Top 10 Most Popular Single-Engine Piston Aircraft

By Jason Zilberbrand

July 29, 2021 Educational

It’s true. The aircraft market environment is in flux due to supply parts and manufacturing delays. However, people are itching to know which single-engine piston aircraft are in the most demand and why.

Owning your own aircraft offers a number of benefits you can’t get from being a passenger in an airport without one. Aircraft ownership is a luxury. And it’s now becoming harder to come by with changes in the industry, fewer supplies available, and not enough quality aircraft on the market.

As a buyer, you shouldn’t feel forced to purchase whatever is out there. Education is key and can help you put your money into an aircraft that won’t be a complete drain on your bank account.

Still want to purchase a valuable single-engine piston aircraft? Know which aircraft have a history of retaining their value regardless of market conditions. Some aircraft depreciate over time because of new modifications or certain builds, but others stand the test of time and can even increase in value.

Keep the following list saved for when you’re ready to obtain a new single-engine piston aircraft.

Top 10 Most Popular Single-Engine Piston Aircraft

Here are the top 10 valued single-engine piston engines that you need to consider.

1. Cessna 182 A-R Skylane

Launched in 1956 as a sequence to the Cessna 180 using a tricycle gear model, the Cessna 182 was born. And only in the late 90s did we see a newer version of this aircraft with its model S. For over 50 years, the Cessna 182 is still one of the most popular single-piston engine aircraft to own. This model of aircraft has more than doubled (as much as $89,000 for a 1956 model) in price since it was originally produced. And it sells quickly every time.

This particular aircraft remains popular for a few reasons, including:

  • Solid predictability and trustworthiness

  • Easy to maneuver

  • Good safety record

  • More capability

  • Smooth transition

2. Cessna 150 A-M

Don’t be fooled by its humble appearance. The Cessna 150 won’t offer the luxurious bells and whistles of a newer, more tech-savvy jet. It wasn’t made to be flashy. After the post-war pilot boom, the Cessna 150 came into production and was made to be a training aircraft.

Why is it still a single-engine piston aircraft worth considering?

  • Relatively affordable to own and operate

  • Easy and enjoyable to fly

  • Light and fast-acting control response

  • Reliable and optimal for training

3. Cessna 172 Skyhawk

By the mid-1970s, the Cessna 172 reached peak popularity selling 2,000 aircraft a year. Production hit its pinnacle and now, the Cessna 172 is the most sold single-engine piston aircraft in aviation history.

All of this to say, get a better understanding of why the newer version, the Cessna 172 Skyhawk, is a favorite amongst single-engine piston aircraft. With a heftier price tag ($369,000 to $438,000) than its vintage counterpart, it has so much to offer.

Why do people love the Cessna 172 Skyhawk so much?

  • Luxurious and sturdy

  • Stable and light

  • Improved control

  • Smooth and easy flying

4. Cessna 172 A-H Skyhawk

The Cessna 172 A-H is easy to fly and has a low fuel burn to add to its list of benefits. Is it a fancy single-engine piston aircraft? No, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t one of the most reliable aircraft on the market.

Here are a few reasons why it should remain in your top 10 when considering the purchase of an aircraft:

  • Reliable

  • Relatively available parts

  • Less costly to operate

  • Fairly affordable insurance (about $1,000 a year)

Below are a few other models to consider when looking at the Cessna 172.

5. Cessna 172 I

Launched in 1968, this model offers increased power for a higher cruise speed of 130 mph.

6. Cessna 172 M

This model appeared in 1974 with improved low-speed handling and an option for better navigation and communication equipment.

No matter the model, get a trusted appraisal from the aviation experts with the experience to back it up. Contact VREF for your aviation appraisal.

7. Beechcraft Bonanza A36

With over 70 years of continuous production, the A36 continues to be a favorite among aircraft owners everywhere. This single-engine piston aircraft seats six comfortably with more room than other models on the market. You can find a pre-owned A36 for an average price of about $240,000.

  • Beautiful balance for better flying

  • Cabin comfort

  • Good visibility

  • Reliable performance

8. Piper Cherokee PA-28-180

The Piper Cherokee 180, with its signature Hershey bar configuration, was designed to sell as an economical and safe single-engine piston aircraft. These days, pilots like this plane for the same reasons, including a few new ones.

What makes the Piper Cherokee 180 a fan favorite?

  • Easy to fly and land

  • Strong loading capabilities

  • Better endurance and range

  • Economical

9. Cirrus SR22

The 1995 SR22 paved the way for a few future technologies in other aircraft. From its side yoke and chute features to its fixed landing gear and safety features, the SR22 is an aircraft worth looking into. Newer models can get pricey (nearly $800,000), but you can find early 2000s models for around $180,000.

Some of its most coveted features include:

  • Great speed

  • Capable of smooth, short landings

  • TKS fluid system

  • Airframe parachute

10. Beechcraft Bonanza 35

Known for its V-tail model, the Bonanza 35 is one of the most affordable Bonanza aircraft on the market. A careful pre-buy inspection with ideal results can make the Bonanza 35 an intelligent purchase. Far more affordable than modern Bonanza models, the 35 is a top 10 for a few reasons, including its:

  • Solid aerodynamic design

  • Affordability

  • Relatively fast cruise speed reaching 175 mph

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