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5 Airplane Limitations You Should Never Break, And Why

There are plenty of limitations you should never exceed. Here are a few that you should pay extra attention to...

1) Weight and Balance Limits

Weight and balance mistakes can lead to major problems and even accidents. When determining the weight and balance for your aircraft, it's crucial that you use the weight and balance for your specific aircraft. Weights between a generic POH and your specific aircraft POH could be considerably different.

Not taking maximum gross weight seriously can have adverse effects on flight characteristics. And remember, max gross weight isn't a performance limitation, it's a structural limitation. You might have the performance to take off, but your airframe may not be strong enough to handle turbulence and G-loading.


2) Turbulence Penetration Speed

Based on the recommendations in your POH, slow to an appropriate turbulence penetration speed, which for most GA aircraft is Va. Once you reach VA, try to minimize your power adjustments, and don't "chase" the speed. Because of turbulence, it will most likely be difficult to maintain an exact airspeed, so try to stay on the slow side of your Va.

Va adds an extra level of protection if you're flying through moderate to severe turbulence.

3) Vne (Never Exceed Speed)

Repeated flight into the Vne range, especially in rough conditions, could cause excessive structural stress on the aircraft. Prolonged over time, it could lead to structural failure.

4) Engine Start Cycles

Having trouble starting your engine? Your airplane may have a starter limit that you should have memorized. If you don't follow guidelines from the POH, you could overheat and damage the starter, or drain your battery.


5) Minimum Engine/Oil Temperature Limits

For starting, runup, and takeoff, there are often oil and engine temperature limits. Exceeding these could cause excessive wear and damage in your engine. And if the oil isn't heated, it may be too thick to provide proper lubrication.

Does your plane have any unique limitations? Tell us about them in the comments below.

Swayne Martin

Swayne is an editor at Boldmethod, certified flight instructor, and an Embraer 145 First Officer for a regional airline. 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), and is a former pilot for Mokulele Airlines. He's the 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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