flying the Cessna C152

About the Cessna 152

C-152 Information
You should be warned about flying in a different kind of aircraft. There is just enough difference in a C-152 to create stress and interfere with your thought processes. The engineering of the C-152 is similar to the 150 except that where maximum flaps are only 30 degrees a 1/2 turn of trim seems sufficient for each 10 degrees of flap. After landing and flaps up, the aircraft is properly trimmed for climb. The C-150 is trimmed for level. Your use of the trim may produce a different result.

Cessna in a 152 Owners Advisory Letter has indicated that a C-152 which is run at full rich will result in a 40% increase in consumption along with a 70 minute reduction in flight time. The same figures would probably apply to other Cessnas.

Get a complete breakdown of how a C-150 and C-152 differ. Trim, flaps, electrical, and speeds. Go up and review all the airwork in a strange aircraft before doing any landings. --C-152 Use 10-degrees flap for both short and soft field takeoff..

Calibrating C-152 trim

C-152 to get 1500 you need to reduce to 1600 (similar to C-172's 1700). At altitude and imaginary numbers, power to 1600, hold altitude and heading until reaching 60 knots. Now quickly trim for hands-off but be sure to keep track of how much is required. Do the same for each 10 degrees of flap as you descend. Trim is added or put on by moving the wheel top down to bottom. Trim is taken off by moving The trim bottom to top. The best way to remember the trim setting is to predicate the movement of the trim from a constant power setting. You may need to do this a couple of times. You are trying to index the flap-trim ratios required to maintain 60 knots. Once you have developed a stabilized procedure for maintaining 60 knots you should be home free.

We will begin from level cruise and reduce power to 1500 while holding heading and altitude. The Airplane will decelerate and the rpm will fall to 1300. We will experiment with the number of trim turns and find that it takes to five turns to descend at 60 knots hands-off. When descent is about to commence at 60 knots we will put in 10 degrees of flaps,. Apply slight forward pressure with our thumb to maintain 609 knots and then take off one turn of trim. We will repeat this again twice more with additional 10 degrees of flaps so that we will have 30 degrees of flaps and will have removed three of the five initial turns of trim.

After doing this on a constant heading, we will make left and right 90 degree turns and then put in flaps to 20-degrees and trimming for 60-knot descent hands-off and making left and right 90 degree turns. Now we will put in the full 30-degrees of flaps and record the trim change required for the 60-knot final approach. The entire process will be repeated again from the beginning with right and left 90-degree turns. Once this is determined we will repeat the process from the beginning to confirm our settings.

For the go-around we will find that the addition of power and removal of flaps will have the aircraft trimmed for a relatively low speed climb. Take off one turn of trim for a 70 to 80 knot climb. At the application of power you must anticipate with right rudder to hold the nose in line with the runway. Forward pressure with the hand (Not just the thumb) is required to avoid an abrupt pitching up and to allow the aircraft to accelerate. At 70 knots relax the forward pressure and allow the number to seek its trimmed attitude and airspeed. Remove trim for the climb speed you desire. At the peak of our climb we want to 'calibrate' the trim required in transitioning from the climb to level cruise as it will exist with the power reduced. This will take several tries.

The last step in our calibration is to determine just where the trim is set when we add full power and remove the flaps. The aircraft should be trimmed somewhere between level flight and Vy climb. We will determine the amount of trim required and use that as one of the trim setting changes we make during the go-around in anticipation of climbing at Vy. Once the calibration is completed we have determined the landing procedure that will enable us to anticipate the power, flap and trim settings required for the standard stabilized approach.

From 65kt climb

CH-1700 RPM

Short Field Takeoff:

Flaps set at 10 degrees. Release brakes and accelerate on the runway centreline. At 54 KIAS, the nose of the aircraft is raised smoothly and quickly to Vx pitch attitude - maintain 54 KIAS.

