High-Wing vs. Low-Wing Airplanes

There’s an ongoing debate over which type of airplane is better, high- or low-wing. I’ve flown both, and I think there’s no right answer, but below are some points for those trying to decide. I find it interesting that although Cessna’s high-wings have outsold all the other brands, almost all of the major makes (Piper, Beechcraft, Grumman, Mooney) are low-wing models.

High-Wing Advantages

  • Better view of the ground (good for sightseeing and photography)
  • Easier to get into and out of (like a car)
  • Usually better ventilation on the ground (windows open)
  • Wings provide shade and cover from rain while on the ground
  • Easier to tie down and drain fuel samples (no crawling)
  • Higher ground clearance for soft-field or emergency landing
  • Car fits under the wing in the hangar

Low-Wing Advantages

  • Better view above and to the sides
  • Wings don’t block view while turning (great in the pattern)
  • Wings don’t block GPS reception
  • No struts to ruin a photo
  • Easier to check and add fuel (no climbing or ladder needed)
  • Easier to handle in a strong crosswind
  • Easier to wash

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