Top 10 Classic Most Used Aircraft in the United States

The use of aircraft has been around for a long time. The first documented successful flight was in 1903, and since then, they have evolved into the great aircraft we see today. Aircraft are used worldwide for various reasons such as transportation, recreational activities, and military purposes. In addition, they have made traveling across America easier.

Here is an article about the top 10 most used airplanes in America!     

1. The Boeing 737

The Boeing Company is considered to be the world’s largest aerospace company. The first commercial jet that they released was in 1965. At that time, there were two versions of the aircraft: the 737-100 and 737 -200. This became their most sold product with over 1,500.  It is still considered to be one of the most used aircraft in America.

Delta Air Lines N830DN (737-932ER), Photo by: Scot Wattawa

The Boeing 737 is a twin-engine passenger aircraft. It holds up to 212 passengers, and the measure of its wingspans is 139ft. The wings are made out of aluminum, and the airfoils are in a delta shape. The fuselage is made out of aluminum, and it spans 129ft in length. The engines produce 8,000lbs of thrust each engine, making it able to fly for 5 hours.

2. The Cessna 172

The Cessna Aircraft Company is a division of the U.S. conglomerate Textron Aviation Inc. In 2013, they had built around 3,000 planes for more than fifty years, making them one of America’s most successful airplane companies. The first production model was released in 1955 and is called the “172 Skyhawk”. It has been one of their best products to date, with an estimated 43,000 aircrafts being used worldwide since then.

 The wings’ primary material is aluminum, while its fuselage is constructed from steel tubing, and it has fabric-covered flight surfaces. Its single door on each side provides access to passenger seats and the pilot’s seat, while an additional exterior door provides access to the cargo area. The wingspan is 36ft 5in, and the fuselage length is 34ft 8in. This aircraft can reach up to 175mph, which provides a cruising speed of about 120mph.

 3. The Cessna 414

The Cessna Aircraft Company “is an American general aviation company founded in July 1927 by Clyde Cessna. The company produced thousands of planes for civilian use, as well as supplying military forces with fighter and reconnaissance planes.”  Their most successful model was used between 1966 – 1985, where they made almost 1,800 models called the “Cessna 414,” or affectionately known as the “Husky.”

Cessna 414 , photo from East coast Aircraft Painting

It has been considered one of their best products since it can hold up to 8 people and has a cruising speed of 170mph faster than the Cessna 172.

4. The Piper PA-23 Apache

Piper Aircraft Company was founded by Walter Briggs, Jr. and Bill Turner in 1927 to develop a line of aircraft that would be easy to fly. They produced their first airplane in 1937, called the “Mongoose,” and became highly successful, with over 12,000 being sold worldwide. In 1959 they released their best-selling single-engine light aircraft called the “Apache.”

Piper PA-23 Apache, Photo from Mark Battle

It has been considered one of their most popular modern designs, being used as a touring vehicle for up to four people, a trainer for various military branches, and civilian pilots training to fly Cessna Caravans. In total, about 8,500 have been produced since then.

5. The Beechcraft Bonanza

Textron Inc. acquired the Beech Aircraft Corporation in 1980 after they merged with the American company Hawker. The first production of their most common aircraft, the “Beechcraft Model 35 Bonanza,” was in 1947 and has been used worldwide ever since it was released.

It is currently still being used as a light aircraft that can carry up to 6 people on board while cruising at about 200mph. It holds more than 14 gallons of fuel which allows it to fly for 8 hours straight before refueling again.

6. The Grumman G-164 Ag-Cat

Grumman Aerospace Corporation is American aeronautics that had its origins when Leroy Grumman incorporated his first company in 1929 called the “L. Grumman & Co.” which produced a variety of general aviation aircraft like the Grumman G-21. The company was acquired by Northrop Corporation in 1994 and became known as Northrop Grumman. They also sold off some of their smaller divisions which is how they ended up selling their Agricultural Aircraft Division to Nebraska’s Keystone Agricultural Products Group (KAPG).

The most successful product for this division of Grumman was the G-164 Ag-Cat which is considered one of the most popular agricultural airplanes ever made. It has four propellers on it with two mounted on each wing and can hold up to five 50-gallon drums of chemicals or fertilizers and have room for a pilot and one passenger. In addition, it is capable of flying at speeds up to 100mph while carrying those heavy loads.

7. The Cessna 120/140 series

Cessna Aircraft Company was founded by Clyde Cessna in 1928 and has steadily grown into the world’s largest producer of general aviation aircraft. They have claimed 11 different “Jet Airliner” speed records with their Citation jets, including the fastest flight from Honolulu, Hawaii, to Sydney, Australia. They also produced thousands upon thousands of other light planes, such as the 120 and 140 series aimed towards private pilots. In addition, it provided exceptional safety features such as more significant for their time, high mounted wings to help prevent accidents with tall trees.

Cessna 120; Photo by G.R. Dennis

During its release between 1947-1949, it was their most famous aircraft that they have ever made, being used as both a trainer for new pilots and having the ability to fly at speeds of up to 130mph while carrying four people on board.

8. The Convair 580 Series

Convair Division of General Dynamics Corporation first produced their commercial airliner in 1947, which they named “Convair 240”. It was designed by Robert Hagedorn and William Schwendler, who worked on other projects, including the B-36 Peacemaker Bomber for Convair. Although it started with only 48 being sold, it helped them produce aircraft for the military, including B-36 Peacemaker’s, F-102 Delta Dagger interceptors, and others.

Their most famous airliner was Convair 580, which went into production in 1966 at their San Diego Plant. It had an aluminum structure with a pressurized fuselage that carried up to 69 passengers depending on its configuration. Features that were added into this model included slotted flaps, which increased the aircraft’s speed by 20% compared to other planes during takeoffs and accommodated more passengers because they reduced fuel consumption. 

9. The Mitsubishi MU-2

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries is a Japanese multinational company best known for producing vehicles such as aircraft been, helicopters, and ships. They were initially started in 1917 to have military equipment before shifting their focus towards creating cars, planes, and other goods for civilian use.

The MU-2 is considered one of the best long-range business jets that they have ever produced, with seating up to 6 passengers, while its high performance allows it to fly at speeds of up 410 knots which is about 497mph. This model was first introduced in 1973 until 1981 when production was temporarily halted due to issues with the fuel control system. When it came back into production again in 1985, they completely redesigned its interior layout and installed a new electronic flight instrumentation system that uses LCDs.

10. The Britten-Norman BN-2 Islander

Britten-Norman Aircraft Company is an aircraft manufacturer that serves the general aviation market in the United Kingdom. They are known for producing various designs, including their Trislander, which is three different planes welded together to form one.

However, more well known was their Britten-Norman Islander, which John Britten and Desmond Norman designed. It first flew on January 27th, 1969, with its primary role being used for light transport and short-range reconnaissance. Its unique design came from its Short Takeoff and Landing capabilities allowing it to land at airfields without long runways.


It’s interesting to see how this industry has expanded over the years with them constantly coming up with new designs for their jets. It shows that these companies are never afraid of taking risks, especially considering the amount of money they invest in designing aircraft for civilians.

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