Viral livestreams of pilots trying to tame their aircraft during one of the worst storms for a generation at Britain's busiest airports captured the nation for a brief moment. Everyone across the country seemed to be asking the same question - 'How do the pilots do that'?
But flying isn't as difficult as you might first imagine! If you fancy jumping into the pilot's seat, or even taking those first steps to earning your wings - here at FlyDays.co.uk, we have put together a beginners list of the easiest planes to fly.
So, what makes a plane easy to fly? Simplicity. When starting out, you will need an aircraft which is simple, stable, forgiving, and provides good all-round visibility – allowing you to get to grips with the basics and enjoy your time in the air. Anything too complex is going to be frustrating and unenjoyable to say the least.
There is a reason this aircraft is considered the best trainer aircraft. The Cessna 172 Skyhawk is the most popular single-engine aircraft ever built, with over 43,000 taking to the skies since it was first put into production in the mid-1950s.
The 172 is the perfect beginner aircraft, as it was designed with simplicity in mind, providing enough room for a beginner-instructor combo and room in the cabin for passengers, forgiving controls, lenient anti-stall, and good all-round visibility with the wings sitting high above the cockpit making landings much easier.
Where the Cessna 172 has been updated and tweaked where needed, it is still an aircraft that has its roots in the 1950s. Of course, this is no bad thing. However, the Cirrus SR22 is in an entirely different league.
Going into production at the turn of the 21st Century, this aircraft boasts unique features such as an in-built parachute (Cirrus airframe parachute system, CAPS) and airbag seatbelts for the pilot and co-pilot.
The cabin is simplistic in design making the space less daunting for beginners, therefore, allowing the pilots to focus on what's happening outside the aircraft. Additionally, the SR22 has incredible stability thanks to its larger wings and safety features.
While the Cirrus does have it's benefits and may appeal to more tech-savvy pilots to be, it also has its own quirks such as an off-set sidestick rather than a traditional stick (yoke) between the pilot's legs. Despite this, there is a reason the SR22 is one of the best-selling single seater aircrafts.
This aircraft is even older than the Cessna 172, however, the Piper J-3, also known as 'Cub', earned fame as a trainer and sports aircraft. Although the J-3 went into production in the late 1930s, the simplistic design and gentle handling characteristics exposes the pilot to aviation in its purest form.
As with any aircraft, the 'Cub' does present its own set of challenges for the pilot though its taildragger design (an aircraft undercarriage consisting of two main wheels forward of the centre of gravity and a small wheel to support the end of the tail).
This results in a limited view in the area straight ahead, so the pilot must conduct a series of s-turns while taxiing before take-off and after landing to check for traffic ahead – the taildragger design also makes landing more difficult when compared to tricycle geared aircraft.
Despite this, you can still find plenty of the J-3s in the hangers of airfields across the country. While the aircrafts mentioned above are easy to fly, any aircraft can be easy to fly when you are guided and mentored by experienced pilots and trainers, like those here at FlyDays.co.uk.
If you are looking to start your journey and earn your wings or experience what it's like to be a pilot, please visit our Flying Lessons page for more information and to book for dates through purchase of our open Gift Vouchers.