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10 Myths About Small Airplanes

Don't be fooled by the single engine and propeller. If you're a pilot, you've heard these myths about small airplanes...

1) They're Uncomfortable

On the outside, small airplanes may look tiny...but there might be more space inside than you think! Depending on the kind of airplane you fly, you'll be surprised to find yourself with way more room than an airline seat. Take this Piper Cherokee Six for example:

Swayne Martin

2) They're Unsafe

Even the smallest airplanes aren't inherently unsafe. Maintenance compliance, combined with pilot proficiency and decision making are much more significant influences on safety of flight. Some pilots like to say they feel more threatened driving on the highway to the airport than sitting inside the airplane itself.


3) They're Expensive

Depending on age, type, and hours, a 4-seat airplane can cost the same, or even less than a car.


4) Chartered Flights Are Always More Expensive

If you have a group heading to the same destination, you may be surprised to find out that chartering a private aircraft could save you money per-person vs. buying individual airline tickets. Plus, the flight operates on your schedule, and you don't have to go through TSA!


5) They're Always Old

Yes, the majority of small piston aircraft were produced between 1960-1980, but that doesn't mean new aircraft aren't on the market. The CubCrafters Carbon Cub SS is one of the best selling, re-envisioned versions of the Piper Cub on the market. Brand new materials, engines, and glass cockpit displays took the 1938 concept of the Cub and merged it with modern technology.

6) They Can't Fly Around Mountains

High density altitudes don't stop small airplanes. At plenty of mountain airports, you'll find light aircraft that were specifically designed to handle high terrain.


7) You Can't Fit Both Bags And People

Payload and range are limiting factors for airliners and small airplanes alike. You'd be surprised at how much weight a small airplane can handle, however. Weight and balance planning is something every pilot becomes proficient in for this very reason.


8) They Can't Fly Through Bad Weather

Generally speaking, if a small plane can't fly through it, neither can a big one. Regardless of size, pilots must avoid flying through storms, severe turbulence, and windshear. Just like larger aircraft, some small planes are equipped to fly through icing conditions. And, they can usually take off and land with low ceilings and poor visibility.


9) They Can't Fly High

Think you'll only fly to a maximum of a few thousand feet in a small plane? Try up to 14,000 feet in a C172S, or 25,000 feet in a Cirrus SR22T!

Swayne Martin

10) They're Slow

Just because you're not flying as fast jets, doesn't mean you're flying "slow." Add check-in lines, TSA lines, airline delays, and layovers, and your trip might be a lot faster flown in a small airplane.

What other myths have you heard? Tell us in the comments below.

Swayne Martin

Swayne Martin

Swayne is an editor at Boldmethod, certified flight instructor, and a First Officer on the Boeing 757/767 for a Major US Carrier. He graduated as an aviation major from the University of North Dakota in 2018, holds a PIC Type Rating for Cessna Citation Jets (CE-525), is a former pilot for Mokulele Airlines, and flew Embraer 145s at the beginning of his airline career. Swayne is an author of articles, quizzes and lists on Boldmethod every week. You can reach Swayne at, and follow his flying adventures on his YouTube Channel.

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