Does Anyone Know Anything About Small Planes?

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joko | 18:32 Fri 05th Jun 2020 | How it Works
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writing a story and my characters are escaping in a small privately owned aircraft, however they've turned up with 5-6 extra people making 9 or 10 all together.

this is supposed to cause a problem with the aircraft, overloading it or something?

im trying to find out the situation with this -
would 5 extra people cause such an issue in a small plane?
do planes exist that can only have 4 passengers?

could you just put them onboard anyway - like just sit on the floor, and itd be ok or would it struggle to take off, or something?

the plane ultimately is going to crash land, but im not sure if to make this the reason it falters, but either way i want to make sure the stuff they say etc has some truth to it, rather than just make it up to suit the story

so can anyone help we with the issues they'd face here?



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Yes, planes do exist that can only take 4 passengers. There would not be room for 5 pax
Planes are built for any size from 1 upwards, usually, and for legal flying each passenger should have an allocated seat with harness. In your scenario the pilot ought to know the operating parameters of their plane but I`m sure there are many who would push that limit if the payment is big enough.
Or if he had a gun held to his head ?
What period is your story set in?
If it was 30/40/50's (or later) Google Auster and Lysander aircraft, see if they fit the bill.
All of the propellor-driven aircraft listed here are available for private hire
as are all the jets here

If you find a potentially suitable aircraft for your story, look up it's specifications on Wikipedia. e.g. a 4-seater Cessna 510 Mustang has an empty weight of 2540 kg and a maximum take-off weight of 3930 kg. That means that the maximum load it can handle is 1390 kg. However a full fuel tank (found from a bit of googling) will hold 770 kg of aviation fuel, reducing the residual payload to 620 kg. An average 20yo American man weighs 90 kg according to Google so, if you sit the excess passengers on the floor then (assuming a full tank of fuel), take-off won't be possible with more than about 7 people on the aircraft, one of whom will be the pilot. A half-full tank of fuel though will allow you to squeeze another 4 people in but that would obviously mean that the propsed flight in your story will need to be a fairly short one. (With a full fuel tank, at maximum take-off weight, that aircraft can fly 1343 miles, so a half-full tank will limit the proposed flight to around 670 miles. However no pilot is going to leave it that close with his/her calculations and he/she should always build an 'alternate' landing site into the plans, in case there's a problem at the proposed destination airport. So your proposed flight probably couldn't be longer than about 500 miles if you were using that aircraft).

Get your calculator out!

Question Author
Thanks everyone!

shoota, its present day, but i quite like the idea that this guy, this idiot, who has promised to provide a plane, as he has 'connections' and could only get a battered old vintage model - haha.

buen thats great info - the pilot can fly but is not yet qualified so he will be dubious but unsure of details, and kind of 'bullied' into it - i just wanted to make sure the stuff i said wasnt totally ludicrous.
maybe the pilot can lie and say he will get rid of some cargo, to shut everyone up, but actually not do it, as its valuable to him, and so the crash can happen.

it was just going to be a crash and just one of those things, a bad luck situation, but it being caused by human stupidity is always better haha.
Thanks, Joko.

Rembember that my sums don't make any allowance for luggage. If your passengers are carrying a few gold bars with them, you'll have to reduce the total number of passengers!

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