing factory support, and therefore no factory product improvements, and many parts are virtually impossible to find even at any price.  It has life-threatening AD notes regarding airframe cracks, corrosion, flight control integrity, and fuel leaks issued against it far in excess of the comparatively minor service-related ones of the Cessna.

Like most airplane owners, I'm sure you're proud of your bird.  I actually have a fond memory of flight instructing in Cherokees from my career as a CFI in the 1970's.  But now, like then, I found the Cessna's far better tools for teaching flying techniques and infinitely easier to maintain and service.  LIke most former CFI's, I can fly once around the pattern with a pilot and tell you if he learned in a Cherokee.  They have a lousy rudder (compromised by a poor attempt to improve ground steering for non-pilots)  and heavy, insensitive flight controls,  and it shows up in sloppy pilot technique and poor airmanship skills that are difficult to overcome even in the long term, without dedicated effort and expense.  The Cherokee is a forgiving airplane.  Too much so in some regards, like stalls, spins, and rudder, to make a good trainer.  It was the answer the Piper legal department wanted to their troublesome Tri-Pacer safety record.  But it made a really Ho-Hum airplane that couldn't carry a full 4 people without leaving out half it's fuel. 

You should take discussions of it to the Piper forums where you can have the admiration of fellow pilots who share satisfaction in low expectations for their airplanes.  ;Þ</HTML>

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Re: Cruise Speed on a '56 C172

<HTML>I meant to point out the fact that the Cherokee actually IS faster than the Cessna when it comes to stalls.   Please note also, there's a rather large disparity in the two airplane's service ceilings.   Try getting a Cherokee loaded with 4 people over the Sierra's. :{</HTML>

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Re: Cruise Speed on a '56 C172

<HTML>George, your my hero.

Your last message was great.

I'm going to get ahold of a digital tach and make sure my tach is accurate.  What do you recomend for RPM setting in cruise flight.  I've been flying with 2400 indicated.</HTML>

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Re: Cruise Speed on a '56 C172

<HTML>Your Owner's Manual recommends 2450 rpm with the C-145 or O-300 Continental engine and correct MDM 7655 or 7653 McCauley prop.  You should have a minimum of 2230 rpm at full power static runup.  Your airplane should true out 104 knots and burn 8 gallons per hour.</HTML>

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Re: Cruise Speed on a '56 C172

<HTML>I'll check those numbers out next time I fly...</HTML>

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Re: Cruise Speed on a '56 C172

<HTML>I regularly cruise around 125 mph to 130 mph true and use 110 knots for planning an filing purposes. (1973 C172M)</HTML>

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Re: Cruise Speed on a '56 C172

<HTML>I regulary cruise at 132MPH TAS at 7500-8500MSL at 2500 RPM about 500 pound below max gross, with 60 pounds in the far back baggage compartment.  Burn is 8 gallons per tach hour.  C172G 1966.</HTML>

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Re: Cruise Speed on a '56 C172

<HTML>George;

I went flying today and did a full power static run up.  The tach indicated 2350.  I still need to get a digital tach to see how accurate mine is....

I also noticed (this is gonna sound dumb) that since the tach is on the right of the panel I am looking at it at an angle.  I thought I was setting the cruise RPM at 2400, it was actually 2300.  I ran the tach up to 2450 in flight and picked up 5 - 8 mph.  Maybe my slow speed has been due to not paying enough attention to the tach....

         Dave</HTML>

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Re: Cruise Speed on a '56 C172

<HTML>I feel for you Dave, I regularly lean over to right and gaze directly into the face of the instrument.

My tach was shown have a 130 to 150 RPM offset up to 2200 RPM.  It indicates low. So I'm always making a calculation and correlating air speed.  So I'm going to invest in a wireless tach to have a check.  My belief is that as long as the difference is known, the tach operates smoothly (not operating erratically) and the error is relatively constant I don't need to replace it.  I use 170 RPM ofset at max cruise.</HTML>

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Re: Cruise Speed on a '56 C172

<HTML>Parallax error is a problem on some installations.   My 170B looks like it's turning 2500 from the pilot's seat when it's actually turning 2450.  Now that I know that (and since I DID confirm my tach was accurate with a "Tru-Tach" testor, available from Aircraft Spruce, (877/477-7823) PN 10-24745 for $79.95.  Cheaper than buying another tach or hiring an instrument shop), I am comfortable simply setting it that way.
  Normally, of course, you DO want to lean over to get rid of parallax when accuracy counts.</HTML>

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Re: Cruise Speed on a '56 C172

<HTML>As inexpensive as that is I just went online at aircraft spruce and ordered one.  Should be here in a few days..</HTML>

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Re: Cruise Speed on a '56 C172

<HTML>ANyone know of another place I can order this hand held tach?  Spruce is backordered until next month...</HTML>

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