Establish normal climb 70-80 KIAS and retract the flaps. Since the Vy speed will vary with weight, it might be better to use the lower 70 KIAS when solo and 80 with two aboard. An old FAA manual once said that flap retraction should be made only after passing through 200'.

Short field
Brakes locked, full power, 10 degrees flap
Vx is 54 kts for best angle
Retract flaps at 60 kts and get Vy of 67 kts
The C152 take-off distance decreases by 10% for every 9kts of headwind component

Soft Field Takeoff:

Flaps set at 10 degrees. Elevator control to full nose up position. As the nose of the aircraft comes up to Vy pitch attitude, release elevator pressure as necessary to Maintain a maximum nose high attitude just short of dragging the tail. Level close to Vy airspeed before attempting to climb out of ground effect. Fly as close to the ground as you can. This will maximize your effective engine power and speed up acceleration. Ground effect ceases at 1/2 wing span altitude. With a 32' wingspan you have 16' of ground effect. The wing is already over 5' above the ground. Any altitude of the wheels over 11' will degrade aircraft performance. Stay low, accelerate and then climb.

If necessary, establish climb at 54 KIAS to clear any obstacles. If not, normal climb 70 - 80 KIAS based on weight. The FAA test does not include both a soft-short field requirement so the recommendation for airspeeds is good. In the FAA PTS guide you should accelerate to the 70 - 80 KIAS before climbing.

Retract flaps once clear of obstacles or when normal climb speed is established. 200' is former FAA recommendation before flap retraction.


In less that two turns you can recover just by letting go of the controls. beyond two turns to the left you must make a normal spin recovery. It is possible to tell which rudder will effect a spin recovery by deciding which rudder is harder to push.

Traffic Pattern (circuit)

Normal climb airspeed (67-70 KIAS) should be maintained as should full power.

Opposite the proposed touchdown point on the runway, apply carb. heat, then reduce power to approximately 1600 RPM Plane will decelerate to 60 knots and 1500 rpm. Trim for hands-off.

Apply 10 degrees flap and trim the aircraft for a 60 KIAS glide. in the 1990s you should not leave pattern altitude until turning base. Noise abatement procedure suggests not leaving pattern altitude until turning base. Try to keep the neighbours happy.

Turn base leg when runway numbers are at a 45-degree angle behind wing. This point may vary with wind conditions. The deceleration of Cessnas when the power is reduced to settle at 1500 RPM and altitude and heading are maintained the 45 degree or "key" position is nearly automatic. The "key" position has been dropped as a term by the FAA. The quickness used to go though the procedures should be faster as winds become stronger.

Bring the flaps to a 20-degree position, and retrim the aircraft to maintain 70 KIAS. The base leg is where you decide to widen out, square your pattern or angle toward the runway as a first choice. Second choice would be putting in additional flaps if high. After these decisions have been tried then change power. You should try to keep as many "constants" in your approaches as you can.

Lead the turn to final so as to roll out on the extended centreline. Accuracy in final alignment is directly related to how well the downwind was flown according to wind conditions. Even slight crosswinds on the ground must be considered as being stronger at altitude. Never exceed a 30-degree bank in the pattern. Standardized 30-degree banks will allow you to make all your turns more accurately. A 30-degree bank only increases the G force by .15. A shallower bank extends the "blind" time in the turn.

Apply full flaps (30 degrees) as needed and establish 60 KIAS glide. (trim as needed) The normal Cessna landing is made with full flaps. Full flaps improve landing accuracy. Crosswind or strong gusty winds are the only justification for using minimal flaps. C-152s can be slipped with flaps according to the POH.

About 1970 the FAA came out with a recommendation that power off landings not be considered "normal" Many instances of inability to re-apply power were occurring. The FAA now recommends that power be maintained into the actual flare and only be taken off at actual touchdown. Plan your approaches with the understanding that power will be applied. Then if power is lost, the removal of flaps will allow a safe power off landing.

