promotion image of download ymail app

Which type of plane would need the least amount of runway?

Specifically, among low-wing monoplanes, high-wing monoplanes, and biplanes. This is assuming that they're all single-engined and as close to the same weight as possible.

To me, it seems that biplanes would need the least runway, since there are more lifting surfaces. If there's a problem with this assumption, please explain.


Can you believe that YA suggested posting this question in Reality Television?

Update 2:

Excluding helicopters and VTOL planes.

15 Answers

  • 9 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Biplanes are not as good. An example of a plane that is available in a low wing monoplane and biplane configurations is the Bowers Flybaby. The extra wing reduces its performance in every single category in spite of adding considerable wing area and minimal weight.

    High wings have a few advantages to low wings primarily because they can mount larger flaps because of greater ground clearance and the flat top of the fuselage is effective at producing lift because it is bounded on either side by the wings (the fuselage of a low wing produces lift as well, but is not as effective).

    Low wings can gain an advantage because they can take greater advantage of ground effect.

    But the position of the wings has very little to do with takeoff performance. Given the same wing area, wing loading, and aspect ratio, more important things that position is airfoil shape, high lift devices, and the amount of power installed.

    STOL planes tend to be almost universally high wing (except the very popular and successful AN-2 which is a biplane) simply because it makes easier to operate out of unimproved strips (less potential for damage to the wings), simplifies loading and unloading, is better on floats for docking, and provides better downward visibility for bush work like assessing strips, wildlife spotting, fire spotting, etc.

    High wing aircraft can also be made lighter far easier by using wing struts... struts which get in the way of loading passengers and cargo on low wing aircraft and thus are only found on a few low wing planes... primarily AG planes.

    • Commenter avatarLogin to reply the answers
  • John R
    Lv 7
    9 years ago

    The position of the wing does not matter.

    Most STOL planes have high wings because they are designed with the idea that they will be operated off of unimproved runways (or on floats) , and a high wing design keeps the wings clear of the scrub. It also makes it easier to load and unload cargo. It does NOT produce more lift than a low wing.

    Biplanes can have more wing area in a limited wing span, but they have a limited ability to utilize high lift devices on the top wing, including flaps and slats, because of the interference between the wings.

    • Commenter avatarLogin to reply the answers
  • Anonymous
    9 years ago

    A high wing monoplane will require the least runway. Biplanes are not as efficient as monoplanes, due to some interference with between the wings. A monoplane with L. E. slats and Fowler flaps with droop tips will get off quicker that any other configuration, short of rotary wing or vectored thrust systems.

    • Commenter avatarLogin to reply the answers
  • I'd say high wing mono planes, I don't scientifically know why, but I'd say they are the lightest, and the surface area thy creates lift and can dump lift quicker with flaps more than low wing or biplane. I know I took off in 120 feet with a Cessna 152 and landed in 280 feet.

    Source(s): Pilots license
    • Commenter avatarLogin to reply the answers
  • How do you think about the answers? You can sign in to vote the answer.
  • 9 years ago

    Well you can check videos from STOL contests were all the aircraft have been modified to need the least runway possible

    for example look at this

    Youtube thumbnail

    In the related videos you'll see more videos such as this

    You are right about biplanes having better STOL capabilities but a modified monoplane can do better

    So I guess what really matters is what modifications the plane has gone through

    • Commenter avatarLogin to reply the answers
  • Dan B
    Lv 7
    9 years ago

    It has to do with wing area. Some biplanes have short wings, but with double the wings, they have almost the same total wing area as a single wing monoplane.

    The Pitts special (bi-plane) has a wing span of 20 ft with a total wing area of 127 sq ft. The PA28-140 has a wing span of 33 ft with a wing area of 160 sq ft.

    It also has do do with engine power and the propeller. That can have a major impact on takeoff roll. There are also modifications that can be done to aircraft (leading edge slats, wing flap modifications, etc) to shorten the takeoff roll to almost STOL specifications.

    Aircraft are designed a specific wing loading (lbs per square foot). So generally, the takeoff length is almost teh same for all aircraft of the same design.

    • Commenter avatarLogin to reply the answers
  • Jeremy
    Lv 5
    9 years ago

    One thing i didnt see anyone say was the benefit of a low wing airplane due to ground effect.

    Usually an airplane with a high aspect ratio (long thin wing) would fly the slowest/take off at a slower speed. And in a decent engine with some vortex generators youd have a very fast takeoff.

    I believe aspect ratio is why the 152 does good compared to a piper. Pipers have short fat wings and cessnas are thinner.

    • Commenter avatarLogin to reply the answers
  • .
    Lv 4
    9 years ago

    the biplane would have smaller wings because the weight has to be the same, and the biplane would have additional non-lift producing structures that add weight too and reduce the possible wing size

    • Commenter avatarLogin to reply the answers
  • IN GENERAL, prop planes will have shorter takeoff distance than turbofan, and turbofan will be shorter than turbojet.

    Low wing designs will have a lower induced drag for a longer period of time (maybe a second), and therefore should have shorter takeoff roll.

    Climb propellers, or any high lift device (flaps for example) that changes the camber of the wing will add early lift and therefore shorten takeoff roll.

    • Commenter avatarLogin to reply the answers
  • Anonymous
    9 years ago

    opposite to what other answerers say, it DEPENDS if it's high wing or low wing.

    because in the low wing.. the fuselage acts like a spoiler, sorta. it simply is where a accelerated airflow should be. so, ANY wing [assuming same shape and size] WOULD produce more lift in high wing setup [disregarding the liftproducing fuselages like MiG29, Su27, F16]

    while the biplane produces more lift, it also produces more drag. even moreso, if it's the biplane of WWI design, with outside struts. [interference of the wings further reduces the benefit of two lifting surfaces]

    so, count on planes like Grasshopper, Fiesler Storch etc. to be your answer.

    however, other factors come into consideration.. the Extra or a Su30 would simply out-power the spotter planes. raw engine power RAWR

    • Commenter avatarLogin to reply the answers
Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.