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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, December 1, 2009

Cessna 162 Skycatcher: It’s Here!


Cessna's successor to the 152, the Skycatcher, is poised to shine in the trainer market

Cessna 162 Skycatcher: It’s Here!The proliferation of LSA since the FAA announced the first approval at Sun ’n Fun 2005 has been little short of amazing.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Buying & Selling Strategies For 2010


This may be the ideal time to get a new or used airplane

Buying & Selling Strategies For 2010Today’s GA marketplace is best described as difficult but not impossible.
Monday, November 2, 2009

Upgrade Your Plane! Part I


Part I: A new exterior

Upgrade Your Plane! Part IFrom time to time, Plane & Pilot embarks on a proverbial aircraft-upgrade project and chronicles the progress for the enjoyment and edification of readers.
Monday, November 2, 2009

Breezer II: The Girl Next Door


Familiar and lovely, easy to be with and great to fly

Breezer II: The Girl Next DoorFlying an unfamiliar LSA is a bit like a first date. Your friends have talked her up. She has a pretty smile, but will you get along? Does she Tweet or use Facebook, keep an old-fashioned diary, or both?
Tuesday, October 20, 2009

New Light Twin From Italy


Tecnam introduces a twin-Rotax-powered four-seater in the tradition of the Partenavia P68C

New Light Twin From ItalyNaples, Italy, April 18, 1986: Today, I’m first in line for takeoff from Naples toward our initial destination of Nice, France. It has taken all morning to assure that the paperwork is up to Italian standards, but we’re finally ready, or so I hope.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009

170-Knot SUV


It’s the top of Cessna’s piston line, and not unlike ground-bound SUVs, the Turbo Stationair can haul (almost) anything you can close the doors on

170-Knot SUVAs one of the premier general aviation manufacturers, Cessna has always enjoyed something of a utility image.
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.