What is a easy and safe plane to fly?

Say just on a big wide open private grass runway on my property, what would be the best plane for me to get? I would want something that's not overly expensive, easy to maintain, would like to be able to make short trips in it but not an issue if it's just for recreational flying, but MOST IMPORTANTLY I would want it to be easy and safe for a relatively inexperienced pilot (with flight school and all just not much experience). Any advice?

9 Answers

  • 7 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    OK I'm an A&P, I.A. and I have been for thirty years. I'll tell you what to get. I'm that arrogant...

    Yes Cubs are cute and fun but GOD they're overpriced. Average about $35K for a little two-seat puddle-jumper. Parts are high-dollar, too. You're paying for the nostalgia and not the airplane. Same thing for the Aeronca (pronounced air-RON-ca, not "Aeronica") Champion. These are both tandem seaters and tandem seat airplanes command a price. Retired Airline Captains have no problem buying them but the rest of us are hard-pressed to justify that kind of money for a big toy. If you've just GOT to have a tandem seater with a joystick look for a Porterfield Collegiate. Around $20-25K but I think you're needing something more affordable than that.

    Ercoupes are real cute, too, but they have a list of Airworthiness Directives as long as your arm and they are prone to corrosion in some difficult areas. Their nosegear is a source of constant trouble. An improved fork is available and is a MUST even though it is quite pricey..

    RUN, don't walk, away from a Cessna 152. Or any Cessna built after 1977. The 24 volt electric systems are costly to maintain. All the bulbs are twice the price and hard to find out in the country and the batteries cost twice as much and last half as long as 12 volt batteries.

    For your purposes a Cessna 150 would be ideal. They can take off and land in very tight areas and with 40 degrees of flaps they come down like an elevator. They can sometimes be purchased for under $13,000, parts are available, they use 12 volt electrics, the Continental O-200 engine is very common and widely supported, and you have an ample baggage area that can even accomodate a third child seat. They are all-metal so they can be parked outside as long as they are flown at least every few days. Letting them sit for weeks outside is detrimental. There's one on my field with a STOL kit and the tail beef-up for $12,000 right now. They have numerous ADs, most notably on the seats and seat rails and the vertical stabilizer nutplates. These ADs are easily complied with.

    Other good little airplanes are;

    1938-1947 Aeronca Chief models 65LA, 65CA, 11AC, 11BC, etc. (not to be confused with the Champion above)

    1939-1953 Taylorcraft "B" Series (BC12D, BC65, etc.)

    1938-1962 Luscombe Silvaire 8 Series (8A, 8B, 8C, etc.)

    Commonwealth (Rearwin) Skyranger

    Piper Vagabond PA15 and PA17

    These are side-by-side two-seat taildraggers, 65-90 hp no electrics, hand-prop only. Can be modified to have electrics but that would be a lot of work. Except for a few special ordered stick-control examples the Tcraft and Chief have yoke controls. Luscombe, Vagabond, and Skyranger have sticks. Most Luscombes are all metal but earlier models had fabric wing covering. The rest of the structure was metal. Pretty serious AD on wing spar intergranular corrosion. Luscombe 8E and 8F had factory electric systems.

    Aeroncas, Vagabonds, and Taylorcrafts are all-fabric covered with wood spars. Pre-war Aeronca wings were all-wood with fabric. Wood is great but needs to be inspected very thoroughly. Post-war Aeroncas have an AD on wood spars. Taylorcrafts have ADs on the lift struts and strut fittings. All these can be purchased from around $10K to about $25K depending on condition and mod status. They will all require a tailwheel endorsement.

    Buy the 150. If you get bored with it go for a taildragger.

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  • JetDoc
    Lv 7
    7 years ago

    Same as it has been for the last 77 years... The best small trainer airplane for flying off a grass landing strip is still a Piper Cub. The original cub is kind of a collector's item these days, and not really cheap any more, but there are several companies like Cub Crafters who make brand new copies of the original design, and they fall under the light sport aircraft (LSA) category, so you can fly them with just a Sport Pilot certificate... At about half of the cost of obtaining a fully qualified Private Pilot's certificate.

