Visibility: fair
Temperature: 18°C
Wind: 190°, 5 knots
QNH: 1018hPa
Location: Strausberg
Equipment: Cessna 172 (D-EKKS)

The stamp on my private pilots license is not quite dry yet and I am getting to work on the first additional rating already. Today I am at the airport for the first lesson in a Cessna 172. It is a four seated trainer and easily the most popular aircraft in general aviation.

The Cessna 150 that I trained on so far, is her “little sister”. I have read both of their manuals and they are very similar. Still, the 172 is a big step up in size and in power.

We start our morning with some theory in the office of the flight school. The instructor tells me the biggest differences and we go over the fuel system with the tank selector.

When it is time to meet “Kilo Sierra” in person, we start with a walk around. Cessnas are not beautiful and not very efficient either. What makes them the biggest brand in general aviation is reliability, sturdiness and very easy handling.

Kilo Sierra is white and blue and I like her instantly. She is not as old as my trusted Lima X-Ray, but she still has a certain vintage charm to her. And of course, the ashtrays can not be missing!

Kilo Sierra is not much more complex than Lima X-Ray was, but she could be. Her instrument panel is about twice the size and many of the instruments are redundant. She could be rated for IFR. She has a second VOR receiver, a second altimeter and a radio compass.

I am anxious to see what she can do, so we start-up and go. The 5 liter engine vibrates deeply and is very responsive to the throttle. On take-off, I am surprised by the torque effect. The propeller turns to the right and pushes the aircraft to the side. That’s normal and needs to be compensated with the rudder. What gets me is the amount of force I need to keep her on the center line – and we are not even airborne yet.


We lift-off and the difference in weight is immediately apparent. Kilo Sierra glides through the air noticeably calmer than the smaller Cessna or my beloved Ultra Lights. Control inputs require a lot of force and the engine moves forward decidedly. I like it.

Air work

We fly direction east, climb to 3000 feet and start with some basic air work. I try to hold my altitude and the course. Then we fly standard circles (3 degree turns) and try a few stalls. I get calmer and more confident. Kilo Sierra handles like the more comfortable and more stable version of Lima X-Ray. How could that be wrong?

After warming up, we go over to Eggersdorf. We are the only plane in the pattern. Our first approach is a bit low. Kilo Sierra will sink fast without power. The flare is easy and the landing a bit fast but not too bad.

On the second approach, the altitude looks better. I set flaps, adjust power and trim to stay on the glide path. Looking good, flare and touch down. Is it possible that this is easier than with Lima X-Ray? We try different kinds of landings. Short, long and go-arounds. I’m thoroughly enjoying myself.

Before we go home, we put in a pit-stop at Eggersdorf. The fuel is a bit cheaper here than in Strausberg and my flight instructor wants to use the occasion to top-up. We put 80 liters into her two tanks and only weep a little when it comes to payment.

Kilo Sierra has left a lasting impression on me. I can not wait for my next hour on the 172!

To be continued…


(originally posted on June 13, 2012 by tilbo at aloft.blog.com/172/)

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