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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, October 23, 2007

Diamond DA40 XL: Polishing The Diamond Star


The new Diamond DA40 XL incorporates new aerodynamics, an improved, composite prop and an advanced exhaust system to increase the knot count

Diamond DA40 XLAsk anyone who’s tried to wring more speed from an existing aircraft design, and you’ll learn that the task is very difficult. Hot-rodders have long been adding speed on cars and motorcycles by installing progressively more powerful engines, and that works great for machines that roll on wheels. Unfortunately, it’s not nearly as effective on airplanes.
Monday, October 1, 2007

$500 Per Month?


You can own an airplane on a budget

$500 Per Month?I’ve always believed that everyone can own an airplane. Indeed, I’ve noticed that many of the people who are now jetting around in Gulfstreams or Challengers got started in Champs, Cubs, Stinsons, Cessna 150s, Cherokee 140s or similar entry-level airplanes.
Monday, October 1, 2007

Ovation3: Reaching For 200


Mooney’s new Ovation3 pushes the cruise-speed battle closer to 200 knots—without a turbocharger

ovationOn the face of it, retractable gear seems almost an ideal solution to the problem of making an airplane fly faster. The whole idea is to reduce drag and increase cruise; cleaning up the underwing accomplishes that mission, though with varying levels of success.
Monday, October 1, 2007

Bad Girl


Flying Patty Wagstaff’s “girly” Extra 300S

Bad GirlThere I sat as the consequence of a misunderstanding, watching the ground drop away at a satisfyingly rapid rate.
Monday, October 1, 2007

CZAW SportCruiser: Top-Of-The-Line LSA


sport cruiserSince the official advent of LSAs at Sun ’n Fun 2005, the type has taken off beyond the wildest dreams of its developers. It seems there’s some kind of LSA on virtually every airport ramp these days. In view of the type’s popularity, LSA designers have looked for ways to push right up against the allowable limits of certification. The type is limited to 600 kg (1,320 pounds) gross weight, can’t carry more than two folks and can’t exceed a cruise speed of 120 knots.
Saturday, September 1, 2007

25 Great Aviation Websites


Flying the Internet is shifting from a flight of fancy to an icon of information

25 Great Aviation WebsitesAnyone looking to find the facet of flying that has grown the most over the past decade will discover that it’s the part of aviation on the Internet. What began as a mere curiosity some years ago is now a well-established component in most pilots’ lives. Never before have we been able to find so much information about the passion we share.
Saturday, September 1, 2007

Blackhawk King Air 200XP: “Simply Good Business”


The Blackhawk conversion allows you to fly one of the world’s most popular turboprops farther, faster and less expensively than ever before

blackhawkTurboprops have always occupied a unique niche in the world’s corporate aviation market. The type represents a middle ground in both price and performance between piston twins and pure jets, offering 2,000+ fpm climb and 50 to 75 knots’ more cruise speed than pistons, plus six-to-10-seat capability and the talent to fly well above most of the planet’s nastiest weather.
Saturday, September 1, 2007

10 Sexiest Airplanes


…in the eye of the beholder

10 Sexiest AirplanesOkay, we freely admit it: What started as a simple exercise, to select the 10 sexiest airplanes in the world, has turned out to be one of the most difficult and divisive projects in which we've ever been involved.
Saturday, September 1, 2007

de Havilland Beaver


Sixty years in the sky de Havilland Beaver

de Havilland BeaverYou first notice the sound as a low rumble in the distance.
Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Buying Your First New Airplane


It feels great. It looks sexy. You catch yourself daydreaming about it in boring meetings. People come up and look at it wherever you go.

Buying Your First New AirplaneA brand-spanking-new airplane. There are few thrills and accomplishments as satisfying and special as buying a factory-new airplane. To the new owner, a new bird is the epitome of symphonic beauty and brilliant engineering; a powerful engine and supple, luxurious leather interior combined with the latest in navigation and communication technology, which, in many cases, outpaces commercial airliners. And it’s all yours.

 

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

District of Columbia


A turbocharged manifestation of desire

District of ColumbiaWhen you fly different-make and -model airplanes, it can be hard to keep them straight in your radio calls. I’ve called a TBM, flying at FL280, a Cirrus. I’ve called a Diamond Star a Cessna, and I’ve called a Warrior a Husky. Usually, I catch myself immediately and correct my call, but there are times in life when calling something, or someone, by the wrong name can be hazardous to one’s health. A radio call generally isn’t one of them. That’s why I’ve decided to call any airplane I’m pilot-testing, “Baby.” So last week, when I was just getting my feet wet with a 12-hour-old Columbia 400, after botching a few radio calls, the airplane thence became Baby N452BS, and that’s no bravo sierra.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

The Sierra Stallion


It’s not your father’s Citation!

the sierra stallionPilots often nickname airplanes they love and, conversely, ones they dislike. There’s “Spam Can” for Cessna pistons and there’s the denigrating “Fork-Tailed Doctor Killer” for V-tailed Bonanzas; one of the most derisive is “Slow ’Tation” for Cessna’s entry-level jet. It’s hard to believe, but some folks malign the Cessna Citation as a “near jet” and use other less-than-flattering descriptions.
Sunday, July 1, 2007

Cessna Turbo Stationair: Escalade For The Jeep Trail


An acknowledged workhorse for nearly 40 years, the Cessna Stationair adds major avionics sophistication and uncommon comfort to its credentials

Cessna Turbo Stationair: Escalade For the Jeep TrailSomehow, the very idea of motoring along a mile above the tallest mountain in the contiguous 48 states in a Cessna Stationair seems almost a contradiction in terms, an oxymoron (a moron on oxygen). Most pilots simply don’t associate the tough 206 with operation in the flight levels. The airplane’s image is more utility station wagon than high-performance, turbocharged SUV.

