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Frequently Asked Questions...

Piper vs. Cessna, low wing vs. high wing?

I really like the looks of the low wing Piper but does the low wing get in the way of ground vis. also maybe could yall throw in a few of the advantages/disadvantages of either plane... I'm gonna be flying mostly recreational if and when I ever get up in the air. Thanks and I really appreciate all the pilots who take the time to contribute on these boards.

Best Answer...


I have flown both aircraft a bit now, and my preference is the Cessna. Maybe it is because I am tall and have big feet (6ft. and size 13), but I feel like I don't fit in a Cherokee.

The Cherokee Pros and Cons:
FIRST, THE BAD...the single door on the right side (why not the left?!) makes it a little more difficult to get in and out, especially in an emergency with three other passengers. The flaps are manually set with a hand-brake lever between the left and right seat (instead of electric, like the Cessna). The elevator trim is typically a handle on the ceiling that turns either clockwise or counter clockwise, which is much less convenient than the trim wheel in the Cessna. As far as having big feet....there is a bar that runs over the rudder pedals that get in my way when braking. The Cherokee 140 has less power than a Cessna 172 (150hp vs. 160hp on carburetor engine). The Cherokee 180 that I flew, and I heard it's common in other 180's, had an airworthiness directive that prohibited operating the engine continuously between 2200 and 2400 rpms, and was shown as a red arc on the tach. If I remember correctly, the 140 has a MTOW of 2150lbs, while the C172 is 2300lbs.

NOW, THE GOOD...The low wing provides better visibility above. The fuel tanks are easier to fill. There is less than a gallon of unusable fuel. The OLEO struts on the main wheels make for softer landings. The performance is relatively the same, with a very slight increase in cruise speed. It has a manual hand lever for flaps (2nd time mentioning because it is, in my opinion, not as convenient as electric, but it still lets you use them in the event of an electrical failure.) The engine cowling opens wider than a Cessna during preflight.

The Cessnas are very good, stable airplanes. For me, they are much, MUCH better because I feel much more comfortable. The low-wing vs. high wing hasn't made too much difference to me yet. Landing is not too much different, but the ground effect is definitely more noticeable in the Cherokee. It just takes getting used to it. I have flown a Tampico TB-9, and I liked that a heck of a lot more than cessnas or pipers. Bottom line.....choose whichever one makes you feel comfortable and safe. Try either one and stick with it. I rent airplanes, so if the Cessna is not available, then I use the Cherokee.

Hope this helps, and good luck!