Go-Around, Full Flaps

Full power, carb heat cold. Lock arm to hold the yoke firmly forward to prevent pitch up and anticipatory right rudder to counteract P-factor. Establish level pitch attitude while bringing the flaps up. Milking flaps up or by notches at speeds below 60 is best way. Climb on reaching Vy.   

Top of page

Short Field Landing

The traffic pattern for a short field landing is flown the same as a normal landing traffic pattern up to the final approach.

On final approach, establish a full flap, power on descent at 54 KIAS. Power setting should be adjusted as necessary to establish a glide path, which will bring the aircraft just above any obstacles.

Once it is apparent that the aircraft will clear the obstacle without power, slowly close the throttled and maintain 54 KIAS. Maintain 54 KIAS down to the flare and land the aircraft with a minimum amount of float.

Once the aircraft is on the ground, retract flaps, lower the nose gently, and apply smooth but firm brake pressure.

Note: If the final approach on a short field landing is properly planned and executed, final approach will not involve any additions of power. A lower approach speed can be used at lower weights.

Soft Field Landing:

The traffic pattern is flown just as it would be for a normal landing until final approach. On final, a 60 KIAS full flap glide is established.

Once the runway is assured reduce power to idle RPM and flare normally over the runway. Increase the pitch attitude prior to touchdown and bring power up to 1200 or 1500.

Once the main gear touches the runway, continue back elevator pressure as required to keep the nose wheel off the runway while bringing up the flaps. Removal of the flaps will allow the pitch attitude to increase.
Keep the power on sufficient to keep the nose off. With proper power application it is possible to taxi clear of the runway without the nose wheel touching.

Crosswind Landing:

Crosswind landing involve flying a crabbed traffic pattern with one addition. On final approach, when the aircraft is aligned with the runway centreline, the aircraft will begin to drift. The upwind wing is lowered to the point where the aircraft stops drifting and (the wing) is maintained in this down position. Rudder pressure is applied in the opposite direction of the aileron deflection to keep the aircraft nose/tail lined up with the runway centreline. Pressure must be maintained on both controls in order to keep the aircraft so aligned. 20 degrees of flaps rather than full flaps may be used on final, depending on wind strength and (crosswind angle) component with the runway. touchdown is accomplished with the upwind wheel of the main gear touching the ground first. Once on the ground, apply increasing upwind aileron gradually to full aileron, and maintain directional control with the rudder pedals.

Takeoff and Departure Stall:

Clear area
Carb heat on
Reduce power to 1500 RPM
Slow aircraft to lift-off speed (55 KIAS)
Apply full power when reaching lift-off speed and increase backpressure firmly on the elevators until the stall occurs. Right rudder pressure must be used to overcome P-Factor. When introducing this stall limit power increase to 2000 RPM. Full power applications during "Proficiency".

If the stall is to be done while in a turn, a bank angle of approximately 20 degrees should be established when lift-off speed is reached. Coordinated control pressure should be utilized as necessary to maintain this bank angle until the aircraft stalls. Limit bank to 20 degrees regardless. A higher angle of bank greatly exaggerates the effect of uncoordinated controls.

Release the backpressure and level the wings utilizing coordinated control. Allow nose to fall to or slightly below the horizon. Then apply full power for the recovery at Vy climb.

Approach to a Landing Stall:

Clear the area .
Carburettor heat
Reduce power to 1500 RPM and when airspeed is in the white arc, apply full flaps and establish a 60 KIAS glide.

If the stall is to be done in a turn, establish a 20-degree bank angle. Any bank beyond 20 degrees can be a prelude to a full flap spin. Close the throttle slowly, gradually increase backpressure until the stall occurs. Power can also be left at 1500 RPM.

Release back pressure, apply full power and level wings using coordinated control. Get the nose down to level flight. Lock your elbow against the door to prevent abrupt pitch-up as full power is applied.

When airspeed is on the upgrade retract flaps to 20 degrees without allowing sink to occur. At 60 knots remove rest of flaps and climb.

