108 thoughts on “The 9 Most Beautiful GA Airplanes

  1. 1950 Cessna 140A S/N 15350 N9629A

    They were over 8000 Cessna 120 & 140’s
    Built between 1946 to Early 1949
    The Cessna 140A were built late 1949-1951
    There only made 525 Cessna 140A models

    The Cessna 120/140’s were the fore runner of the Cessna 150 models. There are a lot of the parts similar to both models. There have been thousands of pilots that learned to fly on Cessna 120/140 model plane. They are a classic plane to
    Day. If you will email your address I’ll send you some great pictures for you to review.

  2. I have a 1960 Cessna 210. In flight, it is the most beautiful airplane. I have owned it for 28 years and my Dad for 12 years before that. I have a photo that truly stirs my heart.l

  3. The Mooney aircraft with their unique tail design, sleek body and ample sized interior for a compact exterior is a beauty! Cant argue with any of the others and I am partial as a co-owner of a 1978 M20.

  4. How about the Interstate Cadet? Not too many around anymore, but I definitely think it should be in that list

  5. I favor the Fairchild 45
    and flew as well as it looked!
    It was forerunner to the Spartan Executive- which would be my second choice

  6. My Cessna 172F that I have own for 21 years. First long trip in 2001 KRAC to KLAL. After that no place was out of reach. Saturday the 5th I will be flying to KCGC for a gathering of UFO’s united flying octogenarian.

  7. The Piper PA-17 “Vagabond” is mot only the most fun to fly; it and it’s hangar mate, PA-15 “Vagabond” saved Piper Aviation from bankruptcy in 1947. There still are many of them flying and for sale for about 100X markup. I paid $10K for mine and sold it in 2003 for $16K and I miss it very much. I’d pay $30K to have it back. Piper Vagabond has my vote for best aircraft of all time!

  8. Clearly beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Some pretty ugly craft have been mentioned so far. My choice would include the Comper Swift, Waco Meteor or SIAI Machetti SF260 (same thing). Roll those both into one and you get the General Avia F22 (Pinguino). Looks fantastic in the air and flies beautifully.

  9. I think the “V Tail” Bonanza should be on the list.
    It’s a classic and it’s very recognizable. And, over 50 years in production.

  10. The Midget Mustang, designed to be certified and built by Schweitzer and instead became an iconic experimental.

  11. I have flown thousands of hours in a P337 through the USA. I find it very classic and beautiful. Reminds me of the ten boomed P38.

  12. I agree with kenny schnack. The T-Tailed Lance! Terrible flying qualities but pretty to look at.

  13. Of the listed airplanes, my vote goes to the Cessna Cardinal, and specifically the later model RG. Not only is this plane a head turner in looks, but the function and utility it offers as well as the general cost to own makes it a winner to me. I’ve flown most of the suggested planes, and all are great in their own right, but taking the nostalgia out it, and looking at all of the issues related to the plane(s) my choice is certainly the Cardinal.

  14. Radial engine required for top three

    10 Super Swift
    9 Bonanza
    8 Edge 540
    7 Pitts S2A
    6 Falcon 10
    5 Lear 28/29
    4 Lockheed Electra
    3 Cessna 195
    2 Spartan Executive
    1 Beech Staggerwing

  15. How about the Johnson Rocket? They built only 17 bur sold more than 500 in 1946. I have owned mine since 1963. There are only three currently airworthy.

  16. Fantastic list! I just have one question: Can we make it 10 and add the Spartan Executive? It could easily be in first place. It is an absolute masterpiece.

  17. This list is somewhat subjective, and appears to be a good start. However some of the greatest beauties are the one offs, or rare types. I submit these are more beautiful than most of the types you have on your list, albiet less obtainable. Curtiss Wright CW-20, Spartan Executive, Stearman C3R and Model 4, Waco ZPF, Ryan ST, Grumman Goose, Lockheed 12, Lockheed Vega, Fairchild 22, Davis D1W, Stinson model O and SR-10, Consolidated Fleetster and…..well I guess i like planes.

