Cessna 172       N5008A                         (c/.n    unknown)


                                        In 1956 the general aviation scene was changed considerably with the general introduction of
                                        the tricycle landing gear.  It could be likened, I suppose, to the advent of the automatic transmission
                                        in the automobile.   Once you have driven the latter, the stick shift is either passé or, in some cases
                                        (like my wife), not doable.  In other words, the day of the taildragger, as far as flying instruction
                                        was concerned, was over.  Cessna introduced the 172 late in 1956.  Here is a brand new one in
                                        1957.    Arguably the most successful light plane ever built, this early 170 spawned countless
                                        model variations and advancements over the years and is still in production (with a hiatus in
                                        the 1990s when production ceased due to high litigation awards in the US courts**).  To date
                                        some 35,000 have been produced.  
                                        ** The scenario went thusly:   John Doe bought himself a Cessna, say a new 172 Skyhawk.  A
                                        nice machine, but not exactly a Tiger Moth (the school I learned on).    One day his 50 hrs on
                                        type places him in a situation from which he does not have the experience to recover.  His brand
                                        new Cessna is a write-off.  So is John Doe.   His widow sues Cessna and (cop this) wins the lawsuit.
                                        She gets awarded ten million dollars (turns out John was a successful stockbroker with many years of 
                                        earnings ahead of him).   Why? ......"well Cessna shouldn't have sold him the machine in the first place
                                        or some such similar implausible nonsense" said the jury.  So, the US light plane manufacturers just
                                        quit making light airplanes. Fortunately some modicum of common sense has now returned to the legal
                                        system and production is under weigh again with the proviso that, if you crash it, and it was your fault,
                                        we ain't gonna pay.  (The European manufacturers had such a proviso, backed by their courts all along,
                                        of course, and cleaned up during the period when US manufacturers were out of the business).