Top 10 Light Planes

10. Mooney M20 – Manufactured in 1955 with wooden wing spars that required lots of inspections to keep in airworthy condition, the Mooney M20 quickly became an all-metal aircraft. Different variants of the family were produced in three fuselage lengths and the M20’s engine power and cruise speed grew until it became the fastest production piston single available. Some 52 years after the Mooney M20 first flew it is still in production as the Mooney M20TN Acclaim.

9. de Havilland Canada DHC-1 Chipmunk – The Chipmunk was the first aircraft produced by the de Havilland Aircraft of Canada Limited. The fully aerobatic Chipmunk first flew in 1946 and soon became the primary trainer of the Royal Canadian Air Force, the Royal Air Force and smaller air forces worldwide.

8. Fieseler Fi 156 Storch – First produced in 1936, the Fi 156 quickly became known as the Storch because of its long undercarriage legs, its wide cockpit and its large wings made it look like a long-legged bird. The Storch was the Luftwaffe’s standard liaison and spotting plane during the Second World War and became famous for its amazing short-takeoff-and-landing performance.

7. Yakolev Yak-18 – The Yakolev Yak-18 entered service in 1946 as the primary two-seat trainer for the Soviet Air Forces. The early Yak-18A was built in large numbers and later versions were developed as aerobatic and light transport aircraft.

6. Boeing StearmanStearman became a subsidiary of Boeing in 1934, began building its Model 75 biplane basic trainer in the early 1930s. The U.S. Army Air Force adopted the rugged and reliable aircraft as a primary trainer, the Kaydet, and the aircraft also became a basic trainer for the U.S. Navy.

5. Piper PA-29 Cherokee – Manufactured in 1960, the four-seat, all-metal PA-28 Cherokee is still being produced 47 years later. One of the most recreational and touring single-engine piston aircraft of the modern era, the Cherokee became a family of models with over a dozen members, the Cherokee 140 and the Saratoga II.

4. Beechcraft Bonanza – The Beechcraft Bonanza made its first appearance in 1945 as the model 35. From 1959 until 1995 Beech also produced another version of the Bonanza, the model 33 Debonair.

3. de Havilland Tiger Moth – Derived from the earlier de Havilland Gipsy Moth, the elegant DH-82 Tiger Moth biplane was developed in the 1930s and became the standard primary trainer for the Royal Air Force and the air forces of most of other Commonwealth countries throughout the Second World War.

2. Piper Cub, PA-11 and Super Cub – Developed from the 1930 Taylor E-2 Cub by Piper, the two-seat Piper J-3 Cub taildragger became the primary trainer of the U.S. Civilian Pilot Training Program and four-fifths of all U.S. military pilots in the Second World War received their initial flight training in the type.

1. Cessna 172 Skyhawk – The most-produced light aircraft in history, the Cessna Skyhawk first appeared in 1956 and is still in volume production today. Dozens of versions of the Cessna 172 and the closely related Cessna 175 have been produced in the U.S. and in France. Offering a high-wing design, a low stall speed and a high degree of stability at low speeds, the Cessna 172 is an excellent search-and-rescue aircraft and forms the backbone of the Civil Air Patrol in the United States. The type is also operated by many air forces throughout the world.

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