I know you're probably thinking, why is he comparing a car and an airplane, that's apples and oranges, and it doesn't matter anyway because I'm not even a pilot. In truth, there might be more similarities than you'd imagine. Here's how this beautiful Cessna Skyhawk 172 holds up against Ford's new venerable V8 fastback.
Now I'll admit that a single-engine Cessna isn't exactly a Ford Mustang muscle car, but if we look closely they're more alike than you might think. For starters, they both have 4 seats but any full size adult that doesn't suffer from a bone growth disorder will cry if you ask them to sit in the rear. As a bonus, you get a free set of fancy seat covers when you buy the airplane.
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Much like the Mustang, this Skyhawk makes an excellent weekend recreational vehicle when you just want to get out and cruise around when the weather's nice, but performs equally well as a tourer is need to to travel on a long trip. And you know its reliable or why else would they have built more 172s than any other aircraft in history.
Okay, so the elephant in the room you're probably expecting me to avoid is the motor. Yes, the Mustang has twice as many cylinders and nobody in the history of the world has ever accused the Skyhawk of being a performance vehicle, but as it turns out, the top speed of 174 mph is 10 faster than the four wheel fastback. Not to mention that it'll cruise with 75% power at a not-to-shabby 132 mph. I wouldn't recommend you cruise in a Mustang at 132 mph outside of the Autobahn. The Ford V8 easily has an advantage in terms of power-to-weight, so don't expect to win any drag races in the little Cessna
While the cockpit of the Skyhawk appears to be well loved, there appears to be ample instrumentation to keep the wings level. You even have the option to fly through clouds if you're into that sort of thing. Sure the Mustang has a fancy whiz bang infotainment system with bluetooth and 12 speakers that the Cessna lacks, but I can verify that looking down at all the suckers dodging orange barrels will be more entertainment than that touchscreen HD Radio. If you're really pressed for some traveling tunes, you at least get a iPod stereo input.
So if you're in the market for a Ford Mustang GT and all excited to find that perfect fastback with the fancy new independent rear suspension, then I thinks its become abundantly clear that a 50 year old used Cessna Skyhawk in excellent conditions is really the vehicle you're shopping for.
Now that you've made up your mind, there's the little issue on not being a pilot. Good thing you've found an airplane that meets all your needs and the $7,000 you saved means there's ample cash left in the budget to earn a pilot certificate! If you're already a pilot, just think how much gas all that extra cash will buy.
Chris is a pilot who loves airplanes and cars and his writing has been seen on Jalopnik. Contact him with questions or comments via twitter or email.