If you’ve been to the airport (and I’m sure you have) you’ve seen a variety of types of aircraft, large and small, high wing and low. Maybe some older planes with two sets of wings. What’s that all about?
Wings, obviously, are one of the major differences between cars and planes. I tell you how wings work a little later in this chapter. For now, know that they have evolved in many ways since the Wright brothers first flew over a century ago—but they still operate about the same. The differences are small design changes to make them more efficient and easier to control.
Which is better: high wing or low wing? It’s like the old Ford vs. Chevy question. It’s really a matter of flying preference. If you plan on doing lots of sightseeing, high-wing aircraft make more sense because they allow you an unobstructed view of the ground. Low-wing aircraft give up some ground visibility for better visibility at pilot level and above. Many aircraft manufacturers make either one type or the other. A few offer both types.
"Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore."
-- Andre Gide