Friday, June 1, 2007

I Need A Price Check On Runway 6, Please


User fees have the potential to significantly change the way we fly

I Need A Price Check On Runway 6On February 5, 2007, President Bush released his 2008 fiscal year budget. Fears of how the budget would affect aviation came to fruition with a proposed budget cut of $1 billion off of the present funding level of $14.3 billion. A week later, the government declared that they’d be looking for a closer matching of costs to benefits; additionally, they recommended increases in the fuel tax and the implementation of several user fees. To make matters worse, if the budget goes through as presented, general aviation will be at war with commercial aviation about who and how much each side will have to pay for the right and privilege to fly. And the clock is tickling—funding for the FAA expires on September 30, 2007.
Friday, June 1, 2007

Diamond Twin Star: 21st Century Multi


Diamond Aircraft, the world’s third-largest manufacturer of GA, fixed-wing aircraft, is betting that the diesel-powered Twin Star will be the multi trainer of the future

Diamond Twin Star: 21st Century MultiPerched in the catbird seat of Jerry Barto’s Diamond Twin Star, 11,500 feet above Palm Springs, I can’t help reflecting that this truly is a new-generation airplane. Calling any flying machine 21st century has a nice ring to it, but the DA42 truly deserves that accolade. From concept to power to configuration, it has about as much similarity to the old light/light twins as does a new Infiniti G35 to a ’57 Chevy.

 

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

The Bonanza Hits 60 Strong and Fast!


On its 60th anniversary, the Bonanza is still a true pilot’s airplane

The Bonanza Hits 60 Strong and Fast!Any good design has a timelessness that transcends fashion. Whether you consider a toaster or a car or an airplane, a successful design starts with a good robust understanding of the balance betweenperformance, looks and customer requirements.
Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Evektor SportStar: Czech Mate


Mostly metal and all fun, the Evektor SportStar brings its own formula to the LSA class

evektorThe category is called light-sport aircraft, and one look at the Evektor SportStar suggests that it practically defines the type. A product of the Czech Republic’s largest aircraft manufacturer, Evektor-Aerotechnik of Kunovice, the SportStar is one of many products from a company with a prestigious international client list—Boeing, Mercedes, Volkswagen, Let Aircraft and others.
Tuesday, May 1, 2007

The Evolution Of Epic


Epic is planning a whole family of high-performance turboprops and jets, starting with the Dynasty and Elite

epicAt a time when very light jets are all the rage, turboprops might seem “old school” or out of step with the times. After all, the new VLJs will fly higher and faster for the same or less money.
Sunday, April 1, 2007

The Huskier Husky


An old friend with a bigger engine

aviat huskyThe first flight in a new airplane is exciting, even when it’s an old friend with a bigger engine. I had flown Huskies many times, but never the new 200 hp Aviat Husky A-1B-200, and as I started to throttle up, I was watching the edge of the runway for any indication that the airplane was trying to turn; it wasn’t. Also, I had a plan: I was going to do a standard Husky three-point, short-field takeoff rather than lifting the tail in the normal manner. What’s the fun in flying an airplane with a big motor if you’re not going to go for the gusto?
Thursday, March 1, 2007

TBM 850 Scorching The Airways With Style


Meet Socata’s answer to the very light jet

tbm 850Whoa, the simulator at SimCom never accelerated like this! I’ve just advanced the throttle of N850LA, a brand-new EADS Socata TBM 850 with barely 100 hours, and I feel like I’ve floored the gas pedal in a candy-apple red 1969 Chevy Camaro with a big-block V8. Sure, the sound is different, but I’m pinned to my seat all the same.
Thursday, March 1, 2007

Liberty XL2: Trainer With A Difference


Cross-country comfort and performance enter the two-seat, flight-training class

Liberty XL-2: Trainer With A DifferenceTwo-seat general aviation airplanes have had a checkered career at best. For every Cessna 150/152 or Citabria that’s had a model run of 30 years, there have been a half-dozen other types that only lasted for three or five.

 

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Remos G-3 Teutonic LSA


This German sportplane is as strong as it gets

remosThe Germans have never had a monopoly on quality, but there’s little question that American drivers have long regarded German cars as some of the best in the world. Mercedes, Porsche, BMW and Audi all have reputations as high-quality, high-performance machines.
Monday, January 1, 2007

Flight Design CT Best Of The LSAs?


Worth Every Penny

flight designLight sport aircraft come in a variety of flavors. If you’re inclined to go traditional, you can opt for the Legend Cub, an upgraded copy of the venerable J-3. At the opposite end of the LSA spectrum, many pilots are selecting the Flight Design CT.
Friday, December 1, 2006

10 Undervalued Classics


10 Undervalued ClassicsGiven the way that prices on just about everything keep going up, it’s hard to believe there really is such a thing as an “undervalued” airplane. But such a thing does exist, especially when you look back at the older classics.