Approach to Landing Stall

The traditional approach to landing stall has been transmogrified into a power-off stall in landing configuration. It requires that you enter an approach to landing with full flaps and power off and then at some point you stop the descent until you stall. as though you were attempting to extend your glide distance just by raising the nose while entering the base turn to final. The assumption is that the student cannot add power nor can he do anything except concentrate on an outside reference point beyond the glide range of the aircraft. While such a scenario can be made to occur using the latest Cessna landing program, it is most unlikely to occur to a student who had been taught the traditional stabilized constant airspeed approach.

The recognition of the stall and the recovery from the situation is the instructional objective. The required recovery procedures is that the pilot break the angle of attack, apply full power, level the wings and begin to reduce the flap extension. On reaching climb speed, the climb begins and the cleanup is completed.

C152 Checklist

Pre-flight Inspection
Log book
"AR(R)OW" documents
Control lock
Shut off ON
Ignition OFF
master switch ON,
full flaps, fuel gauges, fan
master switch OFF
Fuselage, rear
fuel drain
rudder gust lock
rear tie down
Right side fuselage
right side fuel drain
Right wing
aileron (
wing walk around
main gear
wheel chock
wing tie down
Fuel Cap,
Engine Oil level CHECK, do not operate with less than 4 quarts
Fuel sump
Air filter
Landing light
Nose wheel strut and tire
Static port
Left wing
main gear nut/cotter key)
wheel chock
wing tie down
Fuel Cap
Stall warning port, pitot tube, fuel vent
wing walk around
General walk around required by FARs...

Before starting engine

Pre-flight inspection
Passengers briefed
Seats, belts, shoulder harnesses
Doors, closed and latched
Fuel shut-off valve ON
Radios and electrical equipment OFF
Brakes- test and hold
Check circuit breakers IN
Mixture -RICH
Carb heat- COLD
Prime- up to 3 strokes if cold, locked
Throttle- Open 1/2" (closed if engine warm)
Propeller area
Master switch
Throttle-- rpm or less
Oil Pressure

Before Takeoff

Cabin Doors
Flight Controls
Flight instruments
Fuel shut off valve
Mixture -- RICH (below 3000')
Elevator Trim

Run up
-- Throttle to 1700 rpm
Magnetos--CHECK (drop should not exceed 125 rpms, or 50 rpm differential)
Carb heat-- CHECK for approx. 50 rpm drop
Engine instruments and ammeter
Suction gauge
Throttle to 1000 rpm or less
Strobe/Nav lights
Throttle friction

Normal Takeoff
Flaps up
Full throttle
rotate at 55 knots
pitch for Vy (67knots) during climb out

Short Field Takeoff
Flaps-- SET 10 degrees
Full throttle (above 3000' lean mixture for maximum rpm)
release brakes at 2000 rpm
tail slightly low, pitch for Vx (54 knots) until clear of obstacle

In Flight Emergency Procedures

NOTE: procedures for engine failure during takeoff run and immediately after takeoff are in the POH and should be memorized.
Emergency landing without engine power
Level the wings,
Choose a landing spot --
Check the following items:
primer--CHECK in and locked
master switch---ON
ignition--SET TO BOTH
carb heat--ON
fuel shut off--ON
fuel quantity--CHECK
oil pressure/temp--CHECK

Committed to a Forced Landing

Transponder--SET to 7700 and ident
COM radio --SET to emergency frequency 121.5
aircraft type and tail number
position and altitude
problem you are having
number of persons on board
intended landing spot
Seat belts ON and SECURE
Fuel shut off valve-- OFF
Ignition switch--OFF
Flaps--UP until landing is assured
Master switch -- OFF
Cabin doors-- OPEN SLIGHTLY
Nose hig\h-tail low
Apply brakes heavily

