Diamond D40 vs Cessna 182 for new pilot?

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I having been flying as a passenger in small planes all my life (57
yo)and an avid boater (keep boat in Bahamas) and I am now going to
get a pilots license and plane. I am looking to buy either a new or
relatively new DA40 or Cessna 182. 10% of flights to Bahamas, 70%
around Florida, 20% other parts of US. Combined weight of family is
520 lbs. Goal is to move up to larger faster plane twins then VLJ as
hours allow.

Can you help me with this decision? Considering, easiness to learn
to fly, enjoyable flying, speed, safety, economy of operation and
anything else that I should be considering?

-- Scott Snyder, July 20, 2006


The C182 is probably the better plane for long-term ownership. It can carry more. You can get into it during a rainstorm without getting wet. People with limited mobility don't have to clamber over a wing to get in. Cessna did a lot of stuff right, which is how they can still be around despite having invested nothing in engineering for 30+ years.

I think the DA40 is a great plane to own for 250-500 hours. When the seats start to feel uncomfortable, trade it up for a DA42 to get your twin time (the seats will still be uncomfortable, but you'll be logging multi time).

If you're using it in Florida, you might want to consider your heat tolerance. An air-conditioned 182 would be pretty nice considering the sunshade of the wing and the cold air coming out of the vents.

-- Philip Greenspun, July 24, 2006

Thanks so much for the reply. I am leaning strongly towards the DA40 or the just announced DA40XL.

I also understand that Diamond has applied for an increased weight allowance which will put it about the same place as the 182.

250-500 hours is about where I want to go then I will probably move up to the DA42 as suggested.

Maybe I will buy a cushion:) Warm Regards, Scott

-- Scott Snyder, July 24, 2006

The DA40XL looks very appealing indeed. I'd always thought that the DA40 was about 10 knots slow to be competitive with the likes of Cirrus and Columbia, and this appears to fix that. If the improvements also result in improved climb, then the XL looks to be a good choice. I love the visibility of a low-wing, although I'll admit that I fly a non-Cessna high wing right now.

If you're considering a twin, why not look at the DA40 and then trading it in on a DA42? I would think that there would be lots of similarities between the two.

-- Doug Reeves, September 20, 2006