What flight schools need are basic trainers
Sporty’s is acquiring Cessna 172s and equipping them with basic flight instruments along with significant interior and exterior enhancements. The only avionics are a communications radio and a transponder. The 172LITE™ will be used at the Sporty’s Academy flight school and rented for $99 per hour.
A factor not usually considered in attracting new pilot starts is today’s trainers overwhelm beginning students as they stare at dozens of switches, buttons and knobs providing access to unneeded information. For solo training the mission is simple: to launch an airplane into the sky and return it safely to the runway.
The Cessna 172LITE™ teaches the student the fundamentals of airmanship and engine management with only the needed instruments to monitor airspeed, altitude, engine health and simple communications.
Selection of the 172 as the platform for the basic trainer provides several benefits to students, instructors and flight schools. Students will learn from CFIs in the most capable training airplane of all time with the ability to carry the student and instructor without useful load limitations encountered by other training aircraft. Flight schools will have peace of mind knowing service and parts are readily available for the 172 airframe and Lycoming engine.
An acquired Cessna 172 undergoes a thorough inspection by Sporty’s experienced technicians. Any parts not meeting Sporty’s standards are replaced. The engine and propeller are removed and overhauled. The 172LITE™ includes a new metal panel with new, durable switches. Old wiring is removed and replaced if needed and exterior lighting features modern LEDs.
“For a basic trainer – whose primary purpose is to train a client to solo – the communications radio and transponder are all the avionics needed.” says Sporty’s Founder/Chairman Hal Shevers.
Interior and Exterior Gets Work Too
The 172LITE™ will boast new paint (for that attractive first impression). The rear seat is removed, creating a spacious cargo area. In addition to newly upholstered seats, the cabin’s sidewalls, head liner and floor covering are replaced, along with any bad Plexiglas®. Control cables, hinges and torque tubes are inspected, lubricated and replaced as needed. Each airframe system (electrical, fuel, etc.) is checked and components overhauled or replaced – and of course the entire aircraft is inspected for corrosion and corrective action is taken.
“The result is an aircraft that looks new to the client. Due to the low acquisition cost, we can offer it for just $99, lowering the cost of admission in a Part 23 certified aircraft capable of flying with two real-sized adults,” says Shevers. “With only essential instrumentation the student will learn fundamental airmanship. After mastering those necessary skills the student can then advance to more expensive aircraft to complete their training, but it is simply all the airplane a pilot needs all the way through the Recreational Certificate.”
The future of the 172LITE™ program includes adding a second aircraft to Sporty’s flight school and sharing resources, best practices and information with other flight schools interested in assembling their own basic trainer.
For more information on the Cessna 172LITE™, visit sportys.com/172LITE.
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