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Being a pilot is never really considered easy. But some planes are easier to fly than others. So what are the easiest planes to fly?

The easiest planes to fly overall include the Cessna 172 Skyhawk, Beechcraft Skipper, Piper PA-28 Cherokee, Cessna 150/152, Diamond DV20/DA20 Katana, Ercoupe 415-C, and Diamond DA40 Star. The easiest commercial plane to fly is the Boeing 747 and the easiest military aircraft is the F-22 Raptor.

Let’s start off by saying that coming up with a comprehensive list of the easiest planes to fly requires a bit of subjectivity. A pilot that has thousands of hours in one aircraft might think it’s super easy to fly when others would struggle to do so. That said, in this article, you’ll learn about the 7 easiest aircraft to fly overall, the easiest commercial jet to fly, and what’s widely accepted as the easiest military aircraft to pilot.

I’ll be the first to admit that here at SkyTough, we have not flown every aircraft you’ll see in this article (we’re looking at you, F-22 Raptor). That said, our personal experience with many of these planes combined with input from pilots across the spectrum of experience with various aircraft makes this guide as accurate as possible.

Table of contents


What Makes A Plane Easy To Fly Compared To Others?

The things that make one plane easier to fly than another areall timeubjective. Every pilot will have their own thoughts on the subject and have their own favorite or least favorite parts of any aircraft that make it easier to fly than another plane. But even though there’s some inherent subjectivity built-in to this question, there are a few things that can make a plane easier to fly that the majority of pilots agree on.

These include things such as:

  • Stability — The more stability that an aircraft has, the easier it is to take off, fly, and land.
  • Handling/Maneuverability — The easiest planes to fly will typically have responsive controls that make handling and maneuverability far simpler.
  • Error Forgiveness — New pilots are going to make mistakes while flying, it’s inevitable. A plane that can forgive small mistakes is way easier to fly than others.
  • Intuitive Controls — Planes that have easy-to-reach controls that are also intuitive to use will be easier for a pilot to quickly get used to flying.
  • Comfort — Comfort is a bigger deal than you might think. Some aircraft are just far too small for taller people to fly, so a plane that’s roomy and ergonomically designed will be easier to fly.
  • Visibility — The cockpit combined with the wing configuration are the two biggest drivers of pilot visibility which make it easier for pilots to see and react to more.
  • Autopilot and Other Navigation Systems — Modern aircraft (especially commercial and military planes) have incredibly advanced autopilot systems that pretty much fly the aircraft for you, making it easier than ever.

What Are The Easiest Trainer Planes To Fly?

The vast majority of you are here to find out what the easiest learner planes to fly are so that you can learn how to fly a plane. The easiest a plane is to fly, typically the better it’s going to be for brand new pilots or pilots that are still in flight school. Trying to learn how to fly in a plane that’s difficult to fly might produce a well-battled pilot on occasion, but it makes much more sense to start off in something that’s easy to fly.

Here are 7 of the easiest learner planes to fly, many of which you’ll end up flying during your time in pilot school.

Cessna 172 Skyhawk

The best-selling plane of all-time, the Cessna 172 Skyhawk is both one of the most popular planes ever as well as one of the easiest planes to fly. Most of the planes you’ll see on this list use a low-wing configuration, but the Cessna 172 is one of the few that uses the high-wing design to make visibility of everything around and below the pilot much better.

Since the Skyhawk is a 4-seater plane, there is plenty of room in the cabin (and cockpit) so it’s more than comfortable for the pilot. The powerful 180-hp engine enables pilots to easily get up to cruising altitude and speed, and the tricycle landing gear makes touching back down as easy as possible.

Key Features

  • Top Speed: 188 mph
  • Cruising Speed: 140 mph
  • Service Ceiling: 14,00 feet
  • Horsepower: 180 hp
  • Fuel Range: 736 miles
  • Number of Seats: 4

Beechcraft Skipper

The Beechcraft Skipper is a bit of an anomaly because it was pretty much discontinued because it was too easy to fly. The Skipper was originally designed to be a pilot-training plane. So when it started being flown and instructors realized how easy it was to fly, it began to lose popularity among flight schools. They feared that pilots wouldn’t learn as much since it was so easy!

