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Nurse2Pilot
26th Sep 2018, 23:35
** I posted this over in the Professional Pilot Training section as well but thought I'd post here too to get the thoughts of instructors and examiners! Apologies in advance if double-posting is against the rules. **

I wonder what the impact is of the aircraft used in training, if any? Would a pilot flying a PA-28 be any better than a pilot flying a C152? Is a Tecnam P2002JF a better training aircraft than the usual PA-28/C152/C172? Are glass cockpits better than gauges?

One reason I ask is because the schools I'm considering all use different aircraft. My local schools use PA-38s and PA-28s while another school I'm considering, Bartolini, uses P2002JFs. When talking to one of the local instructors, he mentioned he preferred training students in the PA-38 because not only is it cheaper to fly from the point of view of the student, he also said it is light and gets thrown around more and therefore requires more from the student pilot resulting in a better pilot after training. The PA-28, being heavier, is more stable so the student doesn't work as much and I assume that means his skills aren't as sharp. Any truth in this?

I also remember one of the points raised by the various other flight schools - they would always mention their "modern" fleet of aircraft, usually Tecnams, which felt like they were hinting that these new training aircraft were better than the usual PA-28/C152/C172 that seem to be the staple of other flight schools. So with all things being equal (instructor, student, weather, maintenance, etc.), does the aircraft have a significant impact on the learning and skill development of a student pilot?

Whopity
27th Sep 2018, 07:12
Of the aircraft you mention, the PA-38 is the only one designed as a trainer. Unfortunately, trainers tend to be 2 seaters so they are not good income earners for a school when it comes to renting aircraft so schools tend to opt for the PA28 as a general purpose aircraft. The PA28-140 is a better trainer than the PA28-161 for the very reason you state. They also need to consider how tough an aircraft is, the C152 and PA28 have survived the course of time wheras many of the more modern and plastic aeroplanes need very careful use and will not survive years of training.
Are glass cockpits better than gauges? Glass cockpits are guages, but there are invariably too many for training, diverting the student from what they should be doing, looking out of the window, and can all fail together unlike conventional instruments.
You would probably find the best trainer is an old fashioned tail dragger with just the basic instruments, you would be a more skilled pilot than someone who has learned in a Technam.

Genghis the Engineer
27th Sep 2018, 10:01
he preferred training students in the PA-38 because not only is it cheaper to fly from the point of view of the student, he also said it is light and gets thrown around more and therefore requires more from the student pilot resulting in a better pilot after training. The PA-28, being heavier, is more stable so the student doesn't work as much and I assume that means his skills aren't as sharp. Any truth in this?

I follow Piper aircraft on Twitter. A couple of times they've posted "what's your favourite Piper training aircraft" - presumably hoping for a ringing endorsment of the still-in-production PA28.

What they usually get is a string of "The Tomahawk" from random flying instructors from all over the world.


In my opinion a good training aeroplane wants to be...

- Cheap to run, robust and reliable.
- Have no more instruments and controls than are really necessary for the training task.
- Have an excellent view out
- Have handling that makes it difficult to completely f*** things up, but at the same time requires good attention and flying ability to fly well and accurately.

The PA28 and C172, much loved of flying schools tick the first box. The PA38 and C152 come rather closer to ticking the other three as well.

Glass versus dials, as Whopity says, is a bit of a moot point. They both present similar information in a similar layout but glass can arguably present a lot more information and not particularly help a student learning their way into this new and alien environment.

The best training aeroplanes currently in production, for ticking all of the above, are probably microlights like the C42 and EV97 Eurostar. I do agree with Whopity about taildraggers - but there just isn't an in production taildragger that is reasonably affordable as a trainer at the moment.

G

Nurse2Pilot
27th Sep 2018, 21:25
Thanks for the replies guys! I take this as a ringing endorsement for the PA-38? The instructor wasn't pulling my leg when he said the PA-38 is better for training?

@Genghis - isn't the view out of a C152 similar to the view out of a C172? The designs are so close. I can see how the PA-38 has better visibility for the pilot compared to a PA-28.

I've read about taildraggers a few times, why is it better? I take it taxiing a taildragger is better and landing is different (??) compared to a tricycle-gear aircraft, but what does that have to do with flying?

