I continue to research planes....beginning a basics class...and pouring over advice from experienced aviators...took some good advice from here and decided not to buy into a plane at this time. Sooo..to a total novice..the 172 looks like the perfect compromise for a guy that will be hauling himself...his gear...and one other person. Ruled out the smaller Cessnas after being told " you can take your girlfriend and your hat along...nothing else". The 172 seems perfect....should you need to haul three passengers..you can. Good power...forgiving to fly....popular and proven. Tell me something you don't like about them .