Best trainer craft?

my cfi said the c172 (S or N) is the best trainer, which I’ve flown once, and really liked, but he also encourages people to try out the piper warrior II (and archer) then stick with the c172 or piper through training.

I have heard better things about high wing planes for students, but know some people really favor the low wing crafts.

About picking a plane to get your rating on- how do you do it? Is it the quality of the aircraft? Personal preference? Your own flying style? Or a mix of all of them? Is it better to pick through system operations knowledge, or experience?


This has been debated for decades. Both Cessna and Piper make fantastic training aircraft. The reality is most people preference the plane they flew first and it’s simply that.

For me I’d be more concerned with the age, equipment and performance of the specific trainer your flight school has vs who the manufacturer is. For example I don’t care which you think is better, I’d take a 180hp Cherokee made in 2000 with GPS than 145hp Skyhawk made in 1960 that isn’t instrument capable.


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that absolutely makes sense! thanks for giving your thoughts. my flight school has upgraded the instruments on their fleet, so the c172 (S/N) and even the 152 is both IFR capable. however, I favor the 172 due to the fact is has radar with other traffic displayed, and also another detailed navigation aid with weather and all waypoints/fixes/vor stations
the piper and cessna 172 have the same HP for the engine, but the piper is only VFR capable, and has an ADS-B transponder with a new interior (which i dont care about at all)

I agree, it tends to be what you fly first and know better that you prefer. As you’re learning the basic fundamentals from now until solo, I would seek consistency. If you can, pick one aircraft and stick to it. Later on in your training, it wouldn’t hurt to mix it up and fly as many different kinds of airplanes as you can, just not the focus when you’re first starting out. Typically you’ll notice high wings are lighter and generate more lift at the same airspeed, so the 172 Vspeeds tend to be a bit slower than say an archer. You’ll also feel it during landing, the 172 will want to float much more than an archer will once in ground effect.



I definitely could feel the ground effects when we were landing in the 172! I have heard it is much different for a low wing, but would like to try it myself eventually. my CFI said something similar- pick a plane before your first lesson and stick with it until you reach a certain point in your training. Thanks for always giving thoughtful answers :slight_smile:


this is an age old debate and one that you will never find consensus on. Both Piper and Cessna make great training aircraft, as do other manufacturers. As you are training at a local school and are working on your private, I would pick whatever airplanes has the lowest hourly rate and not give it much thought beyond that. I would look for one that was not ancient though and make sure that the airplane looks safe. Whatever you do, be consistent and stick with one airplane.


My flight school has mostly Diamonds but also has 2 Warriors, and it seems most of the instructors prefer the Warrior to the somewhat equivalent DA-20, which seems like an increasingly more popular aircraft. Similar hourly rates, and similar avionics. Warrior is easier to land but harder to maneuver, from what I understand. Some Da-20s literally have no seats, however, and doing a long solo XC in the one without seat cushions was the worst experience I ever had in my flight training.