Whopity
27th Sep 2018, 22:27
I've read about taildraggers a few times, why is it better? It is not neessarily better, but because the centre of gravity is behind the pilot, additional skill is required on the ground to maintain directional control. Put simply, you learn to use the rudder.

Nurse2Pilot
27th Sep 2018, 23:45
So it's just different on the ground when taxiing? I suspect they're the same once in the air?

jonkster
28th Sep 2018, 01:08
My 2c

For all I am going to say below - I actually wouldn't worry that much about aircraft type - look more at the quality of the instructors and school. That is more important than the equipment used.

That said, if you get the opportunity I would say it is worth doing your initial training on a TW, generally, TW aircraft are more fun to fly and should teach you good stick and rudder skills right from the start.

Finding somewhere to do that might be hard though.

Typically taildraggers have a more effective rudder (to assist in control when taxiing, taking-off and landing) and often they do not have all the adverse yaw engineered out of them, so in flight you are provided with more opportunities to build skill in detecting (and correcting for being out of balance) in a tailwheel aircraft. It helps build good skill and precision in ab-initio training right from the get go.

Tailwheels also require more precision in judging attitude in landing and more feel and assertiveness when controlling the aircraft through takeoff and landing because they are directionally unstable and require the pilot to be able to maintain directional control. Most (not all) TW trained pilots tend to be precise and accurate in landing simply because you can't get away with being sloppy. That said - good instruction on a nosewheel will make up for that but it is easier to get away with sloppy landing technique in a nose wheel.

It encourages good feel and precision and so is a great environment to learn (and teach) in.

I don't know about the UK but there are places in Australia that will train ab-initio pilots on tailwheel aircraft (in fact will encourage you to do so). The average number of hours to get to solo standard is a few hours longer but by the time the pilot is ready for qualification, they will have the same number and mix of hours in their log books as students who learn on nose wheel aircraft.

Genghis the Engineer
28th Sep 2018, 14:20
Thanks for the replies guys! I take this as a ringing endorsement for the PA-38? The instructor wasn't pulling my leg when he said the PA-38 is better for training?

@Genghis - isn't the view out of a C152 similar to the view out of a C172? The designs are so close. I can see how the PA-38 has better visibility for the pilot compared to a PA-28.

I've read about taildraggers a few times, why is it better? I take it taxiing a taildragger is better and landing is different (??) compared to a tricycle-gear aircraft, but what does that have to do with flying?

I agree with jonkster's comments about taildraggers. There are a few UK schools who will do ab-initio on a tailwheel aeroplane - White Waltham in a Super Cub, just to name one I know. You might be better buying a share in a tailwheel syndicate with a tame instructor / friendly school who'll instruct on it?

Regarding the 152 .v. 172; both are "okay" insofar as they have a window in the back (sadly missing in PA28s for example) that is a very good feature, but particularly if you're a shorta**e like me, the instrument panel is so high the view forwards is lousy - and being a slightly bigger cabin - being a little further from the windows also reduces the view a bit.

G

Whopity
28th Sep 2018, 15:42
The Cambridge Flying Group still offer ab-initio PPL on the Tiger Moth.
The C152 is cheap and cheerful, its a tight fit across the cockpit and the view out is terrible even if you are tall.
The C172 is a nice aircraft for cruising and instrument flying, but is not the best ab-initio trainer as its so stable, OK for larger students and has a better view than the C152.
Of the PA28 series the older ones make the better trainers and is probably the most prolific training aircraft.
The Technam is no good if you are tall, is very light, but has a good view
The PA38 is designed to do the job but is not the nicest of aeroplanes to look at or sit in.

tescoapp
28th Sep 2018, 16:58
I am another ex instructor that loved teaching in a Tomahawk. Taught in the rest as well

It won't be noticeable to a student any taxing differences.

They are not the same in the air by a long shot. The Tommy does what the books say. The others have all the nastiness designed out of them.

The T tail as the book says is out the prop wash so its not as effected by power changes as the others.

Loads of room in the front so neither person is encroaching on the other person even if they are 6ft plus rugby players heads won't be banging off the ceiling.

And very good all round view.

