The popular and longstanding Cessna 172 is the most successful mass produced light aircraft in history. The Civil Air Patrol adopted this robust aircraft for its outstanding search and rescue capabilities. In support of Civil Air Patrol and Air Force ROTC cadets, aircrews conduct orientation flights.
The C-172 is a high wing aircraft ideal for allowing aircrews to search below the aircraft
with no obstructions. The single engine propeller aircraft flies at less than 125 knots maximum speed and can slow to a comfortable 80 knots while conducting search operations.
The C-172 is equipped with direction finding equipment used for searching downed aircraft and boats in distress. During search operations, a typical aircrew consists of three members. The pilot is charged with maintaining safe flight condition and is in command. An observer, who sits to the right of the pilot and is charged with assisting the pilot with radio communications, navigation, and operation of the direction finder. The last crew member, the scanner, sits in the rear and is focused on looking for down aircraft or boats in distress.
The aircraft is also equipped with Satellite-Transmitted Digital System (SDIS) technology. This allows an observer or scanner to take digital photographs and transmit them to a mission base in real time. This feature is an invaluable tool for homeland security, counterdrug, and disaster reconnaissance.
Primary Function: Search & Rescue and Reconnaissance
Wingspan: 36 ft 1 in (11.0 m)
Length: 27 ft 2 in (8.28 m)
Height: 8 ft 11 in (2.72 m)
Crew: 3 (pilot, observer, scanner)
Never exceed speed: 163 knots (187 mph, 302 km/h)
Maximum speed: 123 knots (141 mph, 228 km/h) at sea level
Range: 687 nm (790 mi, 1,272 km) at 60% power at 10,000 ft (3,040 m)
Service Ceiling: 13,500 ft (4,116m)
Rate of Climb: 720 ft/min (3.7 m/s)