    If you can't find a J3 Cub, you can look for an Aeronca Champ or other similar airplanes that were originally designed and manufactured back in the "Golden Age of Aviation", that came between the first and second world wars. Although they are all 60-75 years old, if well maintained, they are still serviceable and still inexpensive to maintain and operate.

    Good luck and remember... Blue is up.

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  • 7 years ago

    There's a plane that is cheaper and easier to fly than all of those planes previously mentioned: The Ercoupe. Perfectly at home on grass since that's all they had back in the 1930s when it was designed.

    It's a lot easier to fly than the Cub or Champ because it has tricycle landing gear, and even easier than the 152 because it doesn't need rudder pedals. You just land it crooked in a cross wind and even on pavement it will straighten itself out with no damage. It can be landed at any speed and unlike just about any aircraft it cannot be stalled or spun.

    Ercoupes are typically the cheapest certified aircraft you can buy, with some examples as cheap as $10-15,000US. You'll pay at least $20K for a clapped out Champ, and even the most basic J3 Cub goes for $40K in any serviceable condition.

    For performance, the Ercoupe will handily beat the Champ and Cub in cruise performance and be a dead heat against the more powerful 150 or 152.

    The Ercoupe is also a neat design with its twin tails and bubble canopy you can open in flight.

    If you are in the US, most versions are eligible for registration under Light Sport Aircraft, which reduces the licensing and medical requirements significantly.

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  • 7 years ago

    You can train to learn to fly safely for some $10,000 in North America -

    If you train on a full time basis, it will take you say 3 months to do it -

    The most popular training airplane (safest + least expensive) is the Cessna 152 -

    JetDoc mentions the Piper Cub -

    In USA, there is a "cult" for old vintage airplanes such as the Piper Cub -

    Makes them extremely expensive to buy -

    Outside the USA, they are just "plain old junk" -

    I own 3 old airplanes of 60 years of age (two L-21 and an O-1) -

    I operate these airplanes commercially, towing banners and gliders -

    They were extremely cheap to acquire, except getting decent engines -

    But I live in South America... where old airplanes have no "antique value" -

    I would recommend a Cessna 152 or Aeronca "Champ" -

    And select an old timer instructor pilot, not a kid trying to log flight hours -


    Source(s): Retired pilot
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  • 7 years ago

    1) It depends on the elevation above sea level of the airstrip. The higher in elevation, the more power you'll need, especially above 3,000 feet msl in the summer time. If you're closer to sea level, it isn't much of an issue unless you have a very short runway.

    2) It's hard to beat a Piper J-3 Cub or an Aeronca Champ for simplicity and fun, but they're really not traveling airplanes unless you're into going about 75 mph. And, being popular antiques in the "light sport" category, they're pretty pricey. A Cessna 150 or 152 is hard to beat in a cheap, simple two-seater that you can go someplace in (though not quite as fun) and the Cessna 172 has been the world standard in light 4-seat aircraft for 57 years.

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  • Tecnam P-92 Echo. Its one of the funnest planes I've ever flown in. Very easy to fly compared to others

    They glide real well

    Can take off in less than 300 feet

    Great for landing in grass.

    Burn less than 6 gallons per hour

    Can run on regular car gas

    Compared to other similar planes, very affordable

    Cruises at 100 kts

    Can fly with a Lite Sport Pilots license, Which is easier and cheaper to get (but more restricted)


    Source(s): Pilot
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  • 7 years ago

    There is no "easy and safe" plane.. It is the pilot that makes aviation safe. Any aircraft will work as long as you the pilot know the aircraft, it's capabilities and it's limitations and your own capabilities and limitations. I suggest that you gain more experience in aviation before you decide what is best for your situation. The fact that you feel a need to ask the question indicates that you need more experience.

    Source(s): Self- I fly high performance jet aircraft
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  • 7 years ago

    all the "touring" planes are safe and easy to fly. cessna 152/172, piper cherokee, etc.

    i've seen a couple of super cubs at the airport (one with the big tundra tires) and they look like they might be fun to fly.

    why not visit a local airport and ask around? are there any grass strips nearby? what do people fly out of them? maybe you could even go for a ride and see for yourself?

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  • 7 years ago

    Flight simulator by Microsoft!

    Source(s): Microsoft.com
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