Flight Training Aircraft: The Most Common Types and Models

Shawn Arena

So, in your journey to earn your pilot certificates, you have most likely (a) enrolled in a flight school, (b) been presented the ground and flight curriculum you will follow and, (c) been assigned a flight instructor. The next step is the actual flying. At this step, you will most likely be learning in one of the more common types and models of flight training aircraft.

Flight Training Aircraft You May Be Using

The general aviation industry has a proud and safe reputation of providing successful flight training in time-tested training aircraft. Typically as you acquire the feel for the aircraft and the flight environment, you will be flying a ‘2-place’ trainer (i.e. 2-place is industry speak for 2-seats). While many 2-place aircraft are available, two of the most popular 2-place aircraft are the Cessna 152 and the Diamond DA 20.

Cessna 152 and Diamond DA 20

Over the past 40 years, the Cessna 152 has trained more pilots than any other type of aircraft. Cessna purposefully designed the 152 with the student pilot in mind. This aircraft model is reliable, very forgiving in the landing phase, and allows the student to learn the basic airmanship skills needed to progress in the training process. While the interior is tight, the student-instructor relationship is forged nicely, in a cost effective environment.

The Diamond DA20 Katana aircraft is an Austrian-designed, Canadian built 2-place training aircraft that has been in the general aviation fleet since 1991. Designed with the same mindset as the Cessna 152, the Katana design takes advantage of the technological advances in manufacturing using carbon-fiber composite construction for the airframe that not only reduces the aircraft weight but allows for a more aerodynamic flight.

Unlike the Cessna 152, which uses the yoke style control column, the Katana uses the central control stick system that is placed between the pilot’s legs. Another difference is the 152 is a high-wing training aircraft and the Katana is a low-wing configured aircraft. Regardless of the types and models of aircraft used in flight training, you can be assured of a safe, strong, and very stable aircraft that as you move forward in your career will be looked upon with nostalgia.

Moving Up to the Next Level of Flight Training Aircraft

Prior to your private pilot checkride, you will be introduced to one of two 4-place aircraft that not only will maintain that basic aircraft feel but will allow you taking family and friends along for rides.  They are the Cessna 172 aircraft or Piper Warrior/Cherokee aircraft.

Both aircraft are two of the most commonly available for training or rental uses at flight schools. Utilizing the same safe, sturdy, and reliable foundation of the 152 and Diamond Katana, both are great transition aircraft for instrument flight training.

The Piper Warrior/Cherokee is Piper Aircraft’s answer to the 172. The main difference between the two aircraft is the 172 is a high-wing aircraft like its predecessor, the 152. The Warrior/Cherokee is a low-wing aircraft, like the 2-place Diamond Katana. The choice between high-wing and low-wing is personal preference.

In Conclusion

The bottom line is with either 2-place or 4-place types and models used for flight training, you will initially gravitate to either the high-wing or low-wing aircraft configuration through the early and maturing stages of your flight career. After a bit, however, you may want to explore the other type and may find it just as exciting as your first training aircraft. So go out and flight test each for yourself!

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