Ever since the Wright Brothers made the first successful human-crewed flight, planes have evolved to serve more specific purposes. They come in different shapes and sizes depending on their primary objective. Small planes are gaining popularity as more people show interest in aviation matters.
There are different types of small aircraft, which are designed and built for various purposes. Some require tougher licenses to operate while others can only be operated for light recreational purposes. Let’s delve into the different types of small planes and unravel the various aircraft available.
1. Ultralight Planes
These are light aircraft with a single seat and one engine. The operator of the craft is exposed to the elements as there is no protective chassis. The plane can hold up to five gallons of fuel. Weighing 255 pounds, it is among the lightest in the industry. They are mainly used for recreational purposes and for sporting events. They are used in areas isolated from busy airspaces.
Training to fly these types of small planes helps one understand the various safety precautions needed to operate the aircraft safely. Formal certification is, however, not required to operate these ultralight aircraft.
2. Light Sport Planes
These aircraft offer some of the most exciting trips ever. They are mainly designed for sporting purposes. Pilots use these aircraft to showcase their skills in the art of flying by performing incredible stunts. The planes are lightweight and have powerful engines that make it easy to perform complicated maneuvers, which are impossible to hack with other aircraft types.
Although they are predominantly used for air sports, they can as well be used for other purposes. Light sport planes are beautiful. You can customize the paintwork to your preference. These types of small planes are ideal for pilots who love the thrill that comes with flying since they are some of the most exciting aircraft to fly.
3. Single-engine Planes
These planes come in many shapes and forms. They were very popular during the world wars, perhaps because they are easy to maintain and are more economical than multi-engine planes. The engine is mounted at the nose of the aircraft.
It is also the most purchased type of aircraft in the world. They are best suited for non-professional pilots as they are not as demanding as their multi-engine counterparts. However, one would need a private pilot’s certificate to operate them. Different planes are built for specific reasons. Their seating capacity ranges from 2 to 6 people per aircraft.
4. Multi-engine Planes
Multi-engine aircraft are powerful enough to push the plane to great lengths and heights. The powerful engines allow the aircraft to attain higher flying speeds and also carry heavy loads that single-engine aircraft cannot handle. They are more complex to operate and require one to get a multi-engine certificate to fly them.
If one engine fails, the others act as a backup to keep the plane steady and safe before it gets to a landing strip. Multi-engine aircraft come in various designs. Some are designed as small luxury jets and are very beautiful to behold.
These types of small planes are quite different from the others. They do not have wheels. Instead, they have floats that help them land on water bodies. They do not need a runway to take off or land. Any water body large enough for them is all they need to land or take off. They are strong and beautiful pieces of engineering that are a marvel to behold.
Since they take off and land on water, they are designed differently from other planes. There are concerns in some quarters that these planes are not as safe to fly as the conventional types. However, these concerns have never been proven and should be taken with a pinch of salt.
These are similar to floatplanes, with one main difference: amphibians, as the name suggests, run on water and land. This is made possible by the provision of retractable wheels that help the aircraft run on land. They, therefore, do not need a body of water to take off or land.
Gliders are small planes used to fly high altitudes and cover long distances. They have different flying mechanisms compared to those of a conventional aircraft. They are supported by the reaction of the air against the surfaces they lift from. To take off and lift the plane off the ground, you need to set off at high speed, which enables the aircraft to fly higher and further than other small aircraft. Gliders can free-fly without using their engine since they are light and can glide along effortlessly.
Aircraft have revolutionized the world. Not too long ago, a few hours journey would take a couple of months by ship or road. However, with advances in technology, the sky has literally become the limit as more powerful planes continue to roll off production lines.