Banana Joe
29th Sep 2018, 10:21
I flew my first hours on a C152 which was a delight to fly, stable and very easy to trim, on calm days it was like flying on A/P. I then did the rest of my training on Tecnam airplanes and they did the job as promised. The P2002 gets tossed by the wind and thermals easily, and the stabilator made me appreciate the need for trimming even more.

I did my training on glass cockpit, but the instructors would pull the GDU breaker out and have me fly by only looking outside and on the SBY altimeter and turn coordinator.

By the way, Bartolini Air is transitioning to the P2008.
​​​

Genghis the Engineer
29th Sep 2018, 12:16
the instructors would pull the GDU breaker out and have me fly by only looking outside and on the SBY altimeter and turn coordinator.

​​​

Okay, I just changed my mind. As an instructor I would now prefer to be teaching on glass cockpit aeroplanes :)

G

Meester proach
29th Sep 2018, 17:36
I learnt on the Pa38,
then instructed on AA5, C152/172, Pa28

152 was cheap and cheerful and quite sprightly, pa28 felt more solid but wasteful for training.

never warmed to C172, pain in the arse in thermals to get on the deck, especially flapless....

AA5 had the best handling of the bunch but you don’t see them these days

Genghis the Engineer
29th Sep 2018, 17:42
As it happens I do most of my instructing on an AA5 at present - and agree, of that bunch, definitely the best training aeroplane. I'd still put the PA38 slightly ahead as a trainer - but as an aeroplane to own (which I partially do) the AA5 wins hands-down.

Not convinced I agree about difficulty getting a C172 on the deck, unless adding an unnecessary margin to approach speed, which a lot of American schools in particular seem to do.

G

foxmoth
29th Sep 2018, 20:37
Personally I think there are a lot better training aircraft than any of the Cessna/Piper aircraft, not flown the Tecnam so I cannot comment there but the Pa28 and Cessnas are designed to be "driven" from A to B with minimum interference from the "pilot", get something like a Tiger Moth, Chippie or, if you want to go nosewheel a Beagle Pup or Robin and you will get an aircraft that needx a bit more flying but is actually more fun, unfortunately any of these aircraft will cost a bit more to run which is why the Pipers and Cessnas win out!

Nurse2Pilot
30th Sep 2018, 12:19
For all I am going to say below - I actually wouldn't worry that much about aircraft type - look more at the quality of the instructors and school. That is more important than the equipment used.
Thanks for your input and I do agree that quality of instruction is more important, but that's why I said with all things being equal.... unforutnately, it's quite difficult to gauge instructor or school quality until a good number of hours and money has been invested whereas it's clearly easier to get feedback on type of aircraft used.

I was initially hoping to go to a more established school with a good track record of quality instructors but it looks more like I'll have to take PPL from a local school with a not-so-established record.

Thanks for the explanation regarding taildraggers! Looks like it'll be fun to fly one and can now understand the benefits of flying one but I don't think there is one local to me. I know of a gliding club that uses a taildragger for towing gliders and there was at least one taildragger for sale, maybe there might be one on syndicate, but all of this will happen post-PPL.


@Genghis - thanks for that explanation!


The PA38 is designed to do the job but is not the nicest of aeroplanes to look at or sit in.
Hahaha!! This worried me too at first but I guess in the end it's the quality of skills I acquire from flying it that matters. I'll leave the looking cool part for later. It simply won't do to fly a cool aircraft and then display crappy flying skills.


The others have all the nastiness designed out of them.
You're saying that and I'm getting the feeling that getting the nastiness designed out of the aircraft is a bad thing? I guess it is for training? But not for actual flying when one already holds a PPL?

For reference, I'm 5'10" and about 95-100kg so a bit on the heavy side and I did find fitting into a C152 to be very cramped. If the instructor was as big as me, I think we'd definitely be rubbing shoulders.


Personally I think there are a lot better training aircraft than any of the Cessna/Piper aircraft, not flown the Tecnam so I cannot comment there but the Pa28 and Cessnas are designed to be "driven" from A to B with minimum interference from the "pilot", get something like a Tiger Moth, Chippie or, if you want to go nosewheel a Beagle Pup or Robin and you will get an aircraft that needx a bit more flying but is actually more fun, unfortunately any of these aircraft will cost a bit more to run which is why the Pipers and Cessnas win out!
Hey foxmoth! Where are you "oop north"? I think I've seen a Beagle Pup a few years ago but would love to fly a Super Cub sometime, but again, that'll probably be after PPL so.....


