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, including a number of minor design changes and a slightly more powerful engine running on 100LL aviation gasoline.
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. Additional design goals were to improve useful load through a gross weight increase to 1670 lbs (757 kg), decrease internal and external noise levels and run better on the then newly introduced 100LL fuel.
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.
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 andFA152 Aerobat aerobatic variants, had been built worldwide.
All Cessna 152s were manufactured with a Lycoming O-235 engine. 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.
Cessna 152s produced between 1977 and 1982 were equipped with Lycoming O-235-L2C engines producing 110 hp (82 kW) at 2550 rpm. This engine still suffered some lead-fouling problems in service and was succeeded in 1983 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.
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 dihedralangle. 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.
Dual controls are available as optional equipment on the Cessna 152 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.
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 (2.3 m) wheelbase.
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.
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.
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.
The standard tires used are 600 X 6 on the main gear and 500 X 5 on the nosewheel.
There are hundreds of modifications available for the Cessna 152. The most frequently installed include:
Tailwheel landing gear
Taildragger conversions such as the ‘Texas Taildragger’ conversion 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.
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. 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. 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). 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 overhaul is reduced from 2,400 hours to 2,000 hours.
Other popular modifications include:
- Flap gap seals to reduce drag and increase rate of climb.
- Different wingtips, some of which claim various cruise speed increases and stall speed reductions.
- Auto fuel STCs, which permit the use of automobile fuel instead of the more expensive aviation fuel.
- Auxiliary fuel tanks for greater range.
- Door catches to replace the factory ones that often fail in service.
- Belly fuel drain valves to drain fuel from the lowest point in the fuel system.