Top 15 Single-Engine Aircrafts in Aviation History


Single-engine planes have long been used in the aviation industry. They offer pilots simplicity and cater to different needs and preferences, from training to high-performance aerobatic activities. Let’s explore 15 of these planes, most of which are still in use today.

Cessna 172 Skyhawk

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Introduced in 1956 and used chiefly for flight training, the Cessna 172 Skyhawk has become the most-produced aircraft in history. It is ideal for first-timers because of its outstanding flight characteristics, durable airframe, and reliable systems. Despite various improvements, including more powerful engines and advanced avionics, the Skyhawk maintains its core mission as a versatile aircraft.

Piper PA-28 Cherokee

The Piper PA-28 Cherokee series, first flown in 1960, is a family of two—or four-seat aircraft known for its easy handling. The low-wing configuration offers pilots better ground visibility during banking turns, and aviators prefer it for its sporty feel. Various other models of the PA-28, like the Warrior and Arrow, differ in engine size, cabin configuration, and flight performance.

Cirrus SR22

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This aircraft sets a new standard for modern single-engine aircraft with its composite construction and advanced avionics suite. Introduced in 2001, the Cirrus SR22 has a Cirrus Airframe Parachute System, which can bring the entire plane to the ground securely in an emergency. A fuel-injected engine powers it, and it features a luxurious cabin with state-of-the-art technology.

Diamond DA40

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The Diamond DA40 Star is a modern aircraft renowned for its fuel efficiency and distinctive T-tail and bubble canopy, which offer occupants 360-degree visibility. Launched in the 1990s, it is favored by flight schools due to its versatility and safety. Many models are equipped with Garmin G1000 avionics, offering an advanced cockpit environment that prepares students for a future in flying.

Beechcraft Bonanza

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Since its first flight in 1947, the Beechcraft Bonanza has remained an emblem of flying excellence. With an ongoing production run spanning over seven decades, the aircraft offers a combination of performance, reliability, and comfort that few single-engine aircraft can match. A strong engine, retractable landing gear, and spacious cabin cater to people looking for high-speed cruise capabilities and comfort.

Mooney M20

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Boasting a sleek design and unique speed, efficacy, and range combination, the Mooney M20 has captivated pilots since the 1950s. Its signature feature is its vertical stabilizer, retractable landing gear, and low-wing configuration, contributing to its aerodynamic efficiency. Mooney aircraft are exceptional due to their robust, all-metal construction and the responsiveness and precision of their flight controls.

Piper J-3 Cub

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The Piper J-3 Cub is an American classic that has defined the simplicity of flying. Easily recognizable by its yellow paint, fabric-covered frame, and high-wing design, the Cub possesses a minimalistic design that lacks basic avionics. Because of its slow flying speed, it is ideal for leisurely flights, primary flight training, and those learning the art of tailwheel aircraft operation.

Van’s Aircraft RV Series

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These series of aircraft are among the best kit planes in the world, offering builders the opportunity to build their preferred aircraft. Since the first RV model debuted in the early 1970s, the model now includes the two-seat RV-4 and the latest RV-14 subseries. Builders appreciate the RV’s simplified construction kits, which allow for customizing avionics, engines, and interiors.

Tecnam P2002 Sierra


The Tecnam P2002 Sierra is a modern two-seat aircraft that blends Italian design with practical flying needs. Its low-wing configurations and sleek aerodynamics provide excellent visibility and performance, making it suitable for training and personal use. Many users choose the Sierra due to its fuel efficiency, comfortable cockpit, and responsive handling. It also provides modern avionics, a reliable Rotax engine, and a retractable landing gear variant.

Robinson R22 Helicopter

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It is a two-seat, light, affordable, and reliable utility helicopter with simple designs. Despite its small size, the R22 possesses agility and performance, making it an effective tool for pilots needing to navigate tight spaces or perform low-altitude tasks. In addition, The helicopter’s low operating costs make it suitable for flight training, aerial photography, and agricultural work.

Super Decathlon

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Built by American Champion Aircraft, the Super Decathlon is a two-seat, high-performance aircraft tailored for aerobatic flight training and recreational flying. Its sturdy construction, powerful engine, tandem seating arrangement, and responsive controls allow for various aerobatic maneuvers like spins, loops, and rolls. Thanks to its efficient design and comfortable cockpit, the Super Decathlon excels as a cross-country touring aircraft.

Cessna 208 Caravan

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As a versatile turboprop aircraft, it is loved for its ruggedness. Initially designed for transport in remote environments, it has proven itself as a dependable workhorse in skydiving operations, cargo transportation, and commuter services. The Cessna 208 can accommodate up to 14 passengers or the equivalent, while its high-wing and proficient landing gear enables it to operate from short runways.

Pilatus PC-12

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Designed initially for executive transportation, the PC-12 has succeeded in commuter operations, air ambulance services, and government surveillance. Its spacious cabin can accommodate up to nine passengers when appropriately adjusted, while its Pratt & Whitney PT6 engine delivers impressive altitude and speed. The PC-12 also excels in accessing challenging airstrips due to its advanced avionics suite and short takeoff and landing capabilities.

Extra 300

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Manufactured by Extra Aircraft, the Extra 300 excels in competitive aerobatic flying. Due to its reinforced frame, lightweight construction, and powerful Lycoming engine, the aircraft can execute extreme maneuvers while withstanding high G-forces. Pilots appreciate its responsive controls, increased roll rate, and exceptional vertical performance, allowing them to push the boundaries of aerobatic flight in competitions and shows.

Cessna 182 Skylane

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Building upon the success of the Cessna 172, the 182 offers a larger cabin, more powerful engine options, and increased payload capacity. This four-seater aircraft is additionally suitable for cross-country travel, flight training, aerial photography, and other everyday operations. Skylane’s high-wing configuration provides excellent visibility and stability, while its advanced avionics ensure safety for pilots and passengers.

Written by Bruno P