The Cessna 152 is an American two-seat, fixed-tricycle-gear, general aviation airplane, used primarily for flight training and personal use. It was based on the earlier Cessna 150 incorporating a number of minor design changes and a slightly more powerful engine with a longer time between overhaul.

Cessna 152
Cessna 152
Role Basic trainer,
GA private aircraft
National origin United States
Manufacturer Cessna
Introduction 1977
Primary users Mexican Navy
Bangladesh Army
Bolivian Air Force
Produced 1977–1985
Number built 7,584
Developed from Cessna 150

The Cessna 152 has been out of production for more than thirty years, but many are still airworthy and are still in regular use for flight training.


One of the first Cessna 152s produced, a 1978 model year built in 1977
1978 Cessna 152

First delivered in 1977 as the 1978 model year, the 152 was a modernization of the proven Cessna 150 design. The 152 was intended to compete with the new Beechcraft Skipper and Piper Tomahawk, both of which were introduced the same year.[1] Additional design goals were to improve useful load through a gross weight increase to 1,670 lb (760 kg), decrease internal and external noise levels and run better on the then newly introduced 100LL fuel.[2]

As with the 150, the great majority of 152s were built at the Cessna factory in Wichita, Kansas. A number of aircraft were also built by Reims Aviation of France and given the designation F152/FA152.[1]

Production of the 152 was ended in 1985 when Cessna ended production of all of their light aircraft; by that time, a total of 7,584 examples of the 152, including A152 and FA152 Aerobat aerobatic variants, had been built worldwide.

In 2007 Cessna announced that it would build a light-sport successor, designated the Model 162 Skycatcher,[3] although production ended in 2013.



All Cessna 152s were manufactured with a Lycoming O-235 engine which has been in production since 1942. The Lycoming provided not only an increase in engine power over the Cessna 150, but also was more compatible with the newer 100LL low-lead fuel.[1]

Cessna 152s produced between 1977 and 1982 were equipped with Lycoming O-235-L2C engines producing 110 hp (82 kW) at 2,550 rpm. This engine still suffered some lead-fouling problems in service. In 1983 it was succeeded by the 108 hp (81 kW) O-235-N2C which featured a different piston design and a redesigned combustion chamber to reduce this problem. The N2C engine was used until 152 production ended in 1985.[1]


The airframe is mainly of metal construction. being primarily of 2024-T3 aluminum alloy with riveted skin. Components such as wingtips and fairings are made from glass-reinforced plastic. The fuselage is a semi-monocoque with vertical bulkheads and frames joined by longerons running the length of the fuselage. The wings are of a strut-braced design and have a 1 degree dihedral angle. The tapered (outboard) portion of each wing has one degree of washout (the chord of the tip section has one degree lower angle of attack than the chord at the end of the constant-width section). This allows greater aileron effectiveness during a stall.[4]

The 1978 model has a one piece cowling nose bowl that requires removing the propeller to remove it. The 1979 model introduced a split-nose cowling nose bowl that can be removed without removing the propeller.[5]

Flying controlsEdit

Instrument panel

Dual controls are available as optional equipment on the Cessna 152[4] and almost all 152s have this option installed.

The Cessna 152 is equipped with differential ailerons that move through 20 degrees upwards and 15 degrees downwards. It has single-slotted flaps which are electrically operated and deploy to a maximum of 30 degrees. The rudder can move 23 degrees to either side and is fitted with a ground-adjustable trim tab. The elevators move up through 25 degrees and down through 18 degrees. An adjustable trim tab is installed on the right elevator and is controlled by a small wheel in the center of the control console. The trim tab moves 10 degrees up and 20 degrees down relative to the elevator chordline.[4]

Landing gearEdit

The Cessna 152 is equipped with fixed tricycle landing gear. The main gear has tubular steel legs surrounded by a full-length fairing with a step for access to the cabin. The main gear has a 7 ft 7 in (2.31 m) wheelbase.[1]

The nosewheel is connected to the engine mount and has an oleo strut to dampen and absorb normal operating loads. The nosewheel is steerable through eight degrees either side of neutral and can castor under differential braking up to 30 degrees. It is connected to the rudder pedals through a spring linkage.[4]

The braking system consists of single disc brake assemblies fitted to the main gear and operated by a hydraulic system. Brakes are operated by pushing on the top portion of the rudder pedals. It is possible to use differential braking when taxiing and this allows very tight turns to be made.[4]

The 152 is also fitted with a parking brake system. It is applied by depressing both toe brakes and then pulling the "Park Brake" lever to the pilot's left. The toe brakes are then released but pressure is maintained in the system thereby leaving both brakes engaged.[4]

The standard tires used are 600 X 6 on the main gear and 500 X 5 on the nosewheel.[1]


There are hundreds of modifications available for the Cessna 152. The most frequently installed include:

