The Ascend 172 is a remanufactured Cessna Skyhawk that has been updated to “nearly new” status with state-of-the-art avionics, new paint, interior and components by Yingling Aviation of Wichita, according to Yingling officials.
EMU Aviation operates a fleet of Cessna 172 at its flight training base on Willow Run Airport (KYIP) in Ypsilanti, Michigan.
Suburban Aviation, located at Suburban Toledo Airport, was named an Ascend 172 dealer by Yingling in September 2016 and took delivery of a demonstrator airplane in May of last year.
Joe Mills, Chief Flight Instructor for Eastern Michigan University Aviation, called the addition of the Ascend 172 a “no-brainer” because the airplane fits so well into the university’s flight instruction operation.
“Our program is growing and the need for an affordable and reliable airplane like the Ascend 172, especially for use with students who are beginning their flight training, is obvious,” he said. “It has provided us with an outstanding platform for introducing them to the basics of flight and the use of Garmin’s extremely capable and versatile avionics equipment.”
The Ascend 172 is a 1979 Cessna Skyhawk “N” model, remanufactured by Yingling Aviation. It features a Sandia Quattro standby instrument, GTN-650 Global Positioning System (GPS), GMA-350 audio panel, GNC-255A Nav/Com, GTX-345 ADS-B In/Out transponder, LED lighting, and Rosen Sun Visors.
Mills said it will be repainted in the distinctive white and green livery of Eastern Michigan’s flight training operation soon.
Mills also noted that EMU’s latest class of new student pilots is its largest ever, which created a need for an additional aircraft to integrate into a fleet of Cessna G1000 Skyhawks currently operated by the university.
“We’re very serious about replenishing and maintaining the currency of our fleet, especially as the looming pilot shortage becomes more acute, “ he said. “But acquiring the airplanes to do so has become an even greater challenge because the pricing of the new airplanes is almost prohibitive. The availability of suitable aircraft may be an even bigger hurdle because more recently built used aircraft — from 2009 or later — are really scarce, so there just aren’t a lot of alternatives. The Ascend 172 solves that issue and it provides a warranty, the Garmin panel, and a really logical choice.”
“There’s certainly no issue from a maintenance perspective because it’s from the same ‘family’ and it is an ideal crossover airplane,” he continued. “It also solved a potential problem for us. We were doing primary training in our Garmin-equipped 172s and then transitioning pilots into older Skyhawk RGs for complex training and the students were actually having to take a step backward when it comes to the panels and avionics. Our Ascend 172 eliminates this issue, altogether. We’re extremely pleased to have this airplane in the EMU fleet and we’re looking seriously at adding additional Ascend 172s in the future.”
See our feature story on the Ascend 172 here.