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Home > Blog > Single Engine Vs Twin Engine Aeroplanes

Single engine vs Twin engine aeroplanes

Posted 23 Aug 2022

Single engine vs Twin engine aeroplanes

In order to help you make the right decision, this article lists the features of each type of aircraft, what are the licence requirements, as well as the pros and cons of each type of aeroplane.

For those who are new to the world of aviation, the different types of aeroplanes may feel a bit overwhelming! From microlights to light aircraft to jetliners, there are many different types of aeroplanes out there, and which one is best suited to you is highly dependent on what kind of pilot you wish to be.

While recreational pilots who enjoy a weekend cruise every now and then may prefer a certain type of aircraft, those who wish to fly an aeroplane for ease of travel may prefer another.

In order to understand which aeroplane is the one you need, you will need to make a list of what kind of flying you wish to do and what are your priorities when it comes to aircraft features. Are you looking for speed or a lightweight body? Are you searching for greater weight capacity or are you prioritising affordability? All these factors are important to consider before deciding which aeroplane is right for you.

Generally speaking, when it comes to recreational flying, there are two main categories of aircraft. These are single-engine aeroplanes and twin-engine aeroplanes.

The main difference between the two is rather self-explanatory, but this difference in engine quantity has many other effects on the aircraft’s features. It is important oy understand these differences to know which aeroplane is best suited to your needs.

In order to help you make the right decision, this article lists the features of each type of aircraft, what are the licence requirements, as well as the pros and cons of each type of aeroplane.



 Single-engine aeroplanes are the aircraft of choice for most beginners, and chances are your initial training will take place on one. There are many single-engine aeroplanes on Sherburn Aero Club’s fleet as well, such as the Piper PA 28 and the Cessna Skyhawk.

These aeroplanes are industry standard for training, and those who apply for their Private Pilot Licence (PPL) or Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL) are automatically qualified to fly single-engine aeroplanes. To get your Private Pilot Licence (PPL), you must complete at least 45 hours of training, ten out of which must be of solo flight, unaccompanied by a Certified Flight Instructor (CFI).

Alternatively, if you wish to apply for a Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL), you must have a total of 200 hours of flight time in your log book.



 Unlike single-engine aeroplanes, a Private Pilot Licence (PPL) or a Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL) do not automatically qualify the holder to fly a twin-engine aeroplane. In order to fly these aeroplanes, a pilot must undergo additional training and apply for a Multi-engine Piston Rating (MEP) on top of their existing pilot licence.

Flying a twin-engine aeroplane without an MEP rating is illegal, and pilots who violate this rule may have their licence revoked or even face prosecution and jail time.


Getting a Multi-Engine Piston Rating

Getting a Multi-engine Piston (MEP) rating is very simple, and training courses geared towards the MEP Rating are also offered by Sherburn Aero Club’s partner organisation, Advanced Flight Training.

According to the requirements of the Civil Aviation Authority of the United Kingdom, the applicant must have a total of 2.5 hours of dual instruction on a multi-engine aeroplane in normal conditions, as well as 3.5 hours of dual instruction in engine failure procedures and asymmetric flight techniques.

In addition to this, you must have at least 70 hours of flight time in command of a solo flight. The pilot must also pass a practical and theoretical exam in order to qualify for the rating, with the theoretical exam consisting of multiple-choice questions relating to multi-engine aeroplane operation.



There are many reasons why the single-engine aeroplane is the aircraft of choice for beginners and many recreational pilots in general. Here’s why this type of aircraft is the industry standard when it comes to training.



Compared to the twin-engine aeroplane, the single-engine aeroplane is much more affordable. The extra engine in the twin-engine aeroplane comes with an added cost that results in a rather hefty price tag.

Those who are just starting out in aviation and are looking to invest in an aeroplane will most likely gravitate towards the single-engine aeroplane due to its initial affordability and lower cost of upkeep and maintenance.

Two engines mean twice the servicing fee! Apart from students, recreational pilots who are only interested in flying as a hobby may want to opt for a simpler aircraft given its affordability and ease of maintenance.

Also, the single-engine does not require as much fuel as the dual-engine aeroplane. For those who prefer to fly a single-engine aeroplane, a significant amount of fuel is also saved.


Lighter in weight

 Not only is the single-engine aeroplane more affordable, but it is also much lighter in weight, which may result in a more enjoyable flying experience for some. This is especially true for those who are not interested in higher speeds and greater seating capacity.


Comparatively less intensive training

Since the single-engine aeroplane is relatively less complicated to fly, it requires a lower number of hours in training. As discussed previously, in order to fly a twin-engine aeroplane, a Multi-engine Piston (MEP) Rating is necessary.

This rating will require an additional six hours of training and there will also be an added cost of application and instruction, which will drive up the cost of the twin-engine aeroplane even more.



 While it may seem like the single-engine aeroplane is much better than the twin-engine, it really is all a matter of perspective. If power and performance are what you are after, then the twin-engine takes the top spot.

Here are all the reasons why a pilot may prefer to fly a twin-engine aeroplane over a single-engine one.



With an extra engine comes the added capacity to fly at greater speeds. Two engines provide more power than one, which means the aeroplane can fly much faster.

For pilots who are interested in flying for travel-related purposes and want to avoid the hassle of commercial flights, a twin-engine aeroplane may be the better option.

 The twin-engine aeroplane will be better equipped to fly you from one airport to the other in a shorter amount of time. For pilots who love the thrill of flying at faster speeds, this type of aeroplane will be much better suited to the purpose.


