For pilots 5'0" to 5'4"

6 Replies

For pilots 5'0" to 5'4"

Posted by Bobby Todd on Nov 13, 2018 1:19 pm

Hello All,

I would be grateful for recommendations from pilots 5'4" and under: what airplane(s) do you feel most comfortable flying (excluding 150/152)?

Back story:

A good friend has enlisted my help in locating an airplane that is 1). Comfortable for a pilot 5'2" tall; 2). Suitable for PPL training; 3). Tricycle gear; and 4). Isn't a worn-out piece of junk.  She has trained in a 152 and 172 previously but was much less comfortable in the 172 due to the height of the panel and distance from the seat to the rudder pedals.

The obvious answer, therefore, would be a 150 or 152, but after months of searching we have yet to find one that is in acceptable condition.  Those that are seem to get snapped-up sight unseen by flight schools (or so we assume).  Many are in sad shape--and I mean, really sad shape. So I want to expand the search and consider other aircraft types that fit the previously-stated criteria.



Re: For pilots 5'0" to 5'4"

Posted by Ronald Levy on Nov 13, 2018 8:45 pm

Re: For pilots 5'0" to 5'4"

Posted by Bobby Todd on Nov 14, 2018 11:24 am

Ronald Levy:
Pretty much any airplane appropriate for the mission with one of these:

Seat cushions don't move the rudder pedals closer or higher.

Just curious--does your height fall within the 5'-5'4" range?  You look much taller next to the Grumman.


Re: For pilots 5'0" to 5'4"

Posted by John Haley on Nov 19, 2018 9:36 am

I am average height (5’11”) and just flew a Cessna 177RG Cardinal and found myself with the seat pretty far back to be comfortable and the remaining distance to the sea trail stop in the back was not much. The controls seemed a couple inches further away (which I liked) and the seat still had up-direction travel remaining while I had 3”-4” of extra space vertically to see over the cowl. Bottom line is that it felt “cramped” compared to my Cessna 210 and my old PA28 Arrow, so unless this Cardinal had a mod to bring the seat closer, it may be a candidate.
I understand your dilemma... my wife is 5’2” and sits on a cushion and still barely able to see over the glare shield, then cannot reach the rudder pedals except her toes...not good for braking on touchdown!  Fortunately she likes to watch flying much more than flying, otherwise I’d probably be paying big bucks to get some sort of field approval for a mod that brings the rudder pedals back.
Good luck!

Re: For pilots 5'0" to 5'4"

Posted by Eric Butcher on Nov 19, 2018 1:44 pm

My flight instructor was I am thinking 5ft - he carried a portable booster seat in the 172.

Last I heard from him he was flying 747 cargo planes - so thinking it makes no difference.

Seem maybe being too big is a greater problem.

Hello Jesper if you see this:)

Re: For pilots 5'0" to 5'4"

Posted by John Haley on Nov 19, 2018 8:12 pm

Eric, you are right on the Boeing’s...unless they took a stupid pill between the 73 and 74, the 74 has adjustable rudder pedals and seat to allow positioning torso at optimum distance from the panel. I think they have anthropometric criteria that GA doesn’t. Otherwise Piper, Cessna, etc. would also have adjustable rudder pedals.

Re: For pilots 5'0" to 5'4"

Posted by Edward Poole on Nov 20, 2018 2:43 pm

I'm 5'5" so just a bit out of your range but not by much.  I used to have a pillow under my seat in a 172N model, the seat only went up so far and the springs in the seat were compressed/worn out so a pillow just got me up far enough.  Have you considered Light Sport?  I flew a Technam P92 for most of my private training.  It was slightly larger than a 150/152 and the seat was easily adjustable so far forward even I could feel cramped.  Some light sports also have adjustable petals, the seat is static, and those move a good bit as well.  I'm not a fan of their light construction, but they tend to have better creature comforts and ergonomics than the 60's-80's model aircraft found at flight schools, and bonus: no ashtrays (or smoke smell)!  Just another thought, have you tried type clubs for used advertisements?  The folks who belong usually have a higher standard of care for their aircraft (not knocking anyone, so please don't get angry), and can tell you how hard parts are to find, pitfalls of purchase, A/D information and a whole host of real world experience, it might be worth a look...