Cessna 172

 

Operational History

On December 4, 1958 Robert Timm and John Cook took off from McCarran Airfield, Las Vegas, NV in N9172B. Sixty-four days, 22 hours, 19 minutes and 5 seconds later, they landed back at McCarran Airfield on February 4, 1959. The flight was part of a fund raising effort for the Damon Runyon Cancer Fund. Food and water were transferred by matching speeds with a chase car on a straight stretch of road in the desert, and hoisting the supplies aboard with a rope and bucket. Fuel was taken on by hoisting a hose from a fuel truck up to the aircraft, filling an auxiliary belly tank installed for the flight, pumping that fuel into the aircraft’s regular tanks, and then filling the belly tank again. The drivers steered while a second person matched speeds with the aircraft with his foot on the vehicle’s accelerator pedal.

Engine oil was added by means of a tube from the cabin that was fitted to pass through the firewall. Only the pilot’s seat was installed. The remaining space was used for a pad on which the relief pilot slept. The right cabin door was replaced with an easy-opening, accordion-type door to allow supplies and fuel to be hoisted aboard. Early in the flight, the engine driven electric generator failed. A Champion wind driven generator (turned by a small propeller) was hoisted aboard, taped to the wing support strut, plugged into the cigarette lighter socket—and served as the aircraft’s source of electricity for the rest of the flight. The pilots decided to end the marathon-flight because, with 1558 hours continuous running during the record-setting flight plus several hundred hours already on the engine beforehand (considerably in excess of its normal overhaul interval), the engine’s power output had deteriorated to the point that they were barely able to climb away after refueling. The aircraft is on display in the passenger terminal at McCarran International Airport. Photos and details of the record flight can be seen in a small museum on the upper level of the baggage claim area.


 

Cessna 172 General Characteristic

  • Crew: one
  • Capacity: three passengers
  • Length: 27 ft 2 in (8.28 m)
  • Wingspan: 36 ft 1 in (11.00 m)
  • Height: 8 ft 11 in (2.72 m)
  • Wing area: 174 sq ft (16.2 m2)
  • Aspect ratio: 7.32
  • Airfoil: modified NACA 2412
  • Empty weight: 1,691 lb (767 kg)
  • Gross weight: 2,450 lb (1,111 kg)
  • Fuel capacity: 56 US gallons (212 litres)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Lycoming IO-360-L2A four cylinder, horizontally opposed aircraft engine, 160 hp (120 kW)
  • Propellers: 2-bladed metal

Performance

  • Cruise speed: 122 kn (140 mph; 226 km/h)
  • Stall speed: 47 kn (54 mph; 87 km/h) (power off, flaps down)
  • Never exceed speed: 163 kn (188 mph; 302 km/h) (IAS)
  • Range: 696 nmi (801 mi; 1,289 km) with 45 minute reserve, 55% Power, at 12,000 ft
  • Service ceiling: 13,500 ft (4,100 m)
  • Rate of climb: 721 ft/min (3.66 m/s)

Avionics

  • Garmin GDU-1040 Primary Flight Display

Any Sources

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