Plane & Pilot
Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Hottest Four Seaters


A look at new fixed-gear, four-seat singles




20% of Cessna 172 owners own three or more airplanes. For 70% of Cessna 172 owners, their Skyhawk is the first airplane they’ve owned.
PIPER ARCHER
The PA28-180 has always been regarded as the company’s true entry-level four-seater. We’re not sure how it manages another 18 knots of cruise on only 20 additional horsepower, but it’s certainly one of the most docile and forgiving models on our list, not to mention one of the oldest. With a stall speed well below 50 knots, it’s hard to make a bad landing in an Archer. For low-wing fans, the Archer is Piper’s Skyhawk—only the PA28-181 is $50,000 cheaper.

TRUE FLIGHT TIGER
They’re baaaaaack. Roy LoPresti’s Tiger was such a great airplane when it was a Grumman American that it keeps resurfacing under new management. For the fourth time around, a Valdosta, Ga., company is championing the new-generation Tiger, complete with a sliding canopy, sporty handling, a 180 hp engine and a 140-knot cruise speed. At this writing, the price hasn’t been announced, but True Flight hopes to have the airplane back in production by the end of the year. The airplane also may be produced and sold in China, where it’s already certified.

IF YOU COULD CHANGE ONE THING ABOUT YOUR AIRPLANE, WHAT WOULD IT BE?






AIRCRAFT OWNER COMPARISON
We surveyed aircraft owners to break down demographics by aircraft type. Figures are averages based on survey responses

AIRCRAFT
Owned
Age (yrs.) Income Total Hours Flown Total Hours Flown Last Year
Typical Flight Distance From Home Base (nm)
Cessna 172 51 $288,158 831 148 143
Cessna 350/400 54 $586,607 1,064 154 303
Cirrus SR22 50 $556,522 905 148 312
Diamond DA40 50 $386,363 636 130 246
Piper PA28 56 $221,429 1,125 98 171




AIRCRAFT EXPENSE
Figures are averages based on survey responses.

AIRCRAFT
Owned
Hangar Rental
(per month)
Tiedown Fee
(per month)
Annual Inspection
(per year)
Cessna 172 $370 $122 $1,411
Cessna 350/400 $346 $175 $2,492
Cirrus SR22 $386 $100 $2,076
Diamond DA40 $356 $120 $1,784
Piper PA28 $265 $106 $1,552





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