Can carry more weight

 The added power means the aeroplane can carry more weight than the single-engine aircraft. Due to this, the pilot can carry more cargo, which comes in handy if the pilot is flying over a long distance.

Also, there is room for more passengers in such an aeroplane as well, so the pilot can bring family along if they wish!


Better equipped for bad weather

 The fact that it is heavier and can handle more weight means it is relatively stable when compared to the single-engine aeroplane. The extra weight means it is not as easy for strong winds to knock the aeroplane about.

This will result in reduced turbulence, which is great news for relatively nervous flyers. The reduced turbulence and increased stability also mean that the aeroplane is comparatively more immune to wear and tear and weather-induced damage as opposed to the single-engine variety.


Regardless, an aeroplane should not be flown into bad weather on purpose and the pilot should avoid flying in unsuitable weather conditions that may damage the aircraft.



Which type of aeroplane is safer to fly is really a matter of experience and perspective. While some pilots will find that a twin-engine aeroplane is safer to fly given the fact that it has the ability to complete a flight even after one engine has failed, otters may cite the aeroplane's altered aerodynamics as a potential hazard in case of a single engine failure.

While it is true that the twin-engine aeroplane’s extra engine and sturdy build make it a reliable and safe option when flying, it is also true that it is more complicated to fly, and mastering the right technique may take time. 




Pilot experience and altered aerodynamics

One of the biggest factors that influence the decision over which type of aircraft is safer is the level of experience the pilot has.

For a beginner pilot who has not yet mastered the more complex controls and the altered aerodynamics involved in flying a twin-engine aeroplane on a single-engine in case of emergencies, the twin-engine aeroplane may pose more of a threat than the single-engine variety. When an engine fails in a twin-engine aircraft, the thrust of the operational engine may cause the pilot to lose control of the aircraft if they are not experienced in the correct way of handling such a situation.

On the other hand, if the pilot is well-trained and experienced and understands the physics involved as well as the correct way to manoeuvre an aeroplane in such a case, then the twin-engine aeroplane ranks higher when it comes to safety. 

When the engine on a single-engine aeroplane fails, the aeroplane transforms into a glider, and there is no way to complete the flight. Pilots must be experienced in making emergency landings in such situations. 


Flight preparation

Another factor that affects flight safety when flying either of the aircraft is how prepared the pilot is to handle emergencies. As discussed above, it comes down to which scenario the pilot is better equipped to deal with.

If a pilot has done their homework, practised on a simulator, and understands the aerodynamics involved in both types of aeroplanes, then there really isn’t too much to worry about. When comparing the two types of aeroplanes, the twin-engine requires more thorough pre-flight assessments. The pilot should understand how to balance the aircraft in case of emergencies.


Quick thinking

Out of the two aeroplanes, the twin-engine aeroplane normally demands a higher level of quick thinking and decision-making ability. When flying a single-engine aeroplane, pilots are constantly aware of possible areas where emergency landings can be made.

With a twin-engine aeroplane, not only are pilots on the lookout for possible landing locations, but they are also extra vigilant with regard to engine health.

This is because should one engine fail, the pilot will have to act very quickly to stabilise the aircraft and avoid having the aircraft spin out of control.

 While the twin-engine aeroplane is better equipped to handle bad weather and can continue flying in case of engine failure, it is true that a higher number of accidents occur on twin-engine aeroplanes due to the pilot losing control following the failure of one of the engines.



 In order to start your aviation journey, you will need access to a training facility and aircraft. Training is provided in many dedicated flight academies across the United Kingdom, as well as in flying clubs such as Sherburn Aero Club.

Not only do clubs like Sherburn has a fleet of well-maintained single-engine light aircraft, but they also provide members access to a community of aviation lovers who are as passionate about flying as them. Flying clubs allow pilots from different backgrounds, age groups, experience levels, and walks of life to come together and share their valuable experiences with each other.

For those who cannot or do not wish to purchase an aircraft share or privately own an aeroplane, flying clubs allow pilots to rent out aircraft on an hourly basis. Many clubs and academies also offer advanced training to pilots hoping to get their Multi-engine Piston (MEP) Rating.



 Sherburn Aero Club has been operational since 1964 and is the ideal place for all of your training and flying needs. We cater to brand new flyers who have just started their journey to the skies, as well as seasoned flyers who have been operating aircraft for decades.

With a large fleet of new aircraft and an airfield refurbishment with new runways, hangars, and an extended clubhouse, we cater to brand new flyers who have just started their journey to the skies, as well as seasoned flyers who have been operating aircraft for decades.

If you wish to begin your career in aviation or wish to take to the skies as a hobby, Sherburn’s flight training school offers private and commercial licenses, along with pilot medicals to ensure a smooth journey going forward.

Sherburn offers a dedicated day-long Flight Radiotelephony Operator’s Licence (FRTOL) course for those wishing to get the certification, running the first Sunday of every month.

The club also has a dedicated weather webcam that constantly monitors the meteorological conditions in the aerodrome to help pilots decide whether it's safe to take to the skies or not.

For those who wish to experience the thrill of a flight for fun or to help fuel their aviation dreams, Sherburn offers experience flights for the newbie, as well as the veteran. The flight experience option is also available for people who wish to take to the skies for special occasions, even if they aren’t into aviation in the long run.

Call us on 01977 682 674​​​, email us at flightdesk@sherburnaeroclub.com, or message us via our online