We went the extra mile to sample out the best seven small aircraft that you will love to fly. Our criteria is an aeroplane with a maximum seating capacity of four, having a single engine, and with a fixed landing gear system. We have sampled out the Dova Skylark, Cessna, Piper Sport, Pipistrel, Texas Colt, and others.
Dova DV1- Skylark
The Dova Skylark tops the list for many reasons: cost, fuel efficiency, versatility, and durability. It is a Czech-made aircraft certified as both an ultralight and light-sport aircraft. It is one of the few small aircraft equipped with winglets, enabling it to climb steeply, as well as bringing fuel efficiency. It has a range of 1,000 kilometres (540 nautical miles). No wonder the company slogan is “discover the world on reliable wings”. The Skylark is a cheaper alternative to popular aircraft like the Cessna 172.
Above: The Dova DV1 Skylark. Image source: Wikipedia..
One of the distinct features of the DV1 Skylark is a T-tail and a center stick — a control column that sits in between the pilot’s legs. With a low-wing configuration, the pilot has a better visual scan of aircraft as s-he is not obstructed by the wings. A fine aeroplane indeed!
More Cessna 172s have been produced than any other aircraft in the world for the simple reason that it is versatile, forgiving and a little workhorse. With a high-wing design, it is easy to enter or exit the aircraft as you do not have to step on a wing as is with other aircraft. Some people also argue that being a high-wing aeroplane; the C172 is less prone to a wing strike than a low-wing aircraft. The Cessna 172 may come under a different name such as the Reims Rocket – the French version of the C172.
Above: Cessna 172. Image source: Pixabay.
The C172 has distinct wing struts that are mounted on the fuselage and halfway the wing length. The strut is designed to transfer the landing loads from the wing to the fuselage. Some Cessnas like the Cardinal do not have this strut as the wings are internally braced.
You would easily think its a Cessna 172 but a closer look will get you to realise that it is in fact a Texas Colt. This is an aircraft which was tested to up to 6gs — a higher than required standard for a light sport aircraft. Passing this test proves that it is a great aircraft for flight training as it is capable of enduring the abuse that beginning pilots will unintentionally subject it to. The Colt has a ballistic parachute which just takes a few seconds to deploy. You can therefore be assured of a safer outcome in the unlikely event that it crashes.
Above: The Texas Colt. Image source: Texas Aircraft website.
The Colt is manufactured in the USA. The company has focussed on employing mostly war veterans who do most of the work on building the aircraft. It has a beautiful interior and a traditional yoke as well as an advanced instrument panel. If you were to compare a Toyota Corolla and a Mercedes Benz, the Texas Colt would fall in the Mercedes Benz category. The Colt is so far the best example of a comfortable aircraft and a fine interior we have ever seen.
Although less known in this part of the world, the Pipistrel Virus is one of the best training aircraft — thanks to its fuel efficiency and composite materials. It is a primary training aircraft for some notable military academies in the world. One of them is the Indian Airforce which ordered over 190 Pipistrels in year 2015.
Above: The Pipistrel Virus. Image source: Wikipedia.
The Pipistrel is manufactured in Slovenia. It won the NASA 2007 Personal Air Vehicle (PAV) Challenge as well as the 2008 General Aviation Technology (GAT) Challenge. It is one of the few aircraft which use 3D printed parts. It has a range of 1,420 kilometres and a top speed of 300 km/h (160 knots). The SW121 version is certified for intentional spins making it a great training aircraft for the modern age.
The Diamond DA40 is an Austrian made four-seat single engine aeroplane. It is an amazing aircraft which has an extremely low accident record (with regard to stalls and spins) – thanks to its high aspect ratio wing. Moreover, it has adjustable rudder pedals so in practice it can accommodate pilots of various heights.
Above: The Diamond DA40. Image source: Diamond website.
The Sport Cruiser is also manufactured in the Czech Republic by Czech Sport Aircraft — formerly Czech Aircraft Works (CZAW). It was at some point sold as Piper Sport Cruiser after CZAW entered into partnership with Piper Aircraft which of course did not last that long.
Above: Sport Cruiser. Image source: Wikipedia.
The Sport Cruiser has an optional Ballistic Recovery Systems parachute like the Cirrus brand. It has a gross weight of 600 kg (1,323 lb) and a range of 953 km (515 nautical miles) with a 30 minute reserve.
The Cessna 152 is no longer manufactured but is a favourite of many flying schools worldwide. The Aerobat version is certified for intentional spins as well as Cuban eights, aileron rolls, stalls, and Immelmann turns. It was replaced by the Cessna Skycatcher which was built between December 2009 and December 2013. Sadly, the Cessna Skycatcher programme was abruptly abandoned by Cessna. Production has since then ceased.
What are other aircraft that you would love to fly? Be sure to share your thoughts in the comment box below. Let’s keep the conversation going!