Cessna 150 or 152, which would you rather have?

Brad W

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Just a random thought, home sick on a cloudy day.....
Thinking about my time in the simple trainers.....trying to compare the 150 vs the 152, pros/cons.....

So ignoring price
and assuming similar condition, and I suppose similarly equipped avionics, etc....
which would you rather have? and why?

I went back to my logbook to see..
I have 86.5 hours logged in the C152, spread over seven different aircraft (1978-1982 models, mostly in the '82). Looks like my last flight was in 1999​
I have 18.3 hours logged in C150's, spread over four different aircraft, all C150M models. Looks like my last flight was 1997.​
I hadn't flown either very much really since about 1995...so my memory is surely faded.​

Honestly, two differences stand out in my memory. Both are rather superficial/opinion, but both are cons for the 150
1) I hated the momentary press and hold flap actuator control in the 150 (vs the 'push to the next notch and let go' + position indication in the 152)
2) MPH. I prefer Kts in the 152, because everything in planning for aviation seems to be based on the nautical mile....

I don't recall much about performance, except that both were rather slow and both had anemic climb rates
 
For me, though I understand the premise, neither of your reasons are that big of a deal. You get a feel for the flap control, and, after you figure out your true airspeed for cruise, you've already done the mph to knots conversion once. And, for other airspeed numbers, final approach, stall, etc., the actual numbers don't really matter, just fly with the needle on the desired number, could be furlongs per fortnight. That said, I'd go for the 152 also, mostly due to the engine differences. 150 with the Continental O-200, 100hp, and 1800 hr TBO, 152 Lycoming O-235 gets 110hp, and 2400 hr TBO. And, you can do the 125hp Sparrowhawk conversion on the Lycoming. (I know, there are O-320 or more conversions for 150s, but that always seemed like overkill to me, just my opinion).
 
I'd go with an early model Cessna 150:
-Square tail has better authority
-Fast back looks cooler
-Manual flaps (cheaper to operate and more badass)
-Lighter
-Excellent candidate for tailwheel conversion if not already converted.
 
152 has a 24 volt system. Compare the prices of new 12 and 24 volt batteries.

The Lycoming is the better engine.

Both airplanes are good taxi trainers. They don't fly nearly as well as they taxi. Might be handy for taxiing pilots out to the real airplanes...
 
I fly both models frequently at work. For some reason, I prefer the 150. Probably because I have been flying it 13 years, and the 152 only a year or so.
 
Coincidentally, I ran a comparison of the Cessna 150 and Cessna 152 accident statistics a bit earlier this year.

There is a difference between the airplanes, but I believe most of that is use. Looks like more of the 152s are still being used as trainers. The pilots involved in accidents in Cessna 150s have almost four times the flight experience; an indication, I think, that individuals are flying them as personal aircraft. In addition, the percentage of Cessna 152 accidents where the purpose of flight is listed as "Instruction" is about three times higher than that of the Cessna 150.

I use the same processes as for the homebuilt aircraft.
Enter Aircraft Name:Cessna 150Cessna 152-----
Total Accidents 2005-2021505300
Fatal Accidents8225
Average Pilot Hours2474848
Median Pilot Hours396102
Median Fatal524349
Percentage of Accidents
Pilot Miscontrol39.0%54.7%
Undetermined Loss of Power9.7%5.3%
Engine Mechanical4.4%7.7%
Exhaust or Turbo0.2%0.0%
Fuel System1.8%2.0%
Landing Gear/Brakes1.0%0.7%
Other Mechanical1.8%1.3%
Fuel Exhaustion12.5%6.3%
Fuel Starvation0.8%0.0%
Carb Ice7.5%2.0%
VFR to IFR3.0%1.3%
Disorientation0.4%1.3%
Manuevering at low alt2.4%0.7%
Fuel Contamination2.2%3.7%
Midair Collision1.4%3.0%
Loss of Control (Unknown)0.2%0.3%
Taxi Accident1.0%3.3%
Power Loss (Any Cause) By Flag39.0%27.4%
All Mechanical9.1%11.7%
Overall CausesCessna 150Cessna 152
Loss of Power (Undetermined)9.7%5.4%
Stick and Rudder39.0%54.8%
Pilot Decisionmaking31.3%18.1%
Mechanical Issues9.1%11.7%
Undetermined1.2%0.7%
Other (Primary Only)9.7%9.4%
Rating
None0.0%0.0%
Student11.3%19.1%
Sport0.3%0.0%
Private27.5%15.2%
CFI0.0%0.0%
Commercial16.4%9.6%
ATP5.3%1.4%

[Edit: The "Rating" is that of the highest-rated person on board]

Ron Wanttaja
 
All else equal, I would prefer the 152 for the extra power (and benefits from it), in addition to a preference for the Lycoming engine (I don't have data, but the O-235 seems to make TBO with less issues as long as the cam does not rust.

