Alyssa Miller

My favorite sneakers…with wings

April 29, 2010 by Alyssa Miller, AOPA Online Managing Editor

Do you have a favorite airplane that you absolutely love to fly—not just because it’s fun or exciting, but because it is so familiar, like a pair of ratty, worn sneakers that are extremely comfortable but you can’t wear in public?

For me, that’s a Cessna 172. It was my training airplane of choice for the recreational, private, instrument, and part of the commercial. I feel more at home in that aircraft than any other. But, I haven’t flown it very much this year. Most of my time has been divided between an Arrow and a Remos. I enjoyed flying both, but it wasn’t until I recently went up in a Skyhawk with a CFII to get instrument current that I realized how much I had missed it.

I must have missed it big time. I was as happy as a clam running my hands over the bug-crusted leading edges and greasy landing gear. I cherished the smelly cockpit (it’s a trainer, so it gets lots of sweaty students). And I loved checking all 13 fuel sumps! Pure joy…and that was just the preflight.

Flying it was so easy. My approaches came right in line even though I hadn’t done any hoodwork for seven months. My speeds were right on. My instructor and I had fun shooting an approach and landing at a 1,840-foot-long, 30-foot-wide runway that sloped downhill (yes, that’s excitement for someone based at a flat 5,220-foot-long runway).

Part of the fun was flying purely for pleasure, not training toward a certificate or for business, which has accounted for 90 percent of my flight time this year. But most of the joy came simply from being in a Cessna 172, my favorite sneakers with wings.

3 Responses to “My favorite sneakers…with wings”

  1. Andrew Leonard Says:

    Agreed. Most of my time has been Cessna, split between 152, 172, and 206 time, with a little bit (well, maybe 40 hours) of Bellanca Scout time in there as well. The 172 still feels very comfortable to get into.

    The 172 with 13 fuel sumps – are you talking about the R model? I always liked not having to deal with a carburetor on that model but the starting procedures were a little strange compared to what I was used to.

  2. Alyssa Miller Says:

    Hi Leonard, yes, I was flying the R model. Glad you like the Cessna’s too!

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