All Aviation Articles By Nicole Lund

The Top 5 Training Aircraft

Many student pilots know very little about airplanes when they begin their training. My flight school offered an array of aircraft to rent. I took my instructor's advice on which aircraft to fly for my private pilot license. Throughout my training, I have compiled a list of the best aircraft to use during primary training. Whether you are in the market to buy an aircraft or need more insight on which airplane to rent, this list will help with your decision.
Pictured above is a Cessna 172. Photo courtesy of
1. Cessna 172
The Cessna 172 Skyhawk tops the charts as the best training aircraft. This high-wing aircraft was first manufactured in 1956 and remains in production today. To date, Cessna has produced over 43,000 Skyhawks. Maintenance expenses are relatively cheap because parts and qualified A&P mechanics are widely available. The 172 flies smoothly and is easy to learn in. 
Pictured above is a photo of a PA-28. Photo courtesy of
2. Piper PA-28
Over the years, Piper has manufactured 26 variants of the PA-28 Cherokee. The variant that comes out on top is the Archer. When compared to other Piper training aircraft, the Archer has a higher useful load and cruising speed. The fixed pitch propeller and landing gear makes the Archer a perfect option for a new student. The Archer is a stable aircraft and has proven its reliability time and time again.
 I am pictured above after passing my private pilot checkride in a Cessna 150.
3. Cessna 150/152
The Cessna 152 is a 110 horsepower aircraft that succeeded the 150. When compared to the Cessna 172, the 150/152 has a slower cruising speed, shorter range, but is more fuel efficient. This aircraft is a great option for pilots on a budget. Since the aircraft only seats two, the airplane is lighter than most training aircraft which allows the 150/152 to consume less fuel. The instrument panel on the 150/152 is smaller than other trainers which makes it easier for the pilot to monitor the instruments. 
Pictured above is a DA-40. Photo courtesy of
4. Diamond DA-40
In recent years, the Diamond DA-40 has grown in popularity. The DA-40 is a low-wing aircraft that seats four. The composite airframe makes the DA-40 lightweight, great at gliding, and fuel efficient. There are several aircraft variants. The DA-40-F is ideal for primary flight training. This model has a fixed-pitch propeller which is easier to train on for low-time pilots. Diamond also produces a constant-speed propeller and a diesel/jet fuel variant. Most DA-40s come equipped with a G1000 glass cockpit, although the classic six pack is an option.
Pictured above is a Citabria. Photo courtesy of Armchair Flying.
5. American Champion Citabria
The Citabria is the only tailwheel aircraft included in this list. The vast majority of pilots receive their licenses in tricycle gear airplanes. The reasoning for this is because tricycle gears are easier to taxi, takeoff, and land. This contributes to their wide abundance. However, training in a tailwheel aircraft can create a more skilled and well-rounded pilot. Those who train in a Citabria are much more proficient with crosswind takeoffs and landings. This is due to the critical nature of proper crosswind technique to avoid ground loops. In addition, the Citabria opens the door to aerobatic flight which also improves piloting skill. I would highly recommend training in a tailwheel aircraft. The skill gained from learning to fly a tailwheel is unmatched.

6 Ways the Garmin Autoland Determines the Most Suitable Airport

Photo courtesy of Elliot Jets

The Garmin G3000 Autoland System (HomeSafe) is the first of its kind to receive certification from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). HomeSafe selects an airport to autonomously land at in an emergency. The system ensures stable flight while navigating, descending, and landing at the most suitable airport. At a starting price of $85,000 USD, this system can be installed in the 2020 Daher TBM 940, Piper M600 MLS, and Cirrus Vision Jet.  Several 2019 models can be retrofitted with the system. Garmin's intentions are to expand the autoland system into other airplanes that have a G3000, such as the Honda HA-420, Embraer Phenom 100 and 300, Curtis Vision SF50, and the Cessna Citation CJ3+. The autoland system is only certified in the G3000. However, Garmin's goal is to expand autonomous flight into more modes of aviation, according to Garmin's Executive Vice President, Phil Straub. 


The autoland system is activated through a button in the cockpit. The system can automatically activate if it renders the pilot unable to fly. HomeSafe is designed to only be activated in an emergency, such as an incapacitated pilot. The system will then pick the most suitable airport to autonomously land at. The factors that determine which airport the airplane selects are listed below.


1. Airport is Within 200 NM

HomeSafe system will pick an airport in a 200 NM radius from where the the autoland system was enabled.


2. Fuel Reserves

HomeSafe will determine if the airplane has the range to reach a specific airport. A plane may not have the fuel reserve to reach an airport that is within the 200 NM radius, thus fuel range is used to consider a closer airport.


3. GPS Approach

Contrary to CAT III ILS approaches, HomeSafe is the first certified system that can autoland on a GPS approach. The airport chosen by the system must be equipped with a suitable GPS approach.


4. Weather

The G3000 will select an airport based on the weather and winds. The GPS will avoid adverse weather once the emergency autloand system is enacted.


5. Runway Length

The runway used for the approach must be at least 4,500 feet long for most airplanes. However, the exact runway length is dependent upon the aircraft being used. For example, the Cirrus VisionJet requires a runway of 5,836 feet or loner.


6. Terrain Considerations

When choosing an airport to land at, the GPS will consider the terrain of a given airport and its surrounding area.


There are approximately 9,000 airports where HomeSafe can land autonomously at. In an emergency, the system picks the most suitable airport based on distance, fuel range, instrument approaches, weather, runway length, and terrain. Only time will tell if more airplanes will be equipped with this technology and if more airports will accommodate to the requirements needed for HomeSafe landings.

5 Ways to Improve Your Scholarship Application

Whether you're pursuing a college degree, flight training, or both, your wallet will surely feel the financial burden. Scholarships are a great option for students to alleviate the cost of schooling. Although pilot hiring in the aviation industry has slowed due to COVID-19, it won't be long until the pilot shortage surfaces once again. The pilot shortage prior to the pandemic had several casual factors. One of the prominent factors was the expense of initial flight training. The aviation industry has many generous donors who provide funding for struggling students through scholarships. Here are five ways to make your scholarship essay stand out.


1. Did you follow the directions?

Many applicants can disqualify themselves for not thoroughly following the directions. This can be as simple as not submitting an official transcript, an essay that doesn't meet the length requirement, or the omission of other requirements.


2. Do you qualify for the scholarship?

This goes hand-in-hand with not following the directions. Some scholarships are directed towards applicants with certain characteristics. These characteristics could be a certain grade point average, area of study, grade in school, gender, and other demographics. 


3. Tell the scholarship community how YOU are different from other applicants.

The best place in the application to do this is in the essay. The essay is the place to make the scholarship committee remember you. This is the ultimate goal of the application. Many applicants have a similar essay on how they work several jobs and can't afford their flight training/schooling. Instead, focus on writing an essay that explains how you are different from everyone else. Explain what you are doing to better someone else, describe your volunteer experience, express your hobbies, etc. 


4. Double and even triple check for grammar and spelling errors.

A good place to be remembered (for the wrong reason) is in an essay with grammatical mistakes. Find a friend or family member to read through your essay after you triple checked it for flaws.


5. Do your research on the organization/individual offering the scholarship.

Explain in your application why you are honored to receive their scholarship. Include their mission and goals in your explanation. Show the scholarship committee that you have done your research. 


Filling out scholarship applications can be timely, however, it will always be worth your while. You will get better at applying for scholarships with trial and error. A great scholarship opportunity for anyone interested in aviation is the annual Scholarship. The application window is open until August 15th, 2020. Follow the tips above and make sure to get your application in!

End of content

No more pages to load