Having said that, I would choose a 150 with $20K in the baggage compartment over the 152, and it seems that is what the question that the market is asking with the way 150s and 152s are priced.
 
152 has a 24 volt system. Compare the prices of new 12 and 24 volt batteries.

The Lycoming is the better engine.

Both airplanes are good taxi trainers. They don't fly nearly as well as they taxi. Might be handy for taxiing pilots out to the real airplanes...
Wow. Guess you’re teasing, but I’ll take the bait.
There are folks here with way more experience and hours, than me. You may be one of them.

But the 152 is a great airplane. I’m a renter, have access to newish 172s, 182s, a couple of good archers, a nice arrow. Have m20time. Champ time.

When I fly short XC distances (say 50-150nm) solo, I choose the 152.
It handles well. It’s darn safe, requires the right” amount of rudder coordination to feel “right”. Great visibility. Can get it in and out of short strips comfortably. And it’s the least expensive.
 
some interesting numbers there for sure, Ron. I agree in your logic that it seems plausible tat more 150's are flown as personal aircraft.
and I suppose your fleet size analysis might suggest that more flight hours are PROBABLY flown in 150's (that was my initial thought of a very important variable that's missing)

One thought I have based on those stats.... and this is based on the last flight I took in a 152 on a windy day after a long time off, flying larger stuff instead.... an eye opener
that these more experienced pilots...5.3% of them ATP even...flying the 150 as personal aircraft...maybe they are like I was at that time, current and proficient BUT getting back into light aircraft, not really used to the light wing loading and kite like handling...and they get themselves into trouble

another thought...maybe a lot of these 150 drivers could be rusty pilots in generally getting back into it....
 
1977 150 for me. it has what were called “slap flaps“ in my day. Same as the a
152 but with 40 degrees of travel. Yes, the 152 has 10 more horsepower but that is pretty insignificant in the grand scheme of things.

Second choice would be the fastback models, just because I think they are cool.
 
I like the 150 for the extra 10degrees of flap travel. Butterfly switch for flap selection is not a problem.
I like the 152 for the Lycoming engine and better chance to upgrade to 125HP or more.

I'm biased, I learned in a C150 Commuter II when they were brand new, butterfly flap switch, flap position indicator in the door post.
Then they brought out the C152 in '76 ?

Fastback, straight tail are better for the Texas Tailwheel conversion. I've been told the swept tail does not have the same rudder authority for tailwheel ops.
 
...

Fastback, straight tail are better for the Texas Tailwheel conversion. I've been told the swept tail does not have the same rudder authority for tailwheel ops.
The first swept tail models of the 150 lost some rudder authority compared to the straight tail. Cessna later increased the size of the swept tail so the later model 150s would have more rudder. 152 production began the same year as the last 150Ms were produced, 1977.
 
152 has a 24 volt system. Compare the prices of new 12 and 24 volt batteries.

The Lycoming is the better engine.

Both airplanes are good taxi trainers. They don't fly nearly as well as they taxi. Might be handy for taxiing pillyots out to the real airplanes...

Nosewheel shimmy is common in the 152, IIRC. Lots of student landings eventually enlarges the bolt holes that connect the dampener to the nosewheel. Ours needed to be leaned aggressively for ground ops. I loved that little plane. It may be my favorite.
 
One thought I have based on those stats.... and this is based on the last flight I took in a 152 on a windy day after a long time off, flying larger stuff instead.... an eye opener
that these more experienced pilots...5.3% of them ATP even...flying the 150 as personal aircraft...maybe they are like I was at that time, current and proficient BUT getting back into light aircraft, not really used to the light wing loading and kite like handling...and they get themselves into trouble
In my analysis of homebuilt accidents, I've discovered indications of exactly the phenomenon you're referring to... ATPs flying airplanes that they might not have been proficient at.


However, as I mentioned, the hours/rating for the pilots in each accident are based on the most-experienced person aboard. The NTSB database DOES number the pilots, but for some reason, I can't get the database program to settle on one. So I made a decision, long ago, to list the most-experienced person on board with the accident entry. For my homebuilt database, this usually isn't a factor...but of course, may be of more impact for the 15X aircraft.

It's a long-winded way to say, "The ATPs in question might have been providing instruction to a student when the accident occurred." Often, the NTSB report will mention the instructor's insufficient supervision as a contributing factor.

