Public Agency Sale: 1979 Cessna 172N Skyhawk

Bidding is quite active for this 1979 Cessna 172 Skyhawk, which is listed on eBay as “Public Agency Sale” in Hayward, California. This type of sales arrangement, as far as I know, usually denotes some sort of government entity holding a stake in the item in question. What, exactly, a town needs a pretty Cessna for is beyond me, but at least it sheds some light on where our tax dollars go. Find the Skyhawk here on eBay (and check out the old-school VW Bus!) with bidding already north of $36,000 and seven days left in the auction.

You don’t have to Google too far before you see the plaudits for the 172 start coming in: more of these planes have been built than any other model, and it’s considered one of the most popular in aviation history. The 172 is still made by Cessna today, albeit updated with all of the modern gear you’d expect. It almost seems like it’s the Honda Accord of the skies, as it’s marketed as both an excellent training plane or capable of delivering the in-flight qualities a more seasoned pilot would appreciate. This one, by the way, has great colors and presence.

The seller notes it hasn’t flown in decades but was owned by a NASA / Moffett Field employee who took great care of the aircraft. This wouldn’t surprise me, as I feel like engineers in general over-index on getting the details right, and I imagine one that worked for the government’s premier space agency would likely consider it a grievous offense if his personal aircraft was in disarray. Still, the seller notes that all of the time sitting hasn’t been good for it, and the engine will need attention. Lots of receipts and records accompany the plane.

The seller notes the plane is equipped with the following: “…Altitude 3 Encoder, Blind, Strobe Lights, 400 Marker Beacon, 400 Glideslope 40ch w/VOR/ILS, 300 VOR/LOC Ind. w auto Radial Centering.” For our plane geeks, how does that all sound? While the public agency sale dynamics mean you have to show up to move this stalled aircraft at a specific time, the seller does note their are mechanics’ hangars on the property. Is this Cessna worth dragging to a new location? My guess is yes, based on the active bidding we’re seeing here.


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  1. Haig Haleblian

    Dated avionics but certainly usable. I like this bird. 172’s are work horse’s. I suspect it will go for a lot more than the current bid.

    Like 4
  2. geomechs geomechs Member

    A lot of memories in a 172. These almost flew themselves. I remember hearing that a 172 won’t spin. I have news for you: it will. But just the same they were easy to fly and fairly efficient to run. Just that government red tape that is required. Once again the buyer is going to be overwhelmed with inspections and possibly an engine rebuild. Nonetheless if I could swing it I would probably be willing to give it another chance.

    As far as equating this to a Honda Accord for reliability, if a 172 was as reliable as an Accord, I wouldn’t fly one. JMHO.

    Like 7
    • Steve P

      You bet they will spin, all though sometimes it took a little help from the throttle. Spin training isn’t required for the private pilot license, but I would demonstrate to my students just to take the mystery out of all the discussion. Our 172 had the 180hp STC, fixed pitch prop, which made it a mice trainer at our airport of 6300′ elevation.

      Like 2
  3. Haig Haleblian

    I was taught to spin in a 172…if you want to call it a spin. As docile a plane as you can get

    Like 1
  4. Dave Suton

    I don’t get the Honda Accord reference. The Cessna has to be more reliable than some Japanese car that prematurely rusts out and has deadly airbags that kill people. Plus the Cessna is a good looking vehicle. Honda has never made anything remotely attractive

    Like 10
  5. Mike

    I like the their statement of “There will be a forklift to assist in loading to a trailer or flatbed.” So I take it that the wings fold up?

    Like 3
    • grant

      They come off.

      Like 2
    • Steve P

      They only fold up on impact

      Like 4
  6. Karl

    The 172 is a very decent plane if you hear a plane flying over you anytime there is at least a 50 percent chance it’s a 172. The new owner is going to have a fair bit of pretty expensive inspections and updates to do before it gets it’s airworthiness stamp again. The word decades was used since it last flew does not bode well for not only the engine but for everything else also, that’s a long time for corrosion to progress and who knows how many ADs have been issued on the plane since it was parked? Good plane but it’s going to take some effort, time and possibly a good bit of money depending on engine time and conditions to get this bird in the air again but with all that said it is very likely worth it depending on the purchase price?

    Like 4
  7. Christopher

    Nothing said about logbooks? No books, you have to zero time the engine. UGH. Upsized Cessna 150. Just remove the wings, put it on a trailer and take it home unless you can get a ferry permit. Drain the fluids, put in fresh, check to make sure the rats haven’t moved in and fly it away.

    Like 2
    • Johnny

      Oh and the air pressure in the tires. Unless they were UPDATED with SOLID RUBBER TIRES. HAHAHA. Alot of work and paper work to check off on. Gotta make a job for someone in government .That knows nothing of what they get hired to do. They hire by degree NOT on the job experience.

      • Steve P

        Or common sense

  8. David Frank David Frank Member

    The 172 is indeed iconic and most popular. With over 44,000 172s built it is the highest number of any GA airplane built by far. My brother flies his 172 into Hayward a few times a week on his way to work at SFO. I’ve never heard anyone claim they won’t stall, but their stall accident rate isn’t too high. Overall, the 172 has had a much lower accident rate than other GA aircraft with a fatal accident rate of only .5 per 100,000 hours as opposed to almost 2 per 100K in the rest of the fleet. The only nasty habit I’ve ever found was landing in a crosswind with full flaps. If you slip it too far, it blanks out the vertical stabilizer and rolls. (I tried this at about 5,000 feet and yup, it stalls and rolls, but a quick push on the yoke gets it flying again but it still loses about 1000 feet)
    Folks are bidding crazy money for this 172. There are registered examples for sale for between 45 and 65K. If the engine is in good enough shape as a rebuildable core, the rebuild will be at least 20K. Hopefully, the paperwork and logs for this bird are really complete. After sitting at Hayward for so many years there is likely corrosion, especially in the spar attach points, gear attach points and rudder spar. An annual inspection could well be a disaster. The avionics are out of date and it will soon be required to have ADS B installed. This could be another 20 or 30K for avionics.

    Like 5
    • geomechs geomechs Member

      I was told that if you ran into trouble in a 172, just let go of the controls and it will correct itself. I never tried that; maybe I was being cautious did my best not to get into those situations. I heard of a couple of flying instructors getting one into a flat spin that they almost didn’t get out of. I guess they got the doors open and that offset the weight forward enough to bring the nose down. I learned to fly in a crosswind; it was so common out west that I sometimes wondered what it would be like to actually land directly into the wind…

      Like 2
  9. Karl

    Even if I had a ferry permit in hand I would change all fluids change the tires and check the bearings, go through all the flight control surfaces and after checking all the avionics I would still bring a hand held transmitter/received just in case. Oh don’t forget going through the entire fuel system, guarantee the carb will need a lot of attention after this length of time. Personally I would feel a lot better removing the wings and hauling it to my FBO!

    Like 1
  10. Eigil

    ..why not just teleport from location..?

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