Tailwheel landing gearEdit

Taildragger conversions are available and have been fitted to some 152s. It involves strengthening the fuselage for the main gear being moved further forward, removing the nosewheel and strengthening the tail area for the tailwheel. This greatly improves short field performance and is claimed to give up to a 10 kn (19 km/h) cruise speed increase.[6][7]

STOL kitsEdit

The wings can be modified using a number of STOL modification kits, some improving high speed/cruise performance but most concentrating on STOL performance. Horton's STOL kit is one of the better-known of the latter. It involves fitting a more cambered leading edge cuff to increase the maximum coefficient of lift, fitting fences at the aileron/flap intersection and fitting drooped wingtips. Stalls with these modifications are almost off the airspeed indicator, since instrument error is high at high angles of attack.[6][7] It has been said that landings can be achieved in two fuselage lengths with the kit installed in addition to a taildragger modification, by balancing power against drag.[7] Takeoff performance is also improved by varying degrees depending on the surface.


The engine's power can be increased by various modifications, such as the Sparrow Hawk power package, increasing it to 125 hp (93 kW).[6][7] The disadvantage of the Sparrow Hawk conversion is that it uses pistons from the O-235-F series engine and therefore the engine recommended time between overhauls is reduced from 2,400 hours to 2,000 hours.[8]

Other modificationsEdit

Other popular modifications include:

  • Flap gap seals to reduce drag and increase rate of climb.[6]
  • Different wingtips, some of which claim various cruise speed increases and stall speed reductions.[6]
  • Auto fuel STCs, which permit the use of automobile fuel instead of the more expensive aviation fuel.
  • Auxiliary fuel tanks for greater range.[6]
  • Door catches to replace the factory ones that often fail in service.[6]
  • Belly fuel drain valves to drain fuel from the lowest point in the fuel system.[6]


A 1978 Cessna 152 landing
A 1980 A152 Aerobat with its distinctive factory paint scheme
A 1985 Reims-built F152
Front view of a Cessna 152

Cessna 152 has only 4 model variants: 152, F152, A152, FA152 (all equipped with the Lycoming O-235):

Two-seat light touring aircraft, fitted with a fixed tricycle landing gear, powered by a 110 hp (82 kW) Lycoming O-235-L2C piston engine, 6628 built.[9] Available with a number of avionic options, aside from the standard Model 152 there was a 152 II with an enhanced package of standard avionics and trim features. [1] Type approved in 1977 and produced as 1978 to 1985 model years.[10]
A152 Aerobat
Two-seat aerobatic-capable aircraft, 315 built.[9] Certified for +6/-3 Gs and had standard four-point harnesses, skylights and jettisonable doors, along with a checkerboard paint scheme and removable seat cushions to allow parachutes to be worn by the crew.[1][2] Type approved in 1977 and produced as 1978 to 1985 model years.[10] The following aerobatic maneuvers are approved: chandelles, steep turns, barrel rolls, snap rolls, loops, vertical reversements, lazy eights, spins, aileron rolls, Immelmann turns, Cuban eights and stalls (except whip stalls).[10]
Reims-built Model 152, 552 built.[9]
FA152 Aerobat
Reims-built Model A152, 89 built.[9]
C152 II
With Nav Pac equipment package, which included better quality avionics for IFR flying and additional interior equipment, which makes it a little more basic weight.[1]
C152 T
Flight school equipment package, with "T" denoting "trainer" and not a sub-model.[1]
C152 Aviat
Not a special model but a general overhaul and rebuilt of Cessna 152s by Aviat.[11]


Civilian operatorsEdit

The 152 is popular with flight training organizations and is also widely operated by private individuals.

Military operatorsEdit

A 1981 Reims-built FA152 Aerobat

Incidents and accidentsEdit

  • On 9 May 1989, a man who had murdered his ex-wife earlier that evening stole a Cessna 152T at gunpoint from an employee at Beverly Municipal Airport. During the flight, which lasted over three hours, Alfred James Hunter III fired a semi-automatic AK-47 rifle[19][20][21] at the ground below, buzzed the South Postal Annex in Boston several times, and briefly touched down at Logan International Airport before taking off again. He was arrested when he finally landed with just five minutes' worth of fuel remaining.[22]
  • On 24 May 2001, a Cessna 152 violated Israeli airspace and was shot down by an IDAF AH-64 Apache. Estephan Nicolian, a Lebanese student pilot, was shot down after ignoring repeated warnings by Israeli ATC to turn back. This is one of the two only-known operational air-to-air kills using an AGM-114 Hellfire missile.[23][24]

Specifications (Cessna 152)Edit

View of the underside of a Cessna 152

Data from Cessna 152 Pilot's Operating Handbook[4]

