How Far Can A Single Engine Plane Fly?

Always wondered about the distance that single-engine planes can travel? In this article, we are going to fill you in on that interesting fact plus so much more.

By giving examples of the most popular single-engine planes of today and their ranges, you will have your answer, and then some. 

How Far Can A Single Engine Plane Fly

Just in case you wanted to learn a thing or two more about single-engine aircraft, we have gone above and beyond the clouds with every relatable single-engine stat and fact.

From how long they can travel through the sky, to their different engine types and whether getting in one is a good idea, or not – fasten your seatbelt because we’re entering the daring world of single-engine flight. 

How Far Can A Single-Engine Plane Fly?

Depending on a particular plane’s fuel load and configuration of its tank, in general, single-engine planes will fly 500 to 1500 nautical miles.

As a general rule of thumb, however, 1000 nautical miles is considered quite high, with most small planes (see also “Are Small Planes Safe?“) having a range of 700 – 800 nautical miles. 

What Single Engine Planes Have The Longest Range?

The Citation CJ4 takes the cake for the single-engine plane with the longest range at 2,191 nautical miles. It was also first manufactured in 2010 and is a mere 21 inches longer than its predecessor the CJ3.

The Citation CJ4 has an empty weight of 3,859 pounds and a gross weight of 4,735 pounds. Its maximum takeoff weight is 5,000 pounds. This makes it one of the lightest planes available today.

Other Popular Single-Engine Planes

The Cessna 172 Skyhawk is another popular single-engine plane. It has a top speed of 150 knots or 186 mph, a service ceiling of 11,500 feet, and a range of 640 nautical miles.

It’s not very fast but it does have good maneuverability and is easy to handle. The Skyhawk comes equipped with dual controls which allow for a tandem flight.

The Beechcraft Bonanza has an impressive range of 940 nautical miles. It has a top cruise speed of 140 knots or 170 mph and a service ceiling that reaches up to 10,000 feet.

The Bonanza has excellent handling characteristics and is easier to land than other single-engine airplanes. It is also more stable at high speeds.

The Piper PA28 Cherokee is the fourth most popular single-engine plane in the world. It has a cruising speed of 115 knots or 145 mph, a service ceiling that reaches 12,000 feet, and a range that extends to 1,100 nautical miles.

The Cherokee is easy to operate and has a wide turning radius. It is also very comfortable to ride in.

The Cessna 152 has a range of 730 nautical miles. It is one of the fastest single-engine planes around. It has a top cruising speed of 130 knots or 160 mph. This model can be easily handled by most pilots.

Types Of Light Aircraft Engines

Aircraft engines produce thrust by burning fuel, releasing energy that pushes against the surrounding air. This creates a force that propels the plane forward.

In order to get the maximum amount of thrust from the engine, the pilot adjusts the throttle setting. As the throttle increases, the engine produces more power and generates more thrust.

The pilot also controls the direction in which the plane travels with the rudder pedals.

Piston Engine

Piston Engine

The most common type of engine for light aircraft is the piston engine. Piston engines work by compressing the air inside cylinders, which forces the pistons to push outwards.

When the compressed air is released, the pistons return to their original position, pushing the crankshaft in the opposite direction.

By adjusting the timing of this cycle, the engine can be made to run fast or slow. The speed of the engine determines how much power it will produce.

Turbine Engine

The other main type of engine is the turbine engine. Turbine engines work by using the heat generated by the combustion process to turn a turbine.

A turbine is a device that spins because of the pressure created by hot gasses. The spinning turbine pushes blades attached to it. As these blades spin, they create a force that drives the shaft connected to them.

How Many Hours Can A Single-Engine Plane Fly Without Refueling?

A small plane can fly nonstop for up to 21 hours without refueling if it is properly maintained and flown correctly. However, there are some factors that affect the amount of time you can expect your plane to last. These include:

  • Fuel quality – The fuel used on a plane affects how long it can fly before needing refueling. If the fuel contains too many impurities, it will burn faster and need to be replaced sooner.
  • Maintenance – The condition of the plane’s parts and systems affects how well it performs. For example, if the oil level is low, the engine may overheat and fail.
  • Pilot skill – The pilot’s ability to control the plane affects how long he/she can keep flying safely. Pilots who are inexperienced or lack confidence in themselves may crash the plane sooner.
  • Weather conditions – Windy weather can increase the drag on the plane and reduce its efficiency. Heavy rain can cause the wings to become heavy and difficult to move.
  • Other factors – The weight of passengers and cargo, the number of people on board, and the distance from the airport all affect how long the plane can stay aloft.

Are Single-Engine Planes Safe?

Single-engine planes are safe as long as the pilot follows the rules of flight. They are not designed to carry passengers or cargo, so they do not have the same safety requirements as commercial passenger jets.

In addition, they are not required to undergo the same rigorous inspections as large airplanes.

However, single-engine planes are still very dangerous. Even though they are smaller than larger planes, they weigh more and are harder to maneuver.

Because they only have one engine, they cannot use any of the advanced technology found in modern planes. This means that pilots must rely on old-fashioned instruments like gauges and dials to monitor the plane’s performance.

If a single-engine plane crashes, it has fewer chances of surviving than a larger airplane. It also has less room to absorb an impact, making it easier to break apart. This makes it harder for emergency crews to find survivors.

What Is The Best Way To Learn How To Fly A Single-Engine Plane?

The best way to learn how to fly a single-engine plane is to take lessons with a certified instructor. Certified instructors are trained to teach students everything they need to know about flying a single-engine plane.

They provide instructions on how to maintain the plane, how to perform preflight checks, and how to handle emergencies.

In addition, they help train new pilots by teaching them how to land and take off safely. Students should never attempt to fly solo until they have completed their training.


As you can see, there’s more than meets the eye when it comes to single-engine planes. We hope this article has been a helping hand in your understanding of these magnificent flying-through-sky machines. 

Whether you were simply curious and have no real intentions of getting up above the clouds in a single engine. Or, you’re toying with the idea of becoming a certified single-engine pilot, good luck and god’s speed!

Jacob Stern
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