When you learned to drive a car did you start out with a Lamborghini? Probably not, because they’re rare and expensive, but even more – they’re hard to drive. When you’re learning to fly you want to keep it as simple as possible. If you start your flying journey with a complex plane that’s not forgiving you’re likely to quickly call it quits. In this article, we’re going to look at four of the easiest planes new pilots use to learn to fly.
The Cessna 172
The Cessna 172 didn’t become the top-selling airplane of all time for out of the blue. Over 43,000 Cessna 172s have been produced since 1955, including variant models. It’s one of the most used aircraft in ground schools for student pilots. It’s known for its forgiveness and wide accessibility to replacement parts. The Cessna 172 is perfect for flight training for two reasons:
- The tricycle landing gear positions the fuselage and the pilot horizontal to the ground.
- High-wing planes provide pilots with a better view of what’s going on under them.
The Piper PA-28
The Piper was built to compete with the Cessna 170. Although the Piper has a low wing placement as opposed to the high wing placement of the Cessna 172 there are advantages. Fueling doesn’t require a stepladder because the tanks are below the engine on the Piper. The plane has great stability while taxiing because the landing gears are affixed to the wings instead of the fuselage. The Piper’s low center of gravity, combined with wider positioning for landing gear, makes taxi in strong winds easier. And of course, low wings look just look great.
In-flight, a low-wing aircraft feels more like gliding. It feels like you’re slicing through the air rather than being pulled forward by your propeller. If you had to choose between a PA-28 and a 172 there’s no right answer – it comes down to personal preference. Experiment with both and see which one you like more.
The Diamond DA40
The Diamond DA40 is a newer plane. It’s a 4-seat, mass-produced trainer. One of the first things you’ll notice on the Diamond DA40 is the glass cockpit. The low wing design gives pilots and passengers a better view of the sky above them. While the Cessna 172 and Piper PA-28 are made of metal, the DA40 is engineered from composite materials. These materials make the plane much lighter and more fuel-efficient. Students training in a DA40 will be more prepared for modern avionics than those training in older Cessnas and Pipers.
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