Which 'Challenge' aircraft will move to Round Three?

March 19, 2012

Voting is reaching madness levels as pilots choose their second round choices in AOPA's Favorite Aircraft Challenge. Let's begin with some prognostications for the remaining three regionals scheduled this week.

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Head over to the Favorite Aircraft Challenge page to place your votes.

Southeast Region: The Pitts Special won't have the agility to topple the legendary Piper J-3 Cub, which easily advances. The Husky A-1C's ability to land on a dime and give you 8 cents change earns it the win over the Mooney M20, while the exquisite beauty of the Beech Staggerwing cannot outshine the Waco UPF-7, which moves on in a close one. And even Coach Schuyler "Sky" King can't motivate the Cessna 310 to overcome the military legacy of the Stearman PT-17.

Southwest Region: Fans of the Beechcraft Bonanza will hold up the “V” for victory (and V-tail) sign against the Cessna Mustang, while the hard-working Cessna 208 Caravan hauls the mail to crush its sleek third-cousin, the Corvalis. In a battle of Cessna's load-haulers, the 210 sneaks past its little brother, the 205/206. And no airplane stands much of a chance against the mighty DC-3, which eliminates the Cessna 180/185 in a blowout.

West Region: Against the Cessna 182, the Lake Amphibian can't match up, with the Skylane advancing. As a Cherokee 235 owner/pilot, I must pick the Piper PA-28 Cherokee family over the T-6 Texan, while the Socata TBM 850, using its full-court speed, battles the Piper PA-18 Super Cub. In this contest of modern turboprop versus classic taildragger, the powerful Cubbie, with stellar short-field performance, pulls away late to advance. The toughest call here is the Grumman F8F Bearcat versus de Havilland Beaver challenge. The Beav' is a popular bush and seaplane in Alaska, and the northern votes should outnumber the warbird fans to eliminate the Bearcat in an upset.

Dan Pimentel, an instrument-rated private pilot who has racked up more than 400 hours in 16 years of flying, is also an aviation author and writes the Airplanista Aviation Blog.