One of the main difference between D’s Mooney and the 172’s I cut my pilot teeth in, is that his is a low wing plane vs the high wing Cessna.
I’d never really given the difference much thought to be honest, other than “some planes are different to the one I learned in.”
Now though, I’m starting to contemplate the various advantages and disadvantages of each plane design. As a former student, the tendency is to judge the plane you learnt in as “normal” and judge everything else relative to it. The fact of the matter is though, the 172 is an excellent training aircraft but may not be the best choice for a plane to go places in. The 172, for example, is touted as a four seater plane but if you put four adults and baggage in it, well you’re going by road because you haven’t got any room for fuel and you are probably well over your takeoff weight.
Other differences aside (D’s Mooney has retractable gear and a variable pitch prop), the age old debate of high vs low wing continues. Now I’ve never flown a low wing, but I’ve flown in one. Based on that these are my observations
· It is a lot easier to check the fuel in a low wing plane. No milk crates needed
· It is easier to get into a high wing plane, no climbing on the wing needed and there are two doors
· You have to be a lot more careful taxing a low wing, cones and other assorted apron furniture passes easily under a high wing. I think it would be easy to take out taxiway lighting if you weren’t careful
· Crosswind landings concern me a little; I think striking a wingtip would be easier in a low wing, especially if you slip it in like I tend to.
· Despite other people’s opinions, I actually find the visibility in turns slightly better in a low wing.
Now my final observation and I honestly don’t know if this is purely psychological or due to the fact that the Mooney is a heavier plane but I feel a lot more stable in the low wing. The little bumps and jolts of everyday turbulence just don’t seem to concern me as much. I’m a lot more comfortable in the plane in general.
This is a phenomenon that warrants further investigation. I’d love to get some flying time in a low wing. A Piper or something. Now I just need to find one.