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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.

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.

 

 

 

Friday, December 1, 2006

Accelerating A Mooney


Power Flow’s tuned exhaust system works

Accelerating A MooneyOkay, I admit it. I was a hot-rodder as a kid. Shortly after I was old enough to drive, a buddy and I began campaigning an old Ford on the second-gear, stock-car circuit around Anchorage and Fairbanks, Alaska. Later, I raced a Triumph TR3B and an Austin Healey 3000 in Sports Car Club of America gymkhana events around New Mexico. I didn’t win very often, but I had great fun in the process (until I realized how much money it was costing me).

Friday, December 1, 2006

New-Generation Trainer


Flight schools are oohing and aahing over Diamond’s sleek two-seaters

New Generation TrainerTraditional wisdom in the aircraft business has always been that if you could build the perfect trainer, the world would beat a path to your door. No airplane is perfect, but Diamond Aircraft may have come as close to that ideal as anyone with the Diamond DA20-C1 Eclipse.
Wednesday, November 1, 2006

Piper Mirage: Pistons, Pressure and Class


The most comfortable piston single in the sky

Piper Mirage: Pistons, Pressure & ClassJust as the Mooney 201 rescued its namesake company from oblivion in 1976, in the mid ’80s, the Malibu offered Piper Aircraft the only light at the end of the tunnel that wasn’t a train. After the whirlwind uphill ride of the ’70s, general aviation sales were tumbling all across the board, but the Malibu was an instant success.

 

Wednesday, November 1, 2006

2007: The Year Of The VLJ


Will the world of VLJ diverge into two distinct markets?

year of the vljRecently, global superstore Wal-Mart announced that it would sell Eclipse 500s at select locations. Customers will make a deposit, get a demo ride, and if they like it, they’ll ink the deal right at the airport. Wal-Mart will even paint its yellow happy face on the tail. Now there’s a thought. All that will cost a mere $1.6 million or so.
Wednesday, November 1, 2006

Allegro 2000: Light Sport and Fun!


Fast, Easy to Fly and Relatively Inexpensive—This Plane Is Part of the Sport Pilot Family

allegroNot all light sport aircraft are created equal; some are more equal than others. From old aircraft barely able to get off the ground to speedy, shiny, new glass aircraft—LSA covers a lot of ground.
Sunday, October 1, 2006

10 Cheapest Birds In The Sky


Don't Let Their Low Prices Deter You: These Planes Aim to Please

10 Cheapest Birds In The Sky

As much as those of us in the industry might wish it otherwise, flying is definitely one of the more expensive pastimes. Unfortunately, some pilots simply accept the realities of expensive flying costs without investigating the alternatives. Despite what you may think, there are ways to fly without busting the family budget. True, you won't be aviating at 170 knots in a shiny new A36 Bonanza or Columbia 400, but you can stay in the air for considerably less than the national debt of Peru.

Sunday, October 1, 2006

Columbia 350


Finally Ready For Its Closeup

columbiaLooking down on the Bend, Ore., airport from 2,000 feet AGL, the ramp at Columbia Aircraft resembled an air show in progress. There were airplanes everywhere. My quick count came up with 63 Columbia 350s and 400s waiting for delivery to their new owners. That’s probably $30 million worth of airplanes. There was little question that Columbia was back from the brink, big time.
Friday, September 1, 2006

The Ultimate Bonanza: Glass And Fast


This high flyer can carry six people at 200 MPH

bonanzaMost new pilots build time in low-performance airplanes before moving up to faster, more complex airplanes. Not Dee Winston—he cuts straight to the chase. A brand-new glass-paneled Bonanza G36 was the perfect fit for his growing business. The fact that he didn’t have a fixed-wing pilot’s license wasn’t a factor.
Tuesday, August 1, 2006

How To Keep Older Aircraft Flying


A new proposal offers some hope for owners of America’s aging aircraft fleet

How To Keep Older Aircraft FlyingIt’s a sad state of affairs when it’s far easier for older pilots to have new knees installed in their vintage bodies than to have new fuel valves installed in their vintage airplanes. It’s, however, becoming an unfortunate reality, as the general aviation fleet grows progressively older and accessing “approved data” becomes more difficult. But now a glimmer of hope is on the horizon for those owners who wish to safely and legally maintain and upgrade their antique, classic and vintage airplanes.
Tuesday, August 1, 2006

The New Mooney Acclaim


EXCLUSIVE! First look at the world’s fastest production airplane

mooneyAdapt, overcome and have fun—Mooney has done it again! Whether it’s staving off financial troubles, or innovating new products, Mooney has experienced some ups and downs in recent years. With the brand-new Acclaim, however, they’ve raised the bar. You want fast, you want improved climb rate, you want known ice with air-conditioning, you want to carry a respectable load? In short, if you want to fly higher, faster and farther, then get a new Mooney Acclaim.
Saturday, July 1, 2006

Compress Your Power


Turbocharging. Is it worth its weight and heat?

Let’s say you live in Wichita, Kan., where the highest terrain is about 1,600 feet. Normal aspiration should be adequate to cover virtually any situation, right?

