No matter if it’s a single-engine plane, a private jet, a commercial plane, or a fighter jet, they're all big and heavy. So how much does a plane weigh?
If you’re a private pilot considering purchasing a plane of your own or just an inquisitive person wondering how much planes weigh, then this is the article for you. After all, it’s amazing that these massive chunks of metal are able to fly in the air on their own. How can something that big fly through the air? Aren’t they heavy?
The most common commercial airplanes in the world weigh between 30,900 and 127,000 pounds. Personal airplanes weigh in quite a bit lighter, with the most popular ones weighing between 740 and 2,750 pounds. Modern-day fighter jets weigh between 20,300 and 45,000 pounds.
Planes are heavy. We all know that. But how heavy are they? Unfortunately, that’s not a question that’s so easily answered. With how many different types and classes of planes there are, the weights of planes range from a few hundred pounds to hundreds of thousands of pounds or more. In this article, we’ll look at commercial planes, personal airplanes, and fighter jets to see how much they weigh.
The most important thing to us at SkyTough is making sure you get the information that you’re looking for. For a topic like how much a plane weighs, it’s purely data and research-driven. So we dove deep into the specifications and published information on various types of planes to get that information for you. In no time, you’ll know everything you want to know about how much airplanes actually weigh.
What Do Airplanes Weigh?
Let’s preface this by stating the obvious: airplanes are heavy. I don’t care if you’re talking about a personal single-engine airplane or a multi-engine commercial airliner. Planes aren’t light by any means. In fact, it’s a wonder that something so heavy can even fly at all. If you want to know more about how planes fly in the first place, check out our full article on the topic.
As you might expect, there is a huge range when it comes to what airplanes weigh since there are so many different types of planes out there. In this article, we’re going to take a look at all sorts of different planes to make sure you get an idea of what planes really weigh.
While we’ll dive into each of these three categories in more depth later, here’s a table with some of the most common commercial airplanes, personal planes, and military airplanes and how much they weigh. Some of the numbers might surprise you!
What really jumped out at me when researching this topic is how much fighter jets weigh. After all, they’re usually big enough for just one or two pilots, yet they weigh nearly half as much as common commercial airliners! But we’ll dive into the specifics of each category more shortly, let’s start with commercial airplanes.
How Much Do Commercial Airplanes Weigh?
Commercial airplanes are the heaviest planes in the world. This makes sense considering they’re also the biggest and they’re designed to carry the highest number of passengers or the biggest payload worth of cargo of any other kind of airplane. After all, how useful would a tiny commercial airliner really be? If a plane could only transport 10 to 20 people instead of the hundreds that many can, air travel wouldn’t be nearly as effective!
They’re so big and heavy, in fact, that most of the time their weights are reported in tons (2,000 lbs per ton) instead of pounds. But for the sake of comparison throughout this article, we’ll keep everything in pounds. Before we start discussing any comparisons among the weights of commercial planes, let’s look at the ten most common ones in the world and what they weigh:
As you can see, even among the most common commercial airplanes produced, there is quite a variance in how much they weigh. With weights ranging from 30,900 pounds to 127,000 pounds within just this list of planes, it’s tough to give a definitive answer on how much commercial planes weigh.
But this list has enough variety to give you an idea of how much these planes weigh. So if you’re interested in becoming a commercial pilot, then it’s likely you’ll be flying an airplane that weighs somewhere between 75,000 and 100,000 pounds. That’s the equivalent of about 25 to 30 standard passenger cars! Just one of the many perks of being a pilot — you get to be in control of some of the biggest vehicles ever produced.
How Much Does A Personal Airplane Weigh?
If you’re an aspiring pilot yourself or someone who just got their wings, then you might be a bit more interested in how many personal airplanes weigh. By that, I’m referring more towards planes that you might buy yourself, such as one of the cheapest planes that you can buy or maybe the easiest planes to fly.
Similar to how we looked at commercial airplanes, let’s take a look at some of the most common airplanes that people buy and fly. While the table of commercial planes above was based on production numbers, most of the airplanes you might be interested in buying yourself are used, so the current production numbers aren’t too relevant.
Instead, we’ll take planes from our lists of the most affordable planes to buy as well as the easiest planes to fly. As pilots ourselves, these planes are the ones that we’ve spent the most time flying and even buying, so it should give you an accurate idea of what to expect! Here’s how much personal airplanes weigh:
As you can see, these types of planes weigh significantly less — keyword, significantly — than the commercial planes from above! This is great for pilots like you and me, since it makes them easier to maintain, transport, and store in a standard airplane hangar. But let’s take a minute to appreciate the stark difference in weight between these two classes of airplanes.
All nine of the planes in this table have a combined weight of 11,319.9 pounds. In the table from the section above, the lightest commercial airplane listed is 30,900 pounds! That’s right, all of these planes combined weight barely more than 30% of the weight of the lightest most common commercial planes. That should give you a sense of just how heavy airplanes really are!
That said, it’s interesting that every single one of these planes is significantly lighter than the car, truck, or SUV you drive every day! Who would have thought that an airplane would be lighter than a car? Well, when it comes to most personal aircraft like these, especially single-engine planes, that’s the case!
How Much Does A Fighter Jet Weigh?
Lastly, let’s take a look at how much fighter jets weigh. I mentioned earlier on how surprising the weights of some of these are since they’re typically designed for just one or two pilots. Yet they weigh substantially more than personal aircraft like the ones in the previous section, which are designed for the same number of pilots & passengers.
But when you really start to think about it, it might make a bit more sense to you. After all, military airplanes have most of the records when it comes to how fast planes can fly and how high planes fly. These are some of the most technologically advanced systems and vehicles ever built, so there is quite a bit packed into the package of a fighter jet.
That said, here are the weights of the most popular fighter jets still in production and used today:
The top four in this table are the four most common fighter jets still used today, with weights ranging from 20,300 to 45,000 pounds. The other two, the T-38 Talon and AC-130J Ghostrider — are outliers, but there's a good reason for that. The T-38 is used as the primary trainer for pilots becoming a fighter pilot, it’s not a modern-day fighter like the other. And the AC-130 is a massive gunship, not like the other fighter jets either.
About THE AUTHOR
After spending years watching every video I could find about flying, I finally scratched the itch and got my pilots license. Now I fly every chance I get, and share the information I learn, here.Read More About Joe Haygood