  18. I would say there are a lot of beautiful designs that are overlooked because they were just too rare and obscure. Just a handful of types from the greatest GA era we ever knew were in no particular order…Stinson O and SR-10, Curtiss Wright CW-16, Stearman C3R and Model 4, consolidated fleetster, Wooden Lockheeds, Sirius, Vega and the Model 12 Electra. Grumman Goose, Meyers 200, Fairchild 22 and Davis D-1, Ryan ST, Monocoupe 110, Luscombe Phantom, Howard DGA-6….just too many to list. When an airplane is designed he way they were, its hard to look at the newer ones the same way.

  19. I would offer the later models of the Cessna 310 from the “N” on up…it always turns heads and it has one heck of a ramp presence…

  20. I agree with Stuart. I have a beautiful 1966 Alon Aircoupe. The Ercoupe began the “safe, easy to fly” airplane theme. It will not stall (therefore will not spin), is a very simple airplane (although not as simple as the Cub.), and is very economical to fly.

  21. The Stagger wing Beechcraft is my idea of the most beautiful general aviation airplane ever built. Of fighter planes it’s got to be the P51 Mustang and of commercial passenger planes the Lockheed Constellation.

  22. Surprised the Bonanza crowd has not been heard from. I’d push the last of the V-tail models. I fly a Citabria, so would encourage the Aeronca Champ silhouette. For twins the Twin Commache sure is sleek.

  23. I have flown almost every one of these and would agree the Ted Smith Aerostar is great. Not many folks know that it was always intended to be pressurized and had plans for a turbo prop as well as pure jet version.
    One coming up, not certified yet but will be the largest leap in GA history is the Raptor.

  24. There are, no doubt, many beautiful airplanes that have been produced over the years, but my vote is for the Cessna Cardinal RG. It has beautiful sleek lines making it the “sports car” of all the airplanes I have ever seen.

  25. So many to mention let’s add the C-170B in the air or on the ground those classic old lines

  26. The Beech T-Tail trainer, The “Skipper”, is the best looking, roomiest, most luxurious, and best performing of the American two seat trainers. A baby King Air and baby Duchess; A most under-appreciated plane in all respects !

  27. THE BEECHCRAFT DUKE.
    The tubine converted one with winglets is even more gorgeous. Can’t believe the most beautiful airplane in the sky has only one vote before mine. I thnk the terrible piston engines limited its popularity, cut its life short and kept it from getting its due. The Aerostar is also there as well as the twin comanche but the Duke is it!

  28. Lance Neibauer’s sculpting of his kit speedsters evolved into an Elegantly Simple (ES) version that, after extensive FAA Part 23 – design modifications resulted in the certified Lancair Columbia 300, 350 and 400 models. The design modifications made it a much safer, stronger, and yet the speediest of its class of aircraft; but did not destroy Lance’s attention to beauty in the air. Now under the Cessna banner, the best looking and flying Part 23 aircraft remains the Corvalis series.

  29. My opinion is that the Cessna 310 is the most beautiful GA aircraft ever built. From its sleek sexy lines to its performance and large cabin (shoulders room between pilot and co-pilot) and comfortable seating area make this the best ever and a great cross country platform. Watching Sky King as a child to owning a 1960d model there has never been such a beautiful aircraft produced. From the early tuna tanks to the very sleek canted tip tanks the design is elegant. Glad it made the list

  30. I have owned 7 different aircraft in my 50 years in aviation. I would vote for the Cessna 210 years 1973 and older. It is not only beautiful but it is a true 170 kt aircraft that can hall 1,000 lbs with full gas. I owned a 1973 L model for 14 years and it was the most reliable and solid platform anyone could ever want in a relative inexpensive aircraft to own and fly.

    Don Hensley

  31. Several aviation magazines have called the Beech 35 V-tail Bonanza the most significant plane manufactured after the second world war. It is also pretty both on the ground and in flight.

  32. Any of the Stinson line: 108/108-1/108-2/ 108-3 and the reliant line (SR’s) just a few AD’s and they fly superbly. Way ahead of their time.

  33. Cessna 170/180 with the B-17 shaped tail, unobstructed forward view (the cowl slopes down in cruise flight), tailwheel, honest 100 knot cruise and great fuel economy.

  34. Although any list of favorites is highly subjective, the Spartan Executive would be at the top of my list. Because only 34 were ever built, many aviation aficionados have never actually seen one. Art deco masterpiece is an appropriate description for one of the beauties. For a twin engine airplane, my favorite would be the Lockheed 12A.

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