Ron Wanttaja
 
Nosewheel shimmy is common in the 152, IIRC. Lots of student landings eventually enlarges the bolt holes that connect the dampener to the nosewheel. Ours needed to be leaned aggressively for ground ops. I loved that little plane. It may be my favorite.
Not unknown in the 150, either. Was taking a BFR in a 172 a while back when it started to shimmy. The instructor's hands darted toward the yoke, but I'd already taken the load off the nosewheel. The reflexes imparted by my old '65 150 were still there.....

Ron Wanttaja
 
Hard pass. Super Cub/equivalent is what you seek.
 
Nosewheel shimmy is common in the 152, IIRC. Lots of student landings eventually enlarges the bolt holes that connect the dampener to the nosewheel. Ours needed to be leaned aggressively for ground ops. I loved that little plane. It may be my favorite.
Nosewheel shimmy is common in the 150, 152, 172. Less common in the 182. The root cause is not the airplane; it's the dynamically imbalanced nosewheel itself. If those wheels/tires get any balance at all, 99.9% of the time it's a static balance that can actually make the shimmy worse.

I dynamically balanced the flight school's nose- and tailwheels. No shimmy. Even with some wear on the nosegear components. The shimmy damper is a device to mask the shimmy; it is not responsible for it, no matter how worn-out it gets.
 
What happened to the 150 fleet in 2012?
FAA instituted the re-registration process in 2010, with the first cycle completing in 2013. If a registered owner didn't respond to the re-registration request, the plane's registration was canceled. You'll notice the same phenomenon with the 152s, but it's not as obvious due to the smaller fleet size.

It hit homebuilts hard, with about 20% of the EAB fleet disappearing from the registry by 2013.

Ron Wanttaja
 
FAA instituted the re-registration process in 2010, with the first cycle completing in 2013. If a registered owner didn't respond to the re-registration request, the plane's registration was canceled. You'll notice the same phenomenon with the 152s, but it's not as obvious due to the smaller fleet size.

It hit homebuilts hard, with about 20% of the EAB fleet disappearing from the registry by 2013.

Ron Wanttaja
so there's 2,500 or so no flying unregistered 150 rotting away in barns out there somewhere?
 
so there's 2,500 or so no flying unregistered 150 rotting away in barns out there somewhere?
or exported or crashed and the registration never canceled until the purge starting in 2010
 
so there's 2,500 or so no flying unregistered 150 rotting away in barns out there somewhere?
or exported or crashed and the registration never canceled until the purge starting in 2010
Many of those 2,500 150s have probably been beer cans for decades.

In the aftermath of 9/11, Congress came down on the FAA because they had lost track of the owners of so many aircraft. The FAA instituted the re-registration process as a way to pare out aircraft that were probably no longer in existence. Every three years, owners receive a notice that they must confirm their aircraft registration, with a $5 cost. The implementation was staggered over three years so everyone's renewal didn't happen at once. This plot shows the effect on the overall registry (Y-axis range is short to highlight the changes):
1703176872735.png
This year, the FAA changed the cycle to seven years. Removal isn't permanent. Aircraft that have been removed from the registry by this process can be restored upon application...I see about 100 homebuilts re-added every year.

In the registration download, the FAA includes the list of aircraft that have been deregistered. This numbers about 368,000. A bit more than half of those (~193,000) were deregistered prior to 2010, with ~162,000 from 2010 on. About 12,000 planes don't list a year of deregistration.

The question arises, then...prior to 2010, why did airplanes get deregistered? The FAA obviously wanted destroyed or exported aircraft off the registry, but there was apparently no legal basis to demand it. I'm thinking much of the traffic was probably insurance companies that gained title after an accident, or possibly aircraft scrapyards.

The list does includes a column to indicate countries planes were exported to, though, again, I don't know what the legal pressure to do this might come from. Could have been the manufacturers themselves, getting a "temporary" N-Number for planes being manufactured, or companies formally involved in the export business. A bit over 100,000 N-Numbers were cancelled due to export of the aircraft. About 20,000 went to Canada, another 8,000 to Mexico. Remainder of the top ten are Brazil, Australia, Germany, UK, South Africa, Argentina, Venezuela, and France.

Some curiosities in the list, probably mostly explained by bizjets being exported to flags-of-convenience countries. Most curious, I think, is N477ER, a 2007 Cessna 172. The list shows it exported to North Korea in 2015.

Ron Wanttaja
 
Some curiosities in the list, probably mostly explained by bizjets being exported to flags-of-convenience countries. Most curious, I think, is N477ER, a 2007 Cessna 172. The list shows it exported to North Korea in 2015.

