Cessna 175 Skylark
The Cessna 175 Skylark is a single-engine piston aircraft with fixed gear. The 175 is a high-wing airplane produced by Cessna between 1958 and 1962 serial numbers 1 through 7119. It seats up to 3 passengers and 1 pilot.
Wing span: 36ft
Length: 26ft 6in
Height: 8ft 11in
Max TO weight 2350 LBS
Empty Weight: 1,325 LBS
Maximum Load: 1025
Fuel capacity: 61 GAL
Manufacturer: Continental Motor
Horsepower: 175 HP
Overhaul (HT): 1200hr TBO
Years before overhaul: 12
Performance specifications on Model 175C (1962)
|Horsepower: 175.00||Gross Weight: 2,450|
|Top Speed: 123||Empty Weight: 1,325|
|Cruise Speed: 118||Fuel Capacity: 52|
|Stall Speed (dirty): 56||Range: 589|
|Rate of Climb: 790||Rate of Climb (One Engine):|
|Service Ceiling: 14,500||Ceiling (One Engine):|
|Ground Roll: 835||Ground Roll 690|
|Takeoff Roll Over 50 ft: 1,450||Landing Roll Over 50 ft: 1,170|
The 175 was designed to fill a niche between the Cessna 172 and the faster Cessna 182. The engine of the 175, a geared version of the O-300 (Continental GO-300) used in the 172, is rated at 175 hp (130 kW), or 30 hp (22 kW) more than the 172 engine. Between 1958 and 1962, a total of 2,106 were built. The basic airplane was marketed as the 175, and the plane with a package of optional equipment and overall paint (a partial paint scheme was used on the basic model) was marketed as the Skylark.
The airframe of the 175 is all metal, constructed of aluminum alloy. The fuselage is a semi-monocoque structure, with exterior skin sheets riveted to formers and longerons. The strut-braced wings, likewise, are constructed of exterior skin sheets riveted to spars and ribs. The landing gear of the 175 is in a tricycle arrangement, with main gear legs made of spring steel, along with a steerable nosewheel connected through an oleo strut used for shock absorption.
While it incorporates airframe changes to accommodate an increased gross weight, the 175 is similar in appearance to the 172 of the same vintage. The most noticeable difference is the distinctive hump in the forward cowling of later series airplanes to accommodate the engine's reduction gear. Although externally identical to the 172, the 175 was built to a different type certificate, although most parts aft of the firewall are interchangeable. The 172XP and T-41B/C/D Mescalero share the 175 type certificate.
The GO-300 engine
An unusual feature of the 175 is the geared Continental GO-300 engine. Whereas most single-engine airplanes use direct drive, this engine drives the propeller through a reducing gearbox, so the engine runs at 3200 rpm to turn the propeller at 2400 rpm (4:3). The GO-300 engine suffered reliability problems and helped give the 175 a poor reputation. Some Skylarks flying today have been converted to larger-displacement direct-drive engines though almost 90% still retain the GO-300.
The GO-300's tainted reputation is largely undeserved, since its problems were the result of pilots who were unfamiliar with gear reduction engines, simply not operating the engine at the higher RPMs specified in the C-175 Pilot's Operating Handbook. Pilots unfamiliar with the engine often operate the engine at the low RPM settings (2300–2700) appropriate to direct-drive engines, while the 175's Operating Handbook calls for cruising at 2900 RPM. The low RPM causes harmonic vibration in the reduction gear between the quill shaft (that turned the propeller) and crankshaft, and the low power results in low airspeeds that prevents the engine's air-cooling system from operating effectively, resulting in chronic reliability problems for engines not operated at the recommended power settings.
THE 175 LIVES ON
Cessna 175 and P172D production ceased in 1963, after a total production run of 2,118 aircraft. The Skylark was abandoned—almost.
In addition to the three FP172Ds which had been delivered to European buyers by Reims Aviation, a fourth airframe had been shipped to France.
In mid-1963, Reims engineers converted this airframe into a prototype military liaison aircraft. It featured a 210 hp Continental IO-360-D powerplant matched with a constant-speed propeller.
This proof-of-concept would inspire a number of variants—several of which Cessna eventually certified under the 175 Type Certificate, including the US Air Force T-41B through D (and non-USAF versions, the R172E through J) and the R172K Hawk XP (profiled in the April 2018 issue of Cessna Flyer).
