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Key Takeaways

  • The Cessna 172 Skyhawk is a safe plane with an extremely low fatality rate of 0.56 fatal crashes per 100,000 flying hours compared to the industry standard of 1.2-1.4.
  • The Cessna 172 Skyhawk comes with an advanced technology display, unmatched flight endurance, a ballistic recovery system, and a high fixed-wing design for better safety.
  • Cessna planes have been involved in 25,865 crashes, but they are also the most flown planes in the world and crash rates are low.

It would be difficult to talk about private planes without mentioning the famous Cessna 172 Skyhawk. But many ask if it’s as safe as other planes like it.

The Cessna 172 Skyhawk is safe and has the lowest fatal crash rate, ranking near low in total crashes. The 0.56 fatal crashes per 100,000 flying hours is better than the average of 1.2-1.4 fatal private plane accidents. This plane is also a popular trainer aircraft for this reason.

The Cessna 172 Skyhawk is a four-seater, single-engine aircraft, and all of this information about safety, crash ratings, and more have been carefully gathered from agencies like the NTSB. We have created this guide to help readers understand the safety of popular private planes like the Cessna 172.

Table of contents


Is The Cessna 172 Skyhawk Safe?

The Cessna 172 Skyhawk is a safe aircraft and ranks near the top in all safety ratings, with very few crashes and fatal accidents. It has been in continuous production since 1956 and has been flown by millions of pilots worldwide.

The plane is an excellent trainer and is relatively inexpensive to purchase. It has a low stall speed and is easy to fly. It also has a forgiving flight characteristic, so it will not be hard for new pilots to learn how to fly.

The aircraft was designed to have a high degree of safety, but it does have some risks that pilots should be aware of. Not many people know, but flying private can be dangerous with the wrong aircraft.

Luckily, the Cessna 172 Skyhawk is ranked as the safest private aircraft with the lowest number of fatal crash accidents of any plane. But safety only continues to improve while crash rates drop each year.

Cessna 172 Skyhawk Safety Features

The Cessna 172 Skyhawk is one of the most popular aircraft in the world. It is a single-engine, four-seat, and fixed-wing plane with a high-wing configuration.

It’s built for safety and ease of use, making it one of the most popular aircraft to use to train new pilots. This is why some of the safety statistics on the plane are also skewed, but it’s important to look at the key safety features.

Advanced Display Technology

The advanced display technology is designed to give the pilot better control over the aircraft in the cockpit. This includes upgraded features like COM frequency decoding and Garmin GFC - 700 Autopilot for more accurate flying.

The ADS-B Out and In and integrated VFR sectional charts help pilots stay safe and control the plane. This also helps with training, and these upgrades are why this plane is so commonly used.

Unmatched Flight Endurance

The Skyhawk has unmatched flight endurance and holds the world endurance flight record. This record is for a nonstop unrefueled flight by a civilian airplane.

This record occurred in 1958-1958, and the plane has only upgraded engines, interior design, and wing height, so newer models are even more efficient. This is another reason why this plane is so safe.

It won’t blow anybody away with its power or speed, but it can fly for longer, and fuel can last for quite a while. However, the lack of speed is why it’s no longer used for long flights because they take a while.

Ballistic Recovery System

Many newer Cessna 172 models are now built with an aircraft Ballistic Recovery System to minimize the risk of fatal crashes if anything were to go wrong with the plane.

This feature can be deployed if an engine failure happens, allowing the plane to land safely without any fatalities. It’s also possible to upgrade an existing plane with this feature to add more safety.

High Fixed Wing Design

The Cessna 172 also uses a high fixed-wing design which has many benefits compared to other single-engine planes with a low-wing design. For one, this wing height allows for better vision and visibility.

Next, it helps when landing by giving pilots more ground clearance to reduce risks when flying low. It also helps by creating better shading in the cabin to assist with flight visibility.

How Many Times Has The Cessna 172 Skyhawk Crashed?

The Cessna 172 Skyhawk is one of the most popular planes in the world. It has been around for over 50 years and is still manufactured today, which is extremely rare for a plane this old.

Statistics show a fatal accident rate of 0.56 per 100,000 hours when flying the Cessna 172 Skyhawk. This is much safer than the standard fatal accident rates, but it’s impacted by the number of trainer pilots using this plane.

0.56 fatal crashes per 100,000 flying hours is the lowest crash rating, making this the safest plane available. It’s also worth noting this study indicated a majority of these crashes were due to pilot error rather than a mechanical or plane error.

According to the NTSB database, Cessna planes have been involved in 25,865 crashes in about 75 years. This includes all Cessna models, not just the Cessna 172 Skyhawk.

Below is a chart with the total number of crashes and fatalities for Cessna planes. While they do seem high at first glance, this is also one of the most flown private planes ever.

Plane Model Crashes Fatalities
Cessna 172 Skyhawk 1521 340
Cessna 172M Skyhawk 781 244
Cessna 172N Skyhawk 1141 425
Cessna 172P Skyhawk 675 234
Cessna 172S Skyhawk 355 Less Than 200

How Does Cessna 172 Skyhawk Compare To Other Planes?

The Cessna 172 Skyhawk is one of the most popular planes in the world, and it is not hard to see why. It is a four-seater, single-engine plane that has been around for a long time now.

But there are other planes worth mentioning with a similar track record in both safety and performance. This includes the Pilatus PC-12 NGX and Diamond DA40 NG.

It’s important to remember that single-engine planes like these and the Cessna 172 Skyhawk are a bit more dangerous than larger commercial planes. They have high crash rates, but these fatal accident rates are much lower than any commercial plane.

Pilatus PC-12 NGX

The Pilatus PC-12 NGX is arguably the safest single-engine plane in the world, and the data can support this statement.

In 9 million hours of flight time, the fatal accident rate is 0.24 crashers per 100,000 hours. This is almost twice as good as the Cessna 172 Skyhawk fatal accident rate.

Diamond DA40 NG

Another amazing single-engine plane with an excellent safety track record is the Diamond DA40 NG. It’s not quite as impressive as the Pilatus PC-12 NGX, but still good.

The estimated fatal crash rate is 0.35 crashes per 100,000 hours of flight time. This ranks ahead of the 172 Skyhawk and near the top in the industry too.