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Four Affordable Small Planes for Beginner Pilots

Updated on February 3, 2015
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Pilots who have freshly obtained their license are, understandably, eager to get up in the air and fly their very own plane. However, many are taken aback due to the large sum of money that comes with investing into a plane of their own. Plainly said, planes are not cheap! And not only do you have the cost of the plane, but you have to fuel it, tow it, and store it. But, with proper research you can still be an avid pilot.

Before doing any research, you should settle on a reasonable budget for your means. This may include a discussion with your significant other or anyone else that will be impacted by this financial obligation. Once you have decided on a budget, you must evaluate what type of plane you are looking for and what features it should have. The following information will outline four basic and affordable planes that are some of the best for beginning pilots.

Aeronca Chief


The 11AC model of Aeronca is considered the slowest model with side-by-side seating but can reach 70 to 75 knot cruise speed. The wings and engine are interchangeable with the tandem Champ which is a little faster. The starting price for this aircraft is a reasonable $15,000.

The Ercoupe 415

This plane is great for beginners because of its many safety features and auto-style design. It was originally introduced in the late 1930s but became most desirable in the late 1940s and was designed by Fred Weick. Its main design purpose is for safety and is supposedly stall-proof. It also features an elevator limit of 13 degrees of pitch, twin rudders, automotive style control wheel, and single floor pedal for braking. Early Ercoupes are available for under $15,000 and are often able to climb at 400 to 500 fpm and have a cruise speed of 85-90 knots.

Piper Colt


Another plane that can be purchased around or a little above the $15,000 mark is the Piper Colt. This plane, though not very attractive, is very durable. This aircraft is comprised of two seats and 108hp. As mentioned before, it is not the most attractive plane due to its stubby design and has earned itself the nick names “Slow Pacer” and “Flying Milk Stool”, but it is a great beginner plane that will last you a good long time.

Luscombe 8E/F


This aircraft starts at a little higher price range, starting at about $17,250 for an 8E model with 85hp to $20,000 for an 8F with 90 hp. The post war model Luscombes are all metal airplanes with 90hp engines. These planes are very agile with light controls and could be used to do proper flown rolls and loops with ease. This may not be a skill that an early pilot possesses but this is a good plane to begin learning those skills with. The place is easy to move, even with a simple manual tow bar.

As with any big purchase, be sure to do thorough research to find the best product for the best price and make your purchase through a reputable source.

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