General characteristics

  • Crew: one
  • Capacity: one passenger (plus two children not exceeding 120 lb (54 kg) on optional baggage compartment bench seat)
  • Length: 24 ft 1 in (7.34 m)
  • Wingspan: 33 ft 4 in (10.16 m)
  • Height: 8 ft 6 in (2.59 m)
  • Wing area: 160 sq ft (15 m2)
  • Empty weight: 1,081 lb (490 kg)
  • Gross weight: 1,670 lb (757 kg)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Lycoming O-235-L2C flat-4 engine, 110 hp (82 kW)
  • Propellers: 2-bladed fixed pitch, 69-inch (180 cm) McCauley or 72-inch Sensenich propeller


  • Maximum speed: 126 mph (203 km/h, 109 kn)
  • Cruise speed: 123 mph (198 km/h, 107 kn)
  • Stall speed: 49 mph (79 km/h, 43 kn) (power off, flaps down)
  • Range: 477 mi (768 km, 415 nmi)
  • Ferry range: 795 mi (1,279 km, 691 nmi) with long-range tanks
  • Service ceiling: 14,700 ft (4,500 m)
  • Rate of climb: 715 ft/min (3.63 m/s)

See alsoEdit

Related development

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration, and era

Related lists


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Clarke, William ‘Bill’ (1987), Cessna 150 and 152 (1st ed.), TAB Books, pp. 26–95, ISBN 0-8306-9022-0.
  2. ^ a b "1978 Aircraft Directory", Plane and Pilot, Santa Monica, CA: Werner & Werner, p. 23, 1977, ISBN 0-918312-00-0.
  3. ^ "Cessna Announces Light Sport Aircraft Details" (press release). Cessna Aircraft. July 22, 2007. Archived from the original on August 25, 2007. Retrieved September 28, 2007.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Cessna Aircraft Company: 1978 Cessna 152 Pilot's Operating Handbook Change 1, pp. 7-3 to 7-33. Cessna Aircraft Company, Wichita, Kansas, 1977.
  5. ^ Phillips, Edward H.: Wings of Cessna, Model 120 to the Citation III, p. 12, Flying Books, 1986. ISBN 0-911139-05-2
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h Clarke, Bill: Cessna 150 and 152 first edition, pp. 197–212. TAB Books, 1987. ISBN 0-8306-9022-0.
  7. ^ a b c d Grimstead, Bob: Texas Taildragger 152, pp. 14–22. Pilot Magazine UK, January 2007.
  8. ^ Lycoming, "Lycoming Service Instruction No. 1009AU" Archived January 2, 2013, at the Wayback Machine.Lycoming, November 18, 2009.
  9. ^ a b c d Simpson 1991, p. 97.
  10. ^ a b c "Type Certificate Data Sheet 3A19" (PDF). Federal Aviation Administration. March 28, 2008. Retrieved November 30, 2011.
  11. ^ Aviat Aircraft (2021). "152 Reimagined". Archived from the original on May 6, 2021. Retrieved May 28, 2021.
  12. ^ Chris Thornburg. "World Air Forces Argentina Air Force". Archived from the original on July 4, 2013. Retrieved December 24, 2013.
  13. ^ "Training Aircraft Inducted in Bangladesh Army". Inter-Services Public Relations (in Bengali). December 12, 2019. Retrieved February 21, 2021.
  14. ^ Siegrist 1987, pp. 175, 194.
  15. ^ Andrade 1982, p. 28.
  16. ^ Andrade 1982, p. 77.
  17. ^ Andrade 1982, p. 147.
  18. ^ Chris Thornburg. "World Air Forces Mexico Air Force". Archived from the original on January 25, 2012. Retrieved December 24, 2013.
  20. ^ "HUNTER, COMMONWEALTH vs., 427 Mass. 651".
  21. ^ "Suspect steals plane, fires down on city before giving up".
  22. ^ "Man kills wife, steals plane". Associated Press. May 10, 1989. Retrieved August 12, 2011.
  23. ^ Horesh, Amikam, Sharon Roffe, Jonathan Lis, Raanan Ben-Zur and Ali Waked. (July 2011). "Lebanese Cessna plane was shot down over the trawl (Hebrew language)". Yedioth Internet. Retrieved July 31, 2011.
  24. ^ "Israel shoots down Lebanese civilian plane". Cable News Network (CNN). May 24, 2001. Retrieved July 27, 2017.
  • Andrade, John (1979). US Military Aircraft Designations and Serials since 1909. Midland Counties Publications. ISBN 0-904597-22-9.
  • Phillips, Edward H. (1986). Wings of Cessna, Model 120 to the Citation III. Flying Books. ISBN 0-911139-05-2.
  • Siegrist, Martin (October 1987). "Bolivian Air Power — 70 Years On". Air International. Vol. 33, no. 4. pp. 170–176, 194. ISSN 0306-5634.
  • Simpson, RW (1991). Airlife's General Aviation. England, UK: Airlife Publishing. ISBN 1-85310-194-X.

External linksEdit