If you’re looking to purchase a four-seat single, then you’ve got no shortage of models to select from. Aside from price range, the models encompass a wide variety of performance capabilities and equipment.
No one can guess if the personal jet market will be as robust as many entrepreneurs think, but here’s a look at the current and projected crop of contenders
It’s a new world. VLJs and personal jets are on their way. Despite naysayer predictions, Eclipse Aviation is actively marketing its model 500 twin jet, with more than 100 aircraft completed and 50 delivered (as of mid-February), and there are at least another 10 models of small jets set to debut in the next three years.
During the private flying boom in the early ’50s, America fell in love with Cessna Aircraft Company’s high-wing singles. By the mid-’70s, Cessna had built more single-engine airplanes than any other manufacturer (100,000 by 1978). In the late ’70s, production peaked for all new airplanes, including Cessna singles, and then sharply tapered off (the production line was actually dormant from 1987 to 1996).
Okay, 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.
The benefits of LIGHT-SPORT Aircraft extend beyond sport pilots to recreational and private pilots as well
Until recently, buying a new aircraft meant shelling out $200,000 or more—even if all you wanted to do was get into the air for some fun flying, either solo or with a passenger. Of course, you could opt for an older aircraft, but airworthiness directives and maintenance costs quickly boost the actual costs. Or you could build your own airplane for much less—provided you took a year off from work. Fortunately, the many new light-sport aircraft (LSA) coming to market offer you cost-effective options.
Given 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.
Contrary 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.
Interested in operating your own airplane for a fraction of the cost of a rental?
It’s one of the most common myths among non-pilots and new pilots alike: “Owning an airplane is ridiculously expensive, certainly not within the financial province of a typical, upper-middle-class American.”
The aircraft market continually changes, creating new low-cost airplanes for pilots who dream of owning their own plane
Compiling any list of the 25 best bargain buys in general aviation is almost guaranteed to ruffle some feathers. Our choices aren’t always going to agree with everyone else’s. No matter how much we try to be fair and impartial, our selections have to be at least a little subjective. We’re probably as subject to partiality as the next pilot, even if we’re allowed a broader frame of reference.
I have a good friend in the music business who has always shown an interest in flying. He seems to have plenty of time, drives a two-year-old Volvo wagon, owns a home in Long Beach, Calif., and has inquired several times about the cost of learning to fly. He’s not intimidated by the price of lessons, but he isn’t enthusiastic about having to rent someone else’s airplane once he’s rated.
You can spend as much or as little as you want to romance an open-cockpit airplane
Ask anyone who has actually worked an open-cockpit airplane for a living and most will tell you the same thing: Open-cockpit airplanes can be a pain in the butt. Yes, you can hear and feel exactly what the airplane is doing, but you’re freezing part of the time, sweating part of the time and getting your brains beat out all of the time. In the old days, open cockpits were simply drafty, not romantic. Why, then, are more open-cockpit sportplanes flying today than at any time in the last 50 years?
Great news for pilots! Look at the airplanes you can buy for $30,000 or less!
Affordable classics might seem an oxymoron, a contradiction in terms, but in fact, there are more of them available than you might imagine. Before we could home in on the top 10, however, we had to define exactly what we meant by “affordable” and “classic.”