View Full Version : Battle of the Titan light aircraft

2004-Nov-13, 11:36 AM
The Cessna 172 Skyhawk is probably the most popular of all light aircraft. It's used a lot in America. They are more like a car with wings and so are more functional. In Britain, the Piper PA-28 is the most popular. Apparently, they have lower maintenance requirements and look better. They also have oleo landing gear making for smoother landings.

2004-Nov-13, 12:26 PM
There are thousands of both operating in Brazil. I would pick Cessna (a dear friend of mine owns one), because of the high wings: more stable, and able to operate in harsh conditions (improvised runways of the hinterland).

2004-Nov-13, 03:48 PM
"...The Skyhawk's lower useful load is due to a number of standard aircraft improvements that help define it as the superior aircraft in its class. Standard improvements include:
fuel injection, removable all-metal segmented instrument panel, formed composite headliner, inertia-reel shoulder harnesses, tri-level ventilation, 26g seats with improved seat tracks and seat adjustment, dual engine driven vacuum pumps, an auxiliary electric fuel pump, electrical junction box, increased wing fuel-drain sumps (12 total), annunciator panel, diode glareshield lighting, cabin sound proofing, epoxy primered parts and thicker " acrylic tinted windows just to name a few..."
SKYHAWK 172R / WARRIOR III PA-28-161 COMPARISON (http://www.airplanenoise.com/articles/Skyhawk%20vs.Warrior.pdf)
Going shopping, Mr. G?

2004-Nov-13, 05:21 PM
:( But the Warrior III is so nice.

A Thousand Pardons
2004-Nov-13, 05:29 PM
what's this about spins prohibited? :)

2004-Nov-13, 05:39 PM
Actually, I think the carburettor, lack of autopilot and the manual flaps is the plus on the Warrior III since as a trainer, it's best to start with the most basic aircraft. I actually never got into electric flaps. I found the sense of lifting the flap lever gives me more of a feeling of the aircraft.

A Thousand Pardons
2004-Nov-13, 05:41 PM
the comparison says you're going to pay for that lack :)

but I suspect the pricing is out of date

2004-Nov-13, 05:43 PM
I think it's dodgy as well. My flying school stopped operating Skyhawks because they turned out to be too expensive to operate.

2004-Nov-13, 06:02 PM
That thing reads like it's been sponsored by Cessna's marketing department.

2004-Nov-13, 06:08 PM
And they fail to mention that the PA28 looks so much nicer. It's a much better aircraft to show off to people.

2004-Nov-13, 09:44 PM
Do you get the opportunity to try both?

2004-Nov-13, 10:21 PM
Try an aircraft with a plunger throttle? Are you crazy? I already tried it in the AA5. Isn't that enough?

2004-Nov-15, 09:29 AM
Well the Cessna 172 is not just probably the most popular civillian aircraft, there have been more produced than any other type. According to


there have been 42500 built, compared to 30000 PA-28s.

I've never flown in either, so I can't comment on what they are like.... However am I allowed to say "spamcan?" :D


2004-Nov-23, 12:54 PM
I'm now going to talk about the PA-28 vs the AA-5A (http://www.airliners.net/info/stats.main?id=235).

Both aircraft a quite similar overall but there are a few differences.

I think aesthetically, the PA-28 looks better but then that's a matter of opinion. The airframe on the AA-5A is very clean and smooth and makes it hard to check the screws and rivets during the A-check as well as making it harder to bleed off speed, although it does make it minutely more fuel efficient. The fuel cap on the PA-28 is a bit neater and easier to use. The fuel drains are awkward on the AA-5A. You need one of those strainers with the prong while a regular strainer will do for the PA-28. The engine cowling on the AA-5A is also tougher to use as well.

The PA-28 has a door which is easier to use, but the AA-5A has a canopy which allows access from both sides and can be opened in flight for a pleasant ventilation. The seats aren't as comfortable on the AA-5A. It's a bit like the Ford Fiesta whereas the PA-28 is like a Honda Civic. The passengers in the back seats can't plug in their mics either. The coaming is low though for better cockpit visibility.

Flight controls
The flight controls on the AA-5A are more powerful so they move through a smaller range which is pretty good. It makes it easier to do the corners of the box check on the ground without your kneeboard getting in the way. The trim is gorgeous on the AA-5A. It is so light and easy to move. The trim on the PA-28 requires more effort. The flaps controlled with a lever on the PA-28, which you might think is a bit annoying to reach for compared to the electric flap switch on the AA-5A, but in fact I prefer it. When adjusting the flap lever, it is very easy to know where you are at, while the flap switch on the AA-5A is continuous and you to count and look down at the indicator to verify that it is in the right position. That's really annoying.

Engine controls
The engine controls are plunger type on the AA-5A, which isn't as good as the quadrant type on the PA-28, but I have to say that I didn't dislike the plunger type as much as I thought I would. I still much prefer the quadrant though, even though the plunger isn't too bad. The fuel cock on the AA-5A is between the two front seats rather than by the leg of the pilot on the PA-28, which makes it easier to use.

Flight instruments
These are fairly standard on both aircraft except that the AA-5A that I flew had a turn indicator rather than a turn coordinator.

Engine instruments
On the PA-28, the engine instruments are right in front of you, which makes them easy to see while on the AA-5A, they are on the other side of the instrument panel so you have to look over to see them. There are also only a low voltage warning light and an untestable starter warning light on the AA-5A, while the PA-28 has the full set of starter, oil, LV and alternator lights and a pitot heat off light on the Warrior IIIs.

Ground handling
The PA-28 has nose wheel steering controlled by the rudder, which makes the aircraft very easy to steer on the ground. The AA-5A has a free castoring nose wheel and steering is only controlled by differential braking. There are two advantages to this though. First, the rudder is not connected to the nose wheel so it can be checked on the ground and second, the AA-5A has a much tighter turning circle because the nosewheel is freecastoring. It can be made to chase its own tail, which makes it very easy to park. However, it means that control during the takeoff run is purely by rudder and therefore the PA-28 offers better control. The parking brake is simpler to use on the PA-28.

The PA-28s have much better gear. The AA-5A I flew had a couple of those old tumbler type radios rather than the new digital radios on all the PA-28s I've flown (One PA-28 had that cool new combined COM/NAV/GPS box).

Overall, I prefer the PA-28, but I like an occassional flight in an AA-5.

2004-Nov-23, 02:39 PM
Spent time in all three (99% C-172, .9% PA28 .1% AA-5) and I had the most fun in the AA-5, The piper and Cessna handled the same, I ilke the downward vis and ease of fuel testing with the C-172. I like the ease of fuel quantity checking of the low wings though :).

If I were in a buying mood, AA-5.

2004-Nov-23, 03:41 PM
I think it is the open canopy that makes an AA-5 a must for a casual cross country in sunny weather.