Ron Wanttaja
Perhaps one of these glorious triumphs of the Peoples' Aerospace Industry ... ? Only thanks to the Dear Leader could there be a 172 with a three-blade prop, leading-edge cuffs, windshield wipers and a free-hand-drawn paint scheme.

NorkDork_01.jpgNorkDork_03.jpg
 
so there's 2,500 or so no flying unregistered 150 rotting away in barns out there somewhere?
They've probably all reappeared as for sale from the usual suspects with a "fresh annual" and $45k asking price over the past few years.
 
Hard pass. Super Cub/equivalent is what you seek.

yeah...maybe so. maybe the 150 or the 152 isn't actually a dream goal airplane for most folks....but it's what many of us learned the basics in, & I wouldn't turn one down in decent condition if I were to be gifted it! decent an economical flyer
Regardless, this isn't a question so much about a dream goal as it is about thinking about the differences between the series through the years.
 
yeah...maybe so. maybe the 150 or the 152 isn't actually a dream goal airplane for most folks....but it's what many of us learned the basics in, & I wouldn't turn one down in decent condition if I were to be gifted it! decent an economical flyer
Regardless, this isn't a question so much about a dream goal as it is about thinking about the differences between the series through the years.

I don't know if I would agree with that assessment about the dream airplane. My dream plane is closer to the Cessna 150 or 152 than it is to a Cirrus. A plane that is fun, easy to fly and easy to maintain is a wonderful experience.

Having said that, if I were shopping for a Cessna 150/152 I would look for the best maintained airplane with the highest useful load. Sure, the fastbacks are a little faster and the Lycoming has a little more power, and there are a lot of "all else equal arguments" about each submodel. But in reality, all else is not equal, unless you plan on stripping it down and rebuilding it, the best condition for the best price is the most important consideration.

If I am stripping it down and rebuilding it, I am focusing on reliability and useful load so I am looking for the highest useful load at the end. The 152 has 70 lbs more gross weight, but the O-235 weighs 56lbs more than the O-200. The O-200 and O-235 are very reliable engines, all else equal I would chose the O-235, but I wouldn't pay the premium they are demanding unless I had plans to resell the plane (and the math was clearly to the 152's advantage on resale).
 
I don't know if I would agree with that assessment about the dream airplane. My dream plane is closer to the Cessna 150 or 152 than it is to a Cirrus. A plane that is fun, easy to fly and easy to maintain is a wonderful experience.

Having said that, if I were shopping for a Cessna 150/152 I would look for the best maintained airplane with the highest useful load. Sure, the fastbacks are a little faster and the Lycoming has a little more power, and there are a lot of "all else equal arguments" about each submodel. But in reality, all else is not equal, unless you plan on stripping it down and rebuilding it, the best condition for the best price is the most important consideration.

If I am stripping it down and rebuilding it, I am focusing on reliability and useful load so I am looking for the highest useful load at the end. The 152 has 70 lbs more gross weight, but the O-235 weighs 56lbs more than the O-200. The O-200 and O-235 are very reliable engines, all else equal I would chose the O-235, but I wouldn't pay the premium they are demanding unless I had plans to resell the plane (and the math was clearly to the 152's advantage on resale).

Well yeah, cessna/cirrus...I might admit I'm leaning more an more that way too....but "closer to" probably being key part of the phrase for a majority of folks. There are other aircraft that are similar in terms of simplicity, economics, durability, etc... that are also better performing, sexier looking, etc...

and great point about "all else equal".... but in my thinking, the meaning is sorta the same as I intended in my original post... substitute "total strip down and rebuild to good as new" instead of "all else equal"... or even better maybe, just say "money is no object" ;)
 
The O-235 is a better engine. O-200'S center main bearing doesn't last with metal props and the top end is weaker.

The weakness of the O-235 camshaft is vastly improved with diamond coated cam followers.

The flap lever system on the C150 has less microswitches and is therefore more reliable.
 
152 has a 24 volt system. Compare the prices of new 12 and 24 volt batteries.

The Lycoming is the better engine.

Both airplanes are good taxi trainers. They don't fly nearly as well as they taxi. Might be handy for taxiing pilots out to the real airplanes...

28 Volt system...

Got a 152 that once she is trimmed up she'll fly straight and level hands and feet off. Not fast, but then again, I am not in a hurry.

Having done all the big swinging Richard stuff in the past, the 152 is a fun little airplane that is cheap to own and operate. And, just about once a month some will ask "hey, is that plane for sale?"
 
