Top 15 articles of all time at Air Facts

New to Air Facts? This list of popular articles is a great place to get started. Enjoy!

15. The Skycatcher’s death proves the LSA rule was a failure. The Light Sport Aircraft rule was introduced with much fanfare, but over a decade later these airplanes haven’t exactly boomed. Was Cessna’s withdrawal from the market further evidence of the idea’s failure, or just a bump in the road? Read more

14. What’s wrong with Cirrus pilots? The Cirrus SR20 and SR22 were designed to be the safest airplanes in the sky, but early on they were far from it. In this important analysis, Richard Collins explores why, and settles on the person in the left seat more than the airplane. Read his thoughts, then the postscript four years later. Read more

13. How hard is it to fly an airplane? Simple. To a non-pilot, the act of piloting an airplane seems impossibly complicated. But pilots know better. It’s really pretty darn easy… well, mostly. Mark Fay explains in this thoughtful (and funny) article. Read more

12. Crash history: Cessna 182 and Bonanza 36. Compared to the Cirrus, the Bonanza and Cessna 182 have good reputations for safety and reliability. But is that fact or marketing spin? Richard Collins, as always, dives into the numbers. Read more

11. General aviation trends in 12 charts. General aviation has changed dramatically from the glory days of the 1970s, and even from the early 2000s. Sometimes a picture tells the story better than words, and in this article, John Zimmerman shares 12 charts that show the state of the industry. Read more

10. What’s wrong with single engine turboprop pilots? Continuing his popular series on the safety record of airplane types, Richard Collins explores the accident record for TBMs and Meridians. Yes, they are safer, but is it the airplane or the pilot? Read more

9. Why the Starship was such a disaster. The Beech Starship was supposed to be a revolutionary aircraft, leapfrogging the boring King Air to introduce a new kind of turbine airplane. But then things went terribly wrong, and the Starship became a synonym for overambitious airplane development programs. Mac McClellan, who lived through the saga, explains why it failed. Read more

8. Retractable singles: the good, the fad and the ugly. Some of the most iconic general aviation airplanes were single engine retractables, and Richard Collins explores the rich history in this fascinating article. From successes (Bonanza) to failures (Beech Sierra), hear his first hand opinion of some famous designs. Read more

7. You did everything right, and you could have been absolutely dead. In this moving story, Drew Kemp recreates the 1999 flight that ended in a serious accident. What went wrong? What could he have done to prevent it? The answers are not as simple as you might think. Read more

6. Why you must fly a taildragger. 50+ years after the tricycle gear airplane was invented, why do tailwheel models still exist. In this detailed article, active flight instructor Anandeep Pannu explains the frustrations and the rewards of flying an airplane with the third wheel on “the wrong end.” Read more

5. Sully and the impossible turn. Clint Eastwood’s movie Sully was a commercial and critical success, but we asked an experienced New York airline captain for his perspective on the movie and the Miracle on the Hudson itself. Tony Vallillo’s combination movie review and accident analysis is a must-read. Read more

4. Seven instrument approaches you have to see to believe. Ever flown an instrument approach and said, “that was crazy!?” These seven approach plates show just how odd an instrument procedure can get, from Aspen to Alaska. Read more

3. Accident report roundup: three Cirrus stall scenarios offer important lessons. Stalls still cause a surprisingly large number of accidents, but typical training scenarios may not prepare pilots properly for what really happens. By analyzing three Cirrus stall accidents that occurred within 6 months, John Zimmerman explains what to watch for and how to avoid a similar fate. Read more

2. What was wrong with V-tail Bonanza pilots? Much like the Cirrus, the V-tail Bonanza was a trend-setting airplane with a poor safety record. Once again, the debate came down to airplane vs. pilot. Richard Collins logged plenty of hours in V-tail Bonanzas, and shares his perspective. Read more

1. What’s wrong with Cessna 172 pilots? The Cessna 172 is the most popular general aviation aircraft ever made, so it’s not surprising that this article is the most popular one on Air Facts. Richard Collins shows that, while the trusty 172 is a remarkably safe airplane, pilots still need to treat it with respect. Read more