Cessna produced 2,080 of these IO-360-powered “172s” which were, at least from a certification basis standpoint, 175s.
Though the Reims Rocket is nearly equivalent to the T-41B and shares a common ancestry, it is not included on the 175’s Type Certificate, nor was the French-produced FR172K Hawk XP.
In late 1978, Cessna created a version of the airframe with a retractable undercarriage, a 180 hp Lycoming O-360-F1A6 engine and a three-bladed constant-speed prop. This aircraft, the 172RG Cutlass RG, though a 172 in name, is also on the 175 Type Certificate. 1,191 172RGs were produced between 1980 and 1985.
In total, some 3,271 of these “175 derivatives” left the Cessna factory.
The early positive reception for the 175, the later success of “souped-up 172s” like the R172K Hawk XP, and the number of STC’d 180 hp conversions of legacy 172 airframes demonstrated that there was, and still is, a market for an airplane that is a step up from a standard 172.
Many of the higher-powered versions of the 172 in fact belong to the 175 type design, such as the P172D Powermatic; the military T-41B, -C, and -D; the R172J and R172K Hawk XP; and the retractable-gear 172RG.
175 Skylark (1958-1959) Serial Numbers 1-238
Powered by the 175 hp (130 kW) Continental GO-300A or -300C engine, gross weight 2,350 lb (1,066 kg), certified 14 January 1958
175A Skylark (1960) Serial Numbers 239 through 777
Powered by the 175 hp (130 kW) Continental GO-300C or -300D engine, landplane gross weight 2,350 lb (1,066 kg), seaplane gross weight 2,450 lb (1,111 kg), certified 28 August 1959
175B Skylark (1961) Serial Numbers 778 through 7002
Powered by the 175 hp (130 kW) Continental GO-300C or -300D engine, landplane gross weight 2,350 lb (1,066 kg), seaplane gross weight 2,450 lb (1,111 kg), certified 14 June 1960
175C Skylark (1962) Serial Numbers 7003 through 7119
Powered by the 175 hp (130 kW) Continental GO-300E, gross weight 2,450 lb (1,111 kg), certified 18 September 1961 Constant speed propeller standard. Base price $14,125
P172D Powermatic Skyhawk (1963)
Powered by the 175 hp (130 kW) Continental GO-300E and a cruise speed 11 mph (18 km/h) faster than the standard 172D. In reality this was not a new model, but a Cessna 175 Skylark that had been renamed for its last year of production. The Skylark had gained a reputation for poor engine reliability, and the renaming of it as a 172 was a marketing attempt to regain sales through rebranding. The move was not a success, and neither the 1963 Powermatic nor the Skylark were produced again after the 1963 model year.
Cessna upped the MTOW to 2,500 pounds, which gave the P172D an impressive 1,100 pounds of useful load. The P172D dropped the fastback fuselage and received the “OmniVision” rear window. It also was fitted with cowl flaps for better engine cooling.
However, the market didn’t bend. Only 72 of the Powermatics were built; 69 in the United States and three which were assembled under license by Reims Aviation in France as FP172Ds. (The “F” prefix was for “French-produced.”)
Specifications (Cessna 175C)
Data from Jane's All the World's Aircraft 1962–63
Capacity: 3 passengers
Length: 26 ft 6 in (8.08 m)
Wingspan: 36 ft 2 in (11.02 m)
Height: 8 ft 11 in (2.72 m)
Wing area: 175 sq ft (16.3 m2)
Aspect ratio: 7.52:1
Airfoil: NACA 2412
Empty weight: 1,410 lb (640 kg)
Max takeoff weight: 2,450 lb (1,111 kg)
Fuel capacity: 52 US gal (43 imp gal; 200 L)
Powerplant: 1 × Continental GO-300-E air-cooled flat-six engine, 175 hp (130 kW)
Maximum speed: 150 mph (240 km/h, 130 kn) at sea level
Cruise speed: 104 mph (167 km/h, 90 kn) (economy cruise)
Stall speed: 55 mph (89 km/h, 48 kn) (flaps extended)
Range: 720 mi (1,160 km, 630 nmi) at economy cruise, no reserves
Service ceiling: 17,800 ft (5,400 m)
Rate of climb: 950 ft/min (4.8 m/s)
Take-off run to 50 ft (15 m): 1,205 ft (367 m)
Landing distance from 50 ft (15 m): 1,200 ft (370 m)