Good question. I haven’t flown a 152 but I owned a 150B and my dad has a 150m. The 150B was more fun. It was lighter, felt lighter, and performed better. It was less comfortable, louder, and cheaper feeling. If you aren’t capable of doing a little tweaking and tinkering an O-200 may not be for you. They leak, they get sticky valves, and they constantly try to ice up. The Lycoming is way over built which means it’s ridiculous heavy for the power it produces. I guess my answer would be Cessna 152 with sparrowhawk conversion if it was my only plane. If it was a toy or second airplane I’d get a 150A and strip it of all but the essentials.
 
The question arises, then...prior to 2010, why did airplanes get deregistered? The FAA obviously wanted destroyed or exported aircraft off the registry, but there was apparently no legal basis to demand it.
FWIW: There's always been a regulatory and in some cases a statute requirement for an owner to report changes or maintain the currency of their aircraft registration to include any deregistering requirements. The problem was there was no effective enforcement mechanism over these actions short of a physical census of those registrations on a regular basis. This was actually done on an annual basis at one time by the CAA when they reissued AWCs every annual inspection. Regardless, since the FAR system is considered a closed system where the assumption is everyone follows the rules... there never was a priority to verify the accuracy of the aircraft registry even though there are several international agreements and treaties that require it. And once the FAA saw how screwed up the registry was it took 3 separate resets to get it closer to the 100% accurate requirement.
 
The Cessna 152 came about because 80 octane fuel was going away, and Cessna anticipated that a steady diet of 100LL in O-200s would spell frequent plug fouling. Several other types switched to higher-compression engines at around the same time and for the same reason (e.g., C-172N, C-182Q, PA-28-236, Warrior II). I recall, though, that a lot of early 152 operators had lead fouling problems, as bad if not worse, than with the 150.
 
After many hours in both, I prefer the flight characteristics of the 150; however the Lycoming in the 152 is one of the toughest GA engines ever produced. 45 years after my first flight in a 150, I still have a soft spot for that oft maligned and underappreciated little gem.
 
I'd go with an early model Cessna 150:
-Square tail has better authority
-Fast back looks cooler
-Manual flaps (cheaper to operate and more badass)
-Lighter
-Excellent candidate for tailwheel conversion if not already converted.
My first airplane was one of the original 150s (1959 model Straight Tail). That was a fun little airplane (with the emphasis on little - it was too small for anything other than local flights).
At one point during that period a local FBO acquired a new 152 and started renting it out. So I checked out in it and then took it on a trip of a few hundred miles. Unexpectedly, i didn't
like it. The reason is hard to describe - I just preferred flying the 150. So I never flew a 152 again. Later on myself and partners moved up to a 182B (also 1959) - which I still have.
Like the 150 it has manual flaps (which I much prefer) - and unlike the 150 it is a fine travelling machine.

Dave
 
My first flying lesson was in a '61 150A; first solo in a '67 150G, and private pilot checkride in a '68 150H.

Then we had a straight-tail '65 150E in the family 1968-73. I got my commercial, instrument and CFI in it ... and the toughest test of all, the first date with the young lady I've been married to for over 50 years now. :D
 
The Lycoming is way over built which means it’s ridiculous heavy for the power it produces.
The 150's O-200A produces (supposedly) 100 hp. Its dry weight is 190 pounds.
The 152's O-235-L2C/N2C produces 115 HP. Its dry weight is 249 pounds.

Yup. It's heavier.

But the O-200's power-to-weight ratio is 1.9 pounds per HP.
The O-235's ratio is 2.16 pounds per HP.
So the Lyc is about 11.4 % heavier that way. It's not as if it was 25% heavier or something.

Here are the tradeoffs for that extra weight:

The O-200's TBO is 1800 hours, and you can expect valve work by half of that time.

The O-235's TBO is 2400 hours, and the valves will go the full TBO.

The O-235 runs cooler than the O-200.

The O-200 generates its max HP at slightly less RPM: 2700 as opposed to 2750. That means slightly increased propeller efficiency due to less drag.

The Lyc runs smoother. It doesn't ice up its carb nearly so quickly as the O-200. Its starter makes far less trouble than the 0-200's and costs less, once the cost of the Bendix clutch/gear assembly is figured into it, and that part is the chief source of trouble. Cheaper to replace the starter with a B&C or Skytec and eliminate that clutch.

And then there's the widely suspected (more than just suspicion, in my experience) that the O-200 doesn't really produce 100 HP. Some people with engine dynamometers have seen it.

But the "gullwing" prop on the 152 has an AD against it that demands NDT on it every 750 hours. I believe there is an STC to replace it with a safer prop.

https://drs.faa.gov/browse/excelExternalWindow/10D7120761741D79862576D30052CA66.0001
 
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