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Jul 29, 2010

Something different at lunchtime in Martin Place

Tamas Calderwood was walking through an unseasonally warm and sodden Martin Place yesterday when he noticed and imaged something novel. It is a Cessna Skyhawk (172), the latest v


Lunch time aviation alert. Last days for the Martin Place Cessna!
Lunch time aviation alert. Last days for the Martin Place Cessna!

Tamas Calderwood was walking through an unseasonally warm and sodden Martin Place yesterday when he noticed and imaged something novel.

It is a Cessna Skyhawk (172), the latest version of the best selling and most flown aircraft ever, on display as part of a promotion by Aeromil Pacific-Cessna.

Be careful if you step inside the marquee hangar today or tomorrow. Not only will you find a flight simulator in which you can take the 172, with its new ‘glass’ cockpit and navigational aids up and down Sydney Harbour, and do all sort of illegal things with impunity, but you can also ‘lose it’ before the lunchtime crowd, even in this almost completely fool proof design of a fantastic light plane.

And hang onto you wallet. Sales people loiter within tent. They will try to charm you out of $3 million for a mini-jet Cessna Mustang, or considerably more than $10 million for something flash in the faster, further and bigger part of the Citation range.

But give me a 172. Take me back, way back. Over the top of Mt Wellington, over incredibly dense forests, on my first Cessna ride from the Cambridge strip into the south-west wilderness of Tasmania, where the serrations of the Eastern and Western Arthurs ranges still held secrets, to a landing on the dazzling white quartzite sands of the unflooded Lake Pedder of the early 60s. Or back to the ski-equipped version that struggled against the added drag to take climbers to the Grand Plateau, Tasman Saddle and Pioneer Hut in NZ in the mid 60s. Amid those who have flown to the places less travelled, who hasn’t memories of this superb but simple work horse, the FJ Holden of the skies?

The fun ends tomorrow.


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6 thoughts on “Something different at lunchtime in Martin Place

  1. David Klein

    Ben, your nostalgia flying the placid Cessna172 makes me cringe with my first piloting adventures in a Piper Tomahawk. You really missed out on the thrill of thinking the back end of the aircraft was going to separate in a stall, as the T-tail gave a disconcerting oil canning effect to the rest of the flimsy fuselage. Don’t even talk about incipient spins.

  2. Peter Lovett

    Ah Ben, I remember well the flights from Cambridge, where I learnt to fly, to Lake Pedder. The absolute stillness after turning the engine off on landing on a beach up to a kilometre wide; of being able to go swimming in either the lake or Maria Creek and feeling the warmth of the first few centimetres of water which being tannin stained had absorbed the sun’s rays; of being able to wade hundreds of metres out into the lake because it was so shallow. Great days.

  3. Bill Parker

    A superb aircraft, one to feel safe in and a joy to sit next to pilots who loved their flying machine. And that was doing aerial photography in the 80s.

  4. Speaking of aircraft in odd places – Plane Talking

    […] Skip to content « Something different at lunchtime in Martin Place […]

  5. Quizzical

    David, I remember the arrival of the first Tommy at CFT and it converted me to a headset. In those days (before the realisation of the reduced wing ribs) spinning was allowed. But, they were designed – with the help of many CFI – as a trainer and that they were.

    Later the Cessna 172 relaunch in Australia (the R from memory) and the joy of jumping into one near brand new with one fuel gauge on empty and the other on full – yet the tank selector on both. Ah, tap the gauge and both now on full. What fine quality (not) and it got me thinking what would happen to the USA aircraft market if the Japanese ever got fair dinkum about producing light aircraft with quality.

    Having owned a Cessna I still feel the same. For the price, the comparison with what the motorist expects – nay demands – is alarming. And I don’t just apply that comment to Cessna.

    Good luck to the current promotion. CASA is undertaking an ageing aircraft program with the likely inevitable consequences and that just might create a market for some new aircraft – for those who can afford purchase AND maintenance.

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    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Matthew Povey, Ben Sandilands. Ben Sandilands said: A Cessna 172 in Martin Place? Unbidden come the memories of glory days @http://tiny.cc/ccuwu […]


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