Cessna Skycatcher

Price: $149,900

Available: Since 2009

Range: 440 nautical miles

For many pilots, the Cesna Skycatcher isn't the plane you buy; it's the one that teaches you to fly. The single piston-engine model is a popular trainer, with extremely beginner-friendly Garmin-built avionics – much of the instrumentation is displayed on dual monitors – and just enough seating for a student and a wary instructor. But the Skycatcher is the cheapest (or close to it) light sport aircraft (LSA) on the market, part of a relatively new class of small planes that make general aviation more obtainable than ever. The limited range makes it a bad fit for most business travelers, but a perfect choice for those who simply want to soar. [cessna.com]