Anyway, nice to see that I was very wrong about my initial assessment of the Tomahawk. Makes me look forward to flying in it now.

Shaft109
30th Sep 2018, 20:25
As my handle implies I did my ab initio training on the Grob G109b Vigilant with the VGS.
I know some people think it was the wrong aircraft for the job but I am confident when I say learning in a taildragger with a 57 wingspan and no glass cockpit meant it was easy to fly but hard to master.
Adverse yaw meant you needed plenty of rudder co ordination, good lookout was drilled in naturally and it had real but safe stall characteristics such as clean breakaway and wing drop.

i found any other type easy afterwards and agree a trainer should be just that with enough bite to keep you on your toes.

Genghis the Engineer
1st Oct 2018, 07:49
As my handle implies I did my ab initio training on the Grob G109b Vigilant with the VGS.
I know some people think it was the wrong aircraft for the job but I am confident when I say learning in a taildragger with a 57 wingspan and no glass cockpit meant it was easy to fly but hard to master.
Adverse yaw meant you needed plenty of rudder co ordination, good lookout was drilled in naturally and it had real but safe stall characteristics such as clean breakaway and wing drop.

i found any other type easy afterwards and agree a trainer should be just that with enough bite to keep you on your toes.
I was on the team that certified the Vigiliant T1 for the Air Cadets - at the end in the leading technical role. None of us thought it was the right aeroplane for the job at the time - but some Air Officer had decided to order the fleet, *then* it got handed over to Boscombe Down to assess.

The main deficiencies were in turnaround times (due to the heating/cooling characteristics of the engine), ground handling (the sheer wingspan), control forces for the prop pitch, and the reliability of the engine. The basic handling characteristics weren't all that bad.

I still think to this day that a larger fleet of much cheaper 3-axis microlights would have been better however.

G

B-757
1st Oct 2018, 08:18
..does the aircraft have a significant impact on the learning and skill development of a student pilot?[/QUOTE]

..My opinion after 30yrs flying / teaching..Get your initial training in a light 2 seater (f.ex. C150/152 or a similar taildragger)..Flying these planes will require more rudder control and coordination, so at the end you will come out as a better ``rudder and stick``pilot..After that, the more exposure you get to different aircraft (old vs. new, glass cockpit, high perfomance, turbine etc.), the better of you will be as you get ready to fly commercially..Do not turn down any opportunities to get time in a new type, if you have a chance to go fly..Good luck !!

Fly safe,
B-757

tescoapp
2nd Oct 2018, 05:13
You're saying that and I'm getting the feeling that getting the nastiness designed out of the aircraft is a bad thing? I guess it is for training? But not for actual flying when one already holds a PPL?

For reference, I'm 5'10" and about 95-100kg so a bit on the heavy side and I did find fitting into a C152 to be very cramped. If the instructor was as big as me, I think we'd definitely be rubbing shoulders.

We for me its important for the aircraft to display correct handling while your learning after that when you know what can happen and its not just some theory you have read about, then a more docile handling aircraft is better with the wife and kids onboard although for some it won't be as much fun.
In the PA38 there is never any confusion if you are in a stall or not. C152 and it gets a bit mushy, there may or may not be a plaintiff wail from the horn, the controls will be a bit mushy and you will see a increased rate of decent but nothing alarming.

Two broad shoulder types and you can play the shut door game on the Cessna one person slams their door shut and the other one opens. I usually ended up with one arm over the back of the seat sitting at an angle to not encroach on the students space in Cessna doing nav .And pre solo shoulders thrown forward hands clasped between my knees just to get my arms out the way but still able to grab the controls. I always found the ventilation system better on the tommy could handle -10 in the winter and loads of fresh cooler in the summer due to the intake being behind the prop Cessna you had to wait until airborne for the intakes on the wing root to start pumping air in at any speed.

Cessna V PA38 tends to be like marmite with instructors. Most of the ones that didn't like PA38 I always got the feeling that they were poo scared of teaching in them because of the handling characteristics. Which was more a indication of there own handling/ instructing/monitoring skills than anything else.