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High Wing vs Low Wing Aircraft

by John M. White |  | 4 comments

As Cessna and Piper renew their competition for the trainer aircraft market we find the old argument still rages over a low-wing airplane versus the high-wing airplane. And just like Democrats and Republicans, Cessna and Piper aficionados gleefully engage in this ongoing argument. The low wingers point out the ability to see and avoid aircraft above descending into you, while the high wingers point out how they can avoid descending into another aircraft. You can make the argument any way you want, depending on your experience and point of view, but in the end it appears to be more a matter of personal choice rather than some safety advantage. Cessna Skycatcher Prototype at All Things Aviation One of the more interesting things I note is that the very first popular general aviation airplanes, the one that got the public into flying, was the high wing Piper J-3 Cub! Somewhere along the way Piper decided to concentrate on low wing airplanes, while Cessna continued to prefer high wing aircraft (with the notable exception of multi-engine aircraft). Piper Sport LSA on All Things Aviation But even among multi-engine aircraft we find both styles. The Aero Commander with its high wing design, the Beech, Cessna and Piper twins being low wing aircraft. While over my career I have flown many different makes and models of aircraft, I always seem to prefer the high wing version. This is probably because I learned to fly in the Cessna 172 so many years ago. So, with no real resolution to the question I put it to you, my readers. How about entering a comment and let me know which you prefer - high wing or low wing. Don't hesitate, let me know what YOU think? Until next time keep your wings straight and level Hersch! JetAviator7 ps: Don't forget to sign up for our newsletter "All Things Aviation" here! Both optimists and pessimists contribute to the society. The optimist invents the aeroplane, the pessimist the parachute. — George Bernard Shaw

Comments (4)

  • admin on June 24, 2019

    Well, for sure that is one way to resolve the High Wing/Low Wing issue!

    Biplanes are pretty cool to fly – I have a little time in a Stearman and it was a great ride!


  • William Lonergan on June 24, 2019

    high wing – low wing. There will never be agreement on this. From my personal point of view I prefer low wing as it gives one a better view in a turn and in the circuit. One way to avoid a blind spot during the descent in a low wing aircraft is to avoid long straight descents and use an S turn to clear the area into which you are descending.

    As for biplanes, ah wonderful. I learnt to fly on the Tiger Moth, every where was a blind spot so like the WW1 fighter pilots you made lots of turns to clear the area into which you were flying. It comes down to basic airmanship and lookout. The glass cockpit tends to keep eyes inside the aircraft rather than outside.

  • admin on June 24, 2019

    I keep wondering when they will run out of things to distract us in the cockpit? Ah… for the good old days.

    When I learned to fly in West Texas back in the early 60s my instructor had a rolled up newspaper and would whack me in the head when it stopped moving. Today I wonder how many pilots even take much time to look outside at cruise?

    I miss my Stearman!

  • Peter C on June 24, 2019

    I like the view from a low wing when flying the pattern, and I like the view from a high wing the rest of the time. I plan on solving this conundrum by building a biplane.

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