Saturday, July 1, 2006

The Baron Of Glass


A seventy-five-year legacy turns the corner on the 21st century

The Baron Of GlassWalter Beech was born with a nearly H.G. Wellsian vision of things to come, at least when it came to aviation. In 1905, at the tender age of 14, Beech designed and built his own glider. Nine years later, he experienced his first flight. During World War I, Beech flew as an army pilot and he became a barnstormer after the war.
Saturday, July 1, 2006

Rediscovering The Diamond DA40


In its gentle stall, the descent rate is less than in a Cirrus SR22 with its parachute deployed

diamondSome people feel that the Japanese and Germans produce better cars, TVs, computers and cameras than the Americans, but there’s never been any question about the world domination of American airplanes. General aviation aircraft from the United States continue to lead in sales and performance at home and overseas.
Thursday, June 1, 2006

Ultimate Showdown


Battle of the four-seat speedsters

Ultimate ShowdownContrary to what many people think, there’s little to support the idea that general aviation’s glass is half empty. Examine the last dozen or so years of aircraft development. In that time, at least six single-engine, four-seat airplanes—all capable of cruising near or even well above the magic 200 knots—have emerged.

 

 

 

Thursday, June 1, 2006

The Cessna G1000 Skyhawk


The best-selling airplane of all time gets more sophisticated

The Cessna G1000 SkyhawkSince the demise of the Cessna 152 in 1986, the Skyhawk has emerged as perhaps the preeminent general aviation trainer on the market. It may be ideal for that role, because it’s one of the world’s most forgiving airplanes, but until recently, no one considered it a technologically sophisticated airplane.

 

Monday, May 1, 2006

CHiPs In The Sky


Ever seen those signs that say “Patrolled By Aircraft”?

CHiPs In The SkyCalifornia’s state police have used fixed-wing aircraft to patrol the Golden State’s roads for more than 30 years. The California Highway Patrol (CHP) first used Maule M4s, then transitioned to a dozen Cessna 185s. The universally beloved and talented utility taildraggers offered a forgiving personality, reasonable speed and good off-airport capability. Like 185s everywhere, the CHP Skywagons were revered by their pilots and generally regarded as flying jacks of all trades.
Monday, May 1, 2006

Tiger With G1000: Window On The Wild


This safe, easy-to-fly plane keeps getting better

tigerIf you haven’t yet flown a Tiger, you’ve missed out on one of general aviation’s real treats. As far as I’m concerned, the world has become a better place since the Tiger was reintroduced a few years ago.
Saturday, April 1, 2006

Diesel Skylane


A viable alternative to avgas has arrived

Diesel SkylaneIf you fly a typical general-aviation airplane, you probably can’t imagine a world without avgas. I fly a Mooney with a four-cylinder, 200 hp Lycoming, and there’s currently no alternative engine available. For me and for thousands of other aircraft owners, the thought of avgas becoming obsolete is simply inconceivable.

 

Wednesday, March 1, 2006

Commitment To A Cessna 172B


Dream hot, work hard and make sure there’s money in the pot: The chronicle of a 40-year path to the perfect C-172B

Commitment To A Cessna 172BThere are those seeds, like Jack’s, that explode overnight into giant beanstalks. And there are those, indigenous to certain biospheres, that only germinate when exposed to fire and, so, possibly wait for years to grow.

 

Wednesday, February 1, 2006

The Complete Corkscrew Pilot


Here’s the drill: Drill hundreds of students to fly a Pitts, drill on teeth for a living, then drill holes in the sky for the weekend...in a Pitts S2C!

The Complete Corkscrew Pilot"I imagine that it's something like taking drugs," says Bill Finagin, Pitts Special Pilote Incroyable.
Sunday, January 1, 2006

Maules Are All That


This taildragger can just about do it all

maules are all thatIt’s true, Maule pilots do it on dirt, sand, gravel, grass or any straight stretch of open area at least 250 feet long. And they have more fun! Probably because of where they like to go or what they like to carry. Lonnie Messenger of Dallas bought his Maule M-7-260C to get away from it all. As he says, “My flying is totally recreational. I like to stay away from people, TFRs and stuff like that.”
Thursday, December 1, 2005

How Old is Too Old?


A number of recent airworthiness directives for the general aviation fleet seem to be directly related to the aircraft’s age and flight time. So when is it safe to fly an aging plane?

How Old Is Too OldIn just the last few years, a series of T-34s, the military equivalent of a Bonanza, have suffered wing separations. An emergency airworthiness directive (AD) grounded the fleet. Just a couple of months ago, a well-maintained T-6, a World War II trainer, lost a wing doing maneuvers over Florida. With the general-aviation aircraft now averaging just less than 30 years of age, how can you tell if an airplane is safe to fly?
Thursday, December 1, 2005

Straight Talk From Thielert Aircraft Engines


Its new diesel aircraft powerplants are bringing Jet A to GA

Straight Talk From Thielert Aircraft EnginesThe diesels are coming…the diesels are coming—to general aviation, that is. And the company that’s leading the charge isn’t one of general-aviation engines’ “big two.” No, it’s a relatively small company that has its sights clearly set on relieving your dependence on avgas.