Transponder--SET to 7700 and ident
COM radio --SET to emergency frequency 121.5
aircraft type and tail number
position and altitude
problem you are having
number of persons on board
Jettison or secure heavy objects in baggage area
High winds, heavy seas--INTO THE WIND
Light winds, heavy swells--PARALLEL TO SWELLS
Flaps--30 degrees
Power-- ESTABLISH 300 ft/min DESCENT AT 55 knots
Cabin doors-- UNLATCH
Touchdown-- LEVEL ATTITUDE AT 300 ft/min DESCENT
Face--CUSHION at touchdown with coat
EVACUATE aircraft through cabin doors
Life vests and Raft--INFLATE

In-Flight Fires

Engine fir
Fuel Shutoff Valve--OFF
Master switch--OFF
Cabin heat and air--OFF (except wing root vents)
Airspeed--85 knots (or whatever it takes to put out the fire)
Forced Landing-- EXECUTE as described in Emergency Landing Without Engine Power

Electrical fire
Master switch--OFF
All other switches (except ignition switch)--OFF
Vents/cabin air/heat--OFF
Fire Extinguisher--ACTIVATE (if available)
WARNING--After discharging an extinguisher in a closed cabin, ventilate the cabin
If fire appears out and electrical power is necessary to continue flight:
Master switch--ON
Circuit breakers--CHECK for faulty circuit DO NOT RESET
Radio/Electrical switches--ON one at a time, with delay until short is localized
Vents/ Cabin Air/ Heat--OPEN when ascertained that fire is completely extinguished

Cabin Fire
Master switch--OFF
Vents/cabin air/heat--OFF
Fire Extinguisher--ACTIVATE (if available)
WARNING--After discharging an extinguisher in a closed cabin, ventilate the cabin
Land the airplane as soon as possible to inspect for damage

Wing fire
Navigation light switch--OFF
Strobe light switch (if installed)--OFF
Pitot heat switch (if installed)-- OFF
NOTE: Perform a side slip to keep flames away from fuel tank and cabin.
Land as soon as possible with flaps retracted

Inadvertent Icing Encounter
Turn pitot heat switch ON (if installed)
Turn back or change altitude to obtain an outside air temp that is less conducive to icing
Pull cabin heat control to full out to obtain maximum defroster air
Open throttle to increase engine speed and minimize ice build up on propeller blades
Lean mixture for max rpm's if carb heat is used continuously.
Plan a landing at the nearest airport. With extremely rapid ice build up, select a suitable "off airport" landing site.
With an ice accumulation of 1/4 inch or more on the leading edges, be prepared for significantly higher stall speed.
Leave flaps retracted. Flap extension could result in a loss of elevator effectiveness.
Open left window and, if practical, scrape ice from the windshield for visibility
Perform a landing approach using a forward slip, if necessary, for visibility
Approach at 65-75 knots depending on the amount of ice accumulation

Perform landing in a level attitude


Normal Landing

Airspeed 60-70 knots (flaps up)
Flaps-- AS DESIRED (below 85 knots)
Airspeed--55-65 knots (flaps down)
Power--REDUCE to idle as obstacle is cleared
Braking--Minimum required

Short field Landing
Airspeed 60-70 knots (flaps up)
flaps--30 degrees (below 85 knots)
Airspeed-MAINTAIN 54 knots
Power--REDUCE to idle as obstacle is cleared

Balked Landing (Go around)
Throttle--FULL OPEN
Carb heat--COLD
Airspeed--55 knots
Fly over the right edge of runway for traffic visibility
Flaps--RETRACT each notch when altimeter shows positive climb

After Landing

carb heat--COLD

Engine Shut down (O-235-L2C only)
Throttle--1800rpm for 18 seconds
Mixture--Idle Cut off

Securing Airplane
Radios and electrical equipment--OFF
Ignition switch--OFF
Master switch--OFF
Control Lock--INSTALL
Rudder gust lock--INSTALL
Tie downs--INSTALL
Pitot cover--INSTALL
Cabin cover--INSTALL (if available)
Log books--FILL OUT

Flying Safer
C-l52 will gain one inch of altitude for every foot of runway under standard conditions at sea level. At 5000' nearly two feet to gain that inch.
Consider checking the idle setting with the C.H. on to confirm the idle setting of the carburettor. A dead engine may still have a wind-milling propeller. This is doubly important if you land without C.H. on.
Confirm that you have brake pressure as part of your pre-landing check.
Run your P-lead check of the magneto at idle then go to 1200 rpm before pulling mixture.

