What Are The Different Types of Light Aircraft (for General Aviation)?

In a nutshell, a general aviation aircraft is anything that is not used by the military or commercial airlines.  There are several Types of Light Aircraft.

You may not be aware of it, but the US has a large community of general aviation enthusiasts, with more than 500,000 out of 600,000 American pilots flying this type of aircraft, according to a recent report by the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA).


Most common types of general aviation aircraft

Whether you’re a seasoned pilot or an aviation enthusiast, knowing the most common types of general aviation could make you appreciate this amazing piece of a flying machine even more.


Single-piston taildraggers

Also known as the conventional landing gear or tailwheel-type landing gear aircraft, it has two main wheels in front and a small wheel or “‘skid”‘ to support the tail at the back. With its tricycle landing gear arrangement, the position of each part makes the aircraft lighter than a nose wheel aircraft.

Arguably, single-piston taildraggers are the most popular general aviation aircraft because they are often used in movies as props and transport services.

Taildragger aircraft is commonly used in ski operations and is noted for its maneuverability, especially inside a hangar.

However, one notable disadvantage of this aircraft is that its forward visibility is not as good as those nose-wheel aircraft. Additionally, it’s more prone to “nose-over” accidents, which happen when a pilot uses the brake incorrectly.

Some common types of single-piston taildragger aircraft are the American Champion Citabria, American Champion Scout, American Champion Decathlon, Aviat Husky, CubCrafters Top Cub, and Seabird Seeker.


Single piston tricycle landing gear

Compared to most light aircraft used in general aviation, the single-piston taildraggers are easier to maneuver during takeoff, landing, and taxing, thanks to their increased visibility. By contrast, aircraft with a “high nose” typically suffer from reduced pilot’s visibility.

Meanwhile, Some of the most common types of tricycle landing gear include the Mooney M20, Beechcraft Bonanza, Cessna 206 Stationair, and Cirrus SR22.


Piston twin

The piston twin is a multi-engine light aircraft that was very popular in the 70s and 80s. But with the introduction of more energy-efficient and low maintenance light aircraft on the market, the piston twin’s popularity began to decline.

Beech Baron, Piper Seminole, Piper Seneca, and Tecnam P2006T are the most common piston twin models.

Single Turboprop

If you’re looking for a fast, fuel-efficient, and extremely reliable light aircraft, a single turboprop is an excellent option, thanks to its lighter framework (compared to jets) and engine that consumes less fuel.

Cessna 208 (Grand), Pilatus PC-12, Piper PA-46 M500/M600, and Quest Kodiak are some of the most common single turboprop aircraft.

Twin Turboprop

Considered one of the most popular, fastest, and most sleek-looking aircraft in general aviation, the twin turboprop aircraft is easy to spot with its two propellers flanking the fuselage.

Some common twin turboprop aircraft models include the Beech Super King Air, Beech King Air, Britten-Norman Islander, and Piaggio P.180 Avanti Evo.

A Final Word About the Most Common Types of Light Aircraft
Nowadays, these aircraft models are not only used to transport people and goods. Thanks to better design and increased visibility and maneuverability, they are now used in many things, including aerial firefighting, agricultural aviation, medical transport, overnight delivery, search and rescue, law enforcement, sightseeing, traffic reporting, and surveying and mapping.

Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any more doubts or questions!