Being shown around light aircraft for the first time
can be a bit daunting. This section will help familiarise you with the
key elements in advance.
basic 'A class' certified trainer
The first figure below is a high-wing aircraft, a
Cessna 152. This is a very common and popular
trainer and has been around longer than most
student pilots. High wing aircraft give a
wonderful view of the ground. The downside is that
one needs a stepladder to fuel them and of course
the upper wing surface is hard to clean. In
addition, the wing height of many types is just
right to tear off your scalp unless you are
shorter than the average bear. Care must be taken
when turning in flight as the wing obscures your
vision in the direction you are turning.
Below is a Cessna 152 trainer. Just hover your
mouse over the grey dots to see explanations of the main components.
Low wing aircraft are easy to fuel, your
vision is not obscured when turning, but
they are harder to get into and your view of
the ground is obscured. If you fly a fabric
covered aircraft such as a Robin, there is
always the anxiety that a passenger, or
indeed yourself, will put a foot through the
wing! The underside of the wing and main
gear is a wet and unpleasant task to clean.
a Piper Archer - a popular 4 seat aircraft
with flying clubs This type is more
expensive to rent
microlight (3 axis)
Advanced microlights are virtually
indistinguishable from standard certified
two seat aircraft but these days often fly
better and look more modern in design.
The Spanish built Esqual
A more basic form of three axis aircraft is
represented by aircraft like the Thruster,
shown below. Of tubular aluminium frame
construction, it is covered with fabric
which is just laced on.
Just hover your mouse over the grey dots to
see explanations of the main components.
The flexwing, weightshift or 'trike' is
operated in a different fashion. The fabric
covered wing is hinged at the top of the
pylon. The pilot controls the aircraft by
holding the 'A frame' and moving the wing in
relationship to the fuselage. The controls
are actually reversed compared to three axis
Most trikes have a nacelle in which you sit.
This has been presented as a cutaway for the
sake of clarity. Just mouse over the grey
spots to find the names of all the parts
choice is yours. A good idea is to decide
what you intend to do (your mission) once
you have your pilot license. If you intend
to continue in training and fly airliners,
you wish to fly at night or in cloud or
carry more than one passenger, then you must
begin with an 'A' class certified aircraft
like the Cessna described above.
Microlights cannot fly in cloud or at night,
are weight restricted and and have a
maximum of two places. Aircraft like the
Thruster and weightshift types are also
quite slow. Every class of aircraft has its
attractions and drawbacks.