The POH Numbers:

VNE 145 149
VNO 108 111
VA 101 104 @1670 lbs
96 98 @1500 lbs
91 93 @1350 lbs
VFE 87 85
139 143 Maximum window open speed
White Arc 35-85
Green Arc 40-111
Yellow Arc 111-149
Red Line 149

Fuel Burn
How much a Cessna 152 uses at Full power and at 75% cruise.
Depending on technique, you're likely to see a specific fuel consumption of .45 to .5 lb/hp/hr. So, if you have a 108 hp engine, it will deliver 81 hp at 75%.Figuring on the high side of the equation, you'll burn .5 pounds per hour x 81 hp = 40.5 lb/hr. Divide this by 6 pounds/gallon for fuel ,and you get 6 2/3 gallons per hour.
--For the O-235 Lycoming in a C-152, about ten gallons per hour at full throttle.
--For 75% you get around 81 or 82 HP at that power setting. Expect just under 7 GPH at 75% cruise.

Spin Hazard?

Transport Canada Directive concerning spins
in C-150's & 152's etc.
Applies to the following Cessna aircraft:
All C-150, 152, 172
Compliance is required as indicated, unless previously accomplished.

An investigation following the accident of a Cessna 152, which was performing a spin manoeuvre, has revealed that under certain conditions, it is possible to jam the rudder past its normal travel limit. The jam occurs when the stop plate on the rudder horn is forced aft of the stop bolt head. Recovery from a spin may not be possible
with the rudder jammed beyond the normal rudder travel stop limits.

To prevent the possibility of a rudder jam during flight, comply with the following:
A. Effective upon receipt of this directive, intentional spins/incipient spins are prohibited until the rudder inspection detailed below in paragraph C has been accomplished and any problems rectified. Repeat the rudder system inspection in paragraph C at every 110 hours or 12 months, whichever occurs first.

B. Aircraft not performing intentional spins/incipient spins must be inspected in accordance with paragraph C not later than 110 hours or 12 months, whichever occurs first, from the effective date of this directive. Repeat inspections are required in accordance with the interval in paragraph A.

C. Inspect the rudder control system for the following:
The condition of the rudder structure for damage or distortion, especially in the area of the rudder horn attachment. The condition of the rudder horn for bent or distorted arms which could allow the rudder horn stop plates to contact the side of the tailcone structure above or below the stop bolts. The condition and conformity of the rudder horn stop plate, stop bolts, and stop bolt attachments for damage or distortion. The stop plate should contact the stop bolt head squarely. The lip at the forward edge of the stop plate should not contact the stop bolt head prior to contact with the contact face of the plate. Ensure the integrity of the stop plate lip. The condition of the rudder pedals and rudder pedal torque tubes. Check for free movement of the rudder pedals, and verify there is no interference of the pedals, torque tube cable arms or the return spring arm with the surrounding structure or other control system components (the accident aircraft showed signs of interference of the rudder cable attachment bolt with the adjacent aileron cable pulley). The condition of the rudder pedal return springs for broken or corroded springs.

Using the applicable Cessna maintenance manual instructions, verify the correct rigging of the rudder control and nose gear steering system.
D. Repair any defects prior to further flight.
E. Report any evidence of rudder over-travel by submitting a Transport Canada Service Difficulty Report (SDR).
This directive becomes effective 4 August 2000.

Fuel Problems of Cessnas
Significant fuel imbalance has been explained away as due to overflow venting pipes being pressurized by air
in flight. However, it has been found to be due to fuel tank sealant obstructing fuel tank vent lines as well.
See Cessna service bulletin SEB 99-18