The Beechcraft skipper is so easy to fly because of its extremely high level of stability, pretty much no other plane in its class can compete. Compact wings in a low-wing configuration work alongside the sturdy t-tail design to offer unparalleled stability during flight and landing. This made it so simple that even brand new pilots could land seamlessly. You will struggle to find an easier to fly plane out there!

Key Features

  • Top Speed: 164 mph
  • Cruising Speed: 140 mph
  • Service Ceiling: 18,500 feet
  • Horsepower: 260 hp
  • Fuel Range: 475 miles
  • Number of Seats:  2

Piper PA-28 Cherokee

The ever-popular Piper PA-28 Cherokee was originally built as Piper’s answer to the famous Cessna 172 above. Piper changed up the design a bit with the Cherokee compared to Cessna’s Skyhawk by making it a low-wing aircraft as opposed to the high-wings of the Cessna. They also fixed the landing gear to these wings instead of the fuselage.

Both of these changes offered enhanced stability and ease of use compared to the Cessna during taxiing around the airport, as well as during landing. Once airborne, the Piper PA-28 effortlessly glides through the air and offers pilots an elegant flying experience that has few equals.

Key Features

  • Top Speed: 144 mph
  • Cruising Speed: 135 mph
  • Service Ceiling: 15,00 feet
  • Horsepower: 150 hp
  • Fuel Range: 800 miles
  • Number of Seats: 2

Diamond DV20/DA20 Katana

As the smaller option of the two Diamond models of aircraft to make this list, the popular DV20/DA20 Katana is widely accepted in the industry as one of the easiest planes to fly. The compact design of the Katana makes it easy to handle during flight and has less surface area to be buffeted around by winds and turbulence, making it less stressful on the pilot during flight.

As low-wing configurations are known for creating the feeling of gliding through the air, as opposed to how high-wings (or other configurations) feel, Diamond took it a step further to really enhance this aspect of flight. The Katana’s 11:1 glide ratio makes it feel like you really are just gliding through the air, and the plane can be controlled with just aileron use during flight. It really is that easy to fly.

Key Features

  • Top Speed: 189 mph
  • Cruising Speed: 159 mph
  • Service Ceiling: 13,120 feet
  • Horsepower: 125 hp
  • Fuel Range: 629 miles
  • Number of Seats: 2

Ercoupe 415-C

One of the first planes that you might fly during flight-training school, the Ercoupe 415-C is regarded as one of the easiest planes to fly of all time. It’s also one of the most affordable planes, making it the perfect choice for the pilot who wants their own aircraft to master. But in terms of ease of use, the Ercoupe is at the top of every pilot’s list.

The 415-C really took a pilot-centered approach in its design, ditching rudder pedals for a standard steering yoke, making steering the plane feels similar to driving a car. Ercoupe also limited the rate at which the 415-C can climb, which was done to prevent the chance of the engine stalling out, a difficult to manage stressor for pilots. The extended tricycle landing gear also makes landing a breeze, negating one of the hardest parts of flying!

Key Features

  • Top Speed:  129 mph
  • Cruising Speed: 1154 mph
  • Service Ceiling: 17,300 feet
  • Horsepower: 75 hp
  • Fuel Range: 300 miles
  • Number of Seats: 2

Diamond DA40 Star

The more modern of the two aircraft models from Diamond to make this list, the DA40 Star is incredibly easy to fly for three main reasons — superior visibility, lighter materials used in construction, and advanced modern avionics. The all-glass cockpit offers pilots unencumbered visibility in all directions while the low-wing design enhances stability during flight and landing.

Construction of the DA40 also calls for composites and other lightweight materials (compared to metal), which makes the handling and maneuverability of the aircraft simple and responsive. Being released just before the turn of the millennium, the DA40 Star has advanced controls systems compared to the other personal aircraft on this list, which do much of the flying for you.

Key Features

  • Top Speed: 173 mph
  • Cruising Speed: 165 mph
  • Service Ceiling: 16,000 feet
  • Horsepower: 180 hp
  • Fuel Range: 833 miles
  • Number of Seats: 4

Cessna 150/152

Let’s preface this by saying that the Cessna 150/152 is almost always included on lists of the easiest planes to fly, but it can be a bit controversial. Because it’s also sometimes listed as one of the toughest planes to fly, including in our own list! But that’s for a very particular set of reasons that don’t apply to most pilots or in most situations.

Overall, the predecessor to the famous Cessna 172 Skyhawk is one of the most popular planes of all time. Technically the 150 and the 152 are different planes, but for the sake of conciseness, we’ll refer to them as the same model. The most famous aspect of the 150/152 is how easy they are to land — they practically land themselves. Combined with its easy-to-maneuver compact design and preliminary stall warning, this is one of the easiest planes ever to fly.

Key Features

  • Top Speed: 125 mph
  • Cruising Speed: 123 mph
  • Service Ceiling: 14,000 feet
  • Horsepower: 110 hp
  • Fuel Range: 350 miles
  • Number of Seats: 2

What is the Easiest Commercial Plane to Fly?

If you’re on the track to becoming a commercial airline pilot, you might be interested in knowing which commercial plane is the easiest one to fly. As an airline pilot, you likely won’t really have the option of which aircraft you fly, but you can start off by getting type rated on an easier aircraft so that you’re only really able to fly that particular plane.

We could provide a list of some of the easiest commercial planes similar to what we did above for training planes, but for the sake of this article we just went with the widely agreed-upon easiest commercial plane out there — the Boeing 747.

Boeing 747 (and other Boeing Aircraft)

There are two major names in the commercial aircraft manufacturing business, Boeing and Airbus. Both companies make incredible planes and each has droves of followers who will swear by their aircraft. But the common feeling throughout much of the aviation industry is that Boeing aircraft are typically easier to fly than Airbus, especially the famous Boeing 747.

The famous jumbo jet (actually the first aircraft to be called a jumbo jet) is surprisingly easy to fly. The massive plane uses four engines to produce incredible amounts of thrust, effortlessly lifting the plane into the air, reaching cruising speed and altitude in little to no time. Once cruising, the advanced autopilot system onboard pretty much flies the plane by itself. The jet cuts through the sky with ease and is barely affected by bad weather and most instances of turbulence, making it a smooth trip and an easy flight for the pilots and crew.

Key Features

  • Top Speed: 614 mph
  • Cruising Speed: 580 mph
  • Service Ceiling: 45,100 feet
  • Thurst: 66,500 pounds per engine at take-off
  • Fuel Range: 8,357 miles
  • Number of Seats: 350 - 650+

What is the Easiest Fighter Jet to Fly?

That might sound like a bit of an oxymoron since fighter jets are long known as being the most technologically advanced type of aircraft on the planet. And while fighter jets usually require far more training to learn to fly than any other type of aircraft due to all those complex systems, those systems are also the reason that they can be super easy to fly once you’re trained.

In modern fighter jets, the plane can pretty much fly itself. Of course, the point of a fighter jet is to be able to dominate the skies and provide air superiority, which will largely come from the pilot’s skillset. But in terms of just standard cruising, fighter jets have the most advanced autopilot systems in the world, making them surprisingly easy to fly during non-combat times.

As of today, the easiest fighter jet to fly due to how advanced it is is the F-22 Raptor from Lockheed Martin.

Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor

The United States military is widely regarded as having the most superior air defenses (and attack) in the world. And the F-22 Raptor from Lockheed Martin is one of the big reasons why. Released in 2012 and immediately regarded as the most fear-instilling fighter jet in the world, the Raptor was designed to take out enemy aircraft, defend US equipment and personnel, and have its sheer presence prevent many conflicts.

All that said, it’s also incredibly easy to fly for a well-trained pilot. Keep in mind a private or commercial pilot would almost certainly not be able to hop into an F-22 and fly it. But for a trained military pilot, it’s a breeze. The F-22 is so advanced and has so many sensors, instruments, and controls systems, that it pretty much entirely flies itself once the pilot leaves the ground.

And due to how high and how fast it travels, there is very little chance for many external factors to really affect it in any way. Its sleek design cuts through the wind like nothing, and its computer systems adjust everything as needed based on seemingly endless sensor input. It’s an incredible piece of machinery that any pilot would be lucky to fly one day.

Key Features

  • Top Speed: 1,500 mph
  • Cruising Speed: 1,220 mph
  • Service Ceiling: 60,000 feet
  • Thrust: 35,000 pounds per engine at take-off
  • Fuel Range: 1,839 miles
  • Number of Seats: 1