Airplane engine

Ask the pilot: What is the difference between Regular Planes and propeller planes?

Who better to answer such questions than the pilots themselves.

September 2022
Even the most experienced travelers have many questions about the inner workings of airplanes. How do they react to weather conditions? How do they get washed? How do they land most safely? The experts with all the answers are, of course, the pilots.

“They travel more efficiently at lower speeds.”

Hi, I noticed on my ticket that we’ll be flying on a propeller plane. My question then is, what is the difference (besides the obvious) between regular planes and propeller planes?


Hi Aleksandra,

In your case, the propeller planes are turboprops. These planes have turbojet engines with a rotating propeller outside and they have more in common with the jet engines in large aircraft than with piston engines, which are commonly found in smaller aircraft.

Turboprop aircraft are mainly used for short-haul flights, typically up to 480km. The reason for this is that they travel more efficiently at lower speeds and consume less fuel over these distances. The maximum altitude, as well as the optimum cruising altitude, for turboprops is -lower than for jet airplanes such as Boeing and Airbus.

Turboprops are better suited for takeoffs and landings on shorter runways because they are lighter and able to operate at lower speeds. Not only that, the propellers provide extra drag, which can help slow the plane right down over a short distance. For these reasons they are more likely to be used when flying in and out of smaller airports.

Pernilla Nilsson
Senior First Officer

Pernilla Nilsson

Title: Senior First Officer
Home base: Copenhagen
Flies: A319, A320, A321
Flight hours: 13,500
Favorite airport: Most of the Norwegian airports. They can be very challenging in harsh weather but a beautiful day it’s unbeatable. The landscape is fantastic with the mountains and fjords. You’ll never get tired of this view.