How is it to fly in a small plane compared to a big plane?

(CNN) — What is the difference between flying in a small plane and a large plane, apart from the price?

Many misconceptions and preconceptions abound. Some people swear they only get airsick on smaller planes, while others insist the onboard experience is more personalized.

These planes, manufactured by companies such as Cessna and Piper, can accommodate from 1 to 20 passengers.

They are used for private aviation, but not exclusively. Some smaller aircraft can operate commercially on short routes or perform tourist flights. An example is the tourist flights that use the Nazca Lines in Peru – most are operated on a 12-seat Cessna Grand Caravan, on which six people are lined up on each side of the plane to guarantee everyone a seat near the window.

Toni-Grace Bush, a flight instructor based in Brisbane, Australia, answers some of the most common questions about flying on these planes.

Are you more likely to get motion sickness on a small boat?

In short – yes.

“Motion sickness is significantly more prevalent in general aviation due to the fact that smaller craft experience far more air pockets,” Bush says. “[The] the small craft I fly over are below 5,000 feet, which is usually where many of the most volatile weather vectors can be.”

She lists several of the most common causes of nausea: heat, loud noises and turbulence. The last two are particularly common on small planes.

“It’s a lot more bumpy, and you feel the turbulence more, especially during takeoff and landing.” Bush compares it to sailing: “The faster the boat goes, the more it skims over the waves and the less turbulence it feels. It’s the same with airplanes.”

If you’re more prone to motion sickness, go ahead and take your remedy of choice before boarding – even if you don’t need it, better safe than sorry.

Bush has experience in aerobatics, so she knows how to deal with different levels of nausea. She offers these suggestions: “Make sure you’re well rested, have some food in your stomach but not too much, and make sure you’re hydrated.”

Is there more freedom in what you can bring on board?

Not really. Small planes have weight limits, so plan ahead and pack responsibly.

You must also follow the same rules as if you were flying on a bigger jet.

“Much of the legislation that airlines have to follow for what you can and can’t access is still relevant on small planes,” Bush said. For example, in his native Australia, travelers must be permitted to carry a firearm on any aircraft, regardless of size. Local laws still apply, so do your research first.

There are also weight limits on small planes. Travelers may need to step on the scale before boarding and have their luggage weighed as well.

“Travel as lightly as possible,” Bush advises. “If you have to travel with other personal effects, the pilot will have to sacrifice fuel to accommodate that.”

Why are small planes so noisy?

Small planes are noisy for the same reason that their passengers are more susceptible to turbulence: there is not as much space to absorb the force of the wind and the sound. Bush advises everyone on a small plane to have adequate hearing protection, especially children, whose ears are more sensitive.

Some planes provide earmuffs, but it’s never a bad idea to have yours on hand.

“Once you lose your hearing, you lose your hearing,” she warns. Ear damage can be permanent, so plan ahead.

Are small planes more dangerous?

It’s a common question, especially when attention is drawn to high-profile incidents involving public figures flying on private planes. But you should take a deep breath and try not to imagine the worst.

“There is always a risk of an accident/incident occurring, regardless of the size of the aircraft,” Bush explains. “While there are more variables – age (of the aircraft), condition of aircraft systems, pilot experience, weather – in general aviation aircraft that can lead to accidents/incidents in smaller aircraft…the aviation industry is required to maintain a high level of safety regardless of the size of the aircraft.”

In airplanes, like everywhere else, having knowledge and a sense of control will make you more comfortable.

According to data from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), there are at most a few dozen commercial aircraft accidents per year in the United States. Between 2010 and 2021, there have been a grand total of two fatalities aboard commercial watercraft.

Is it better to bring pets on smaller boats?

You’ve probably seen headlines about desperate people hiring private planes to ferry their pets out of places with strict quarantines and Covid lockdowns.

Both private and commercial aviation have their pros and cons in this department.

If you can afford to fly animals on smaller, specialized craft, it may be worth it just for your peace of mind – some premium airlines, like VistaJet, have specially trained crew members on board who know how to work with animals. and have taken pet CPR classes.

Both will require a good amount of paperwork, so you should keep up to date with vaccinations and health checks, and get a passport for your pet if necessary. (Yes, it’s a real thing.)

Ask your veterinarian for advice beforehand. Some private airlines have dedicated staff members who will guide you through the process – from documentation to boarding – within the cost of the ticket.

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