Light aircraft

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With a maximum gross takeoff weight of 12,500 lbs, the de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter is an example of the upper limit of the category of light aircraft.
The Swearingen SA-226TC Metro II and the Metro III are visually almost identical. The Metro II (maximum takeoff weight 12,500 lbs) is a light aircraft but the heavier Metro III is not.
A Robinson R44 light helicopter
The Cessna 172 is not only the most popular light aircraft, but also the most produced aircraft of any kind.

A light aircraft is an aircraft that has a maximum gross takeoff weight of 12,500 lb (5,670 kg) or less.[1]

Many light aircraft are used commercially for passenger and freight transport, sightseeing, photography, and other similar roles as well as personal use.

Examples of light aircraft include:

Examples of aircraft that are at the maximum gross takeoff weight for this category include the de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter and Beechcraft B200 Super King Air.[2][3]


The many uses of light aircraft include aerial surveying, such as monitoring pipelines.[4] They are also used for light cargo operations, such as "feeding" cargo hubs,[5] as well as some passenger operations. Light aircraft are also used for marketing purposes, such as banner towing and skywriting. Primary flight instruction is also conducted in light aircraft. Finally, most personal aircraft are light aircraft, the most popular being the Cessna 172. Larger light aircraft, such as twin turboprops and very light jets are often used as business aircraft.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Crane, Dale: Dictionary of Aeronautical Terms, third edition, page 308. Aviation Supplies & Academics, 1997. ISBN 1-56027-287-2
  2. ^ Viking Air. "Twin Otter Series 400". Retrieved 20 December 2016. 
  3. ^ Jackson, Paul; Munson, Kenneth; Peacock, Lindsay. Jane's All the World's Aircraft. Jane's Information Group. ISBN 0-7106-2684-3. 
  4. ^ Collins, Mike (August 6, 2009). "Piper project honors pipeline patrols". Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. Retrieved 20 December 2016. 
  5. ^ "Mountain Air Cargo". Retrieved December 30, 2012.