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General Aviation Aircraft

Explore the world of general aviation aircraft with our reviews. Written from a pilot's perspective, these reviews provide fantastic insight into what these general aviation planes are really like.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Power Trip


King Air Upgrades Spur Aftermarket Action

Power TripWith heavy in- and outbound Philadelphia and New York traffic passing overhead, it’s a challenge getting cleared to climb directly to FL280 from Queen City Municipal Airport (KXLL) in Allentown, Pa.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Backstage With A Rock Star


An exclusive look into flight-testing one of the most anticipated light-sport aircraft: the Icon A5

Backstage With A Rock Star“Rock star.” It’s a phrase you frequently hear when talking to Kirk Hawkins, founder and CEO of Icon Aircraft in Los Angeles, Calif.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Gobosh 800XP: Flying With Composites


It has been five years since the FAA approved the first LSA. Here’s one of the latest and most innovative entries in the class.

Gobosh 800XP:  Flying With CompositesI wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Gobosh’s Dave Graham had promised me that this was an LSA with a difference.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Getting Creative: Affordable Flying


With the economy in trouble, pilots are finding innovative ways of keeping themselves in the sky

Getting Creative: Affordable FlyingAffordable flying is something of an oxymoron. World War II aviator Jimmy Doolittle is credited for uttering the phrase, “How can it be said that there is no money in aviation? That's where I left all of mine!"
Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Rocky Mountain High: The Aviat Husky


With a new Garmin G600 panel, Aviat re-creates the Husky backcountry classic with modern comforts and capabilities

Rocky Mountain High: The Aviat Husky4:19 a.m. That’s what the clock read as I stared at it for the fifth time in an hour. I was trying to sleep and it just wasn’t working.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009

First-Class Glass: Sting S3


Amazing cockpit visibility, tough, nimble, fast: What’s not to like?

First-Class Glass: Sting S3There’s a joyful aspect to flying any low-wing LSA that you just don’t get with a high-winger: the unrestricted panoramic view from the horizon upward.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Bonanza In The 6th Decade


Is there a pilot out there who doesn’t yearn for a Bonanza?

Bonanza In The 6th  DecadeWhen I was a college student about XX years ago, one of the coolest cars on the planet was the Jaguar XKE.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Big Blue World: Evektor Sportstar SL


The Evektor SportStar SL is friendly to fly, sturdy, beautiful and roomy—and what a view!

The Big Blue World: Evektor Sportstar SLBelow, the greening, lake-dotted checkerboard of central Florida stretches in every direction. It’s a beautiful day to be flying a beautiful bird. Color me happy!
Tuesday, June 23, 2009

LSA Roundup


Light-sport models and avionics to suit all budgets

LSA RoundupYou need go no farther than a summer air show buzzing with a vibrant, colorful contingent of light-sport aircraft to see what the excitement has been all about and sense where it might take us. The LSA movement is a living, breathing example of the sheer innovation, quality and giddy diversity that has characterized personal flight from the very beginning in 1903.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Cessna 400 Corvalis TT


Cessna initiates changes to its recently acquired Columbia line of low-wing singles

Cessna 400 Corvalis TTBack in the ’80s, when I was working on the ABC TV show Wide World of Flying, I flew up to Washington State to interview Ken Wheeler, designer of the Wheeler Express homebuilt, and fly his innovative airplane.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Mooney Ovation 3: Turbo Performance Without The Turbo


The Ovation 3 is the fastest normally aspirated production single ever—period

Mooney Ovation 3: Turbo Performance Without The TurboSay what you will about American cars, but America builds some of the best civilian airplanes in the world. In the lower rungs of general aviation, especially trainers through four-seat retractables, American flying machines have virtually no equal.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A New Cirrus With A New Boss


Flight Into Known Icing is added to the SR22

cirrusWorking under the code name “Project Kiwi,” Duluth, Minn.–based Cirrus Design has been laboring over the last 20 months in relative secrecy to certify its first FAA-approved Flight Into Known Icing (FIKI) system on its flagship aircraft, the SR22.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Luscombe Phantom II: A Modern Time Machine


With its radial engine and timeless design, Luscombe introduces an LSA with attitude

Luscombe Phantom II: A Modern Time MachineI was glad my editor couldn’t see the little jig I danced after reading her e-mail asking if I was interested in flying a new taildragger from Luscombe called the Phantom II.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Luscombe Phantom II


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Ownership Made Easy


New versus old: What you get and what you don’t get

ownershipThis week, within the course of about two hours, I received calls from two friends who wanted to buy similar, but different, airplanes. The common thread was that each wanted something fun and simple to own.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Cubbing Around


A light-sport blend of old-school nostalgia and modern technology

cubbingIn a sky filled with high-performance pistons, turboprops and jets that speed to their destination, there’s still something undeniably irresistible about a little yellow Cub. Puttering around low and slow, the humble two-seater makes lazy circles over emerald fields as its pilot smiles down on Earth, senses ignited by a soft breeze and the scent of grass airstrips that waft through the open window.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009

2009 Cessna 172S: Skyhawk In Year 53


Forever young

cessnaIs it just me, or does the Cessna Skyhawk seem younger than 53? After all, take away the panel, paint and interior, and you might mistake a 2009 for a 1964 model if both airplanes were parked side by side on the ramp in bare aluminum livery. But while the current model’s configuration is physically very similar to that of the older models, the 2009 172S is a very different machine from that early version.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009

LSA Flight Report: Cruiser In School Clothing


Mix all-aluminum construction, deep aviation manufacturing background and the desire to build a robust training aircraft, and what have you got? Eaglet!

lsaThe truly wonderful thing about events like the recent Sebring U.S. Sport Aviation Expo is that you have the fun, and the scheduling challenges, of flying many different types of aircraft at one sitting. “Sitting” is a key word. I came to regard it as an aviation smorgasbord—for my tush. Of course, such an avian feast feeds other visceral, spiritual and intellectual appetites too, but sitting comfort in an airplane is also important, yes? You betcha.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009

DA 40 XLS: The Innovator Keeps Getting Better


With the addition of Garmin’s Synthetic Vision Technology and other improvements, the popular composite four-seater reaches a wider audience

DA 40 XLS: The Innovator Keeps Getting BetterThe day was a dappled gray when I arrived at Long Beach Airport in California for my chance to fly the brand-new Diamond DA40 XLS. Rain had been forecast for the afternoon, but the thin overcast had given way to broken clouds with a deep blue sky peering from behind them.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Improbable Pacer


A rebuilt classic in a class by itself

pacerThere are few aircraft type organizations in general aviation more enthusiastic than the Short Wing Piper Club. That’s, perhaps, ironic in view of the inexpensive prices of most short-wing Pipers. The compact, little two- to four-seaters are among the cheapest entry-level airplanes available. Many sell for less than $25,000, especially the minimalist Vagabond, Clipper and Colt. As the last of the non-Cub Piper taildraggers, the Pacer enjoys a similar price advantage. Even the last of the Pacers, the 1954 model, sells today (in stock configuration) for well under $20,000. The PA20 was introduced in 1950 as a follow-on to the Piper Clipper after Pan American World Airways claimed it owned the name “Clipper” (apparently ignoring the fact that hundreds of sailing ships in the 19th century were called “clippers”).

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Up-And-Comer


The new Remos GX rises to satisfy sport pilots

remos An LSA that was 10 years in the making may aptly be called a “mature design” within this nascent sector of piston aircraft. A few others share a similarly “ripe, old” heritage, but most are far newer than the trusty GA models in which many of us learned the art of flying.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009

King Me!


Down & dirty in the spectacular Utah Canyonlands

King Me!Todd Peterson built this STOL-bred King Katmai precisely to enable such thread-the-needle landings.
Monday, January 26, 2009

Liberty XL2 Vanguard: The Soul Of A Tiger


The FADEC-equipped two-seater makes training and cruising fun again

Liberty XL2 Vanguard: The Soul Of A TigerThe mission was an intriguing one: I would fly the brand-new Liberty Aerospace XL2 Vanguard Edition for a pilot report along California’s Malibu coast.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Choosing A Six-Seat Single


Efficiency, comfort, modern technology and so much more

In our current era of financial belt-tightening, efficiency counts for a lot. Vero Beach and Wichita are really getting it right with their newest batch of six-seat singles. Why? Because today’s six-seat singles offer a great combination of comfort, baggage capacity, speed, ease of flying and modern technology for people who need to cover a typical 250-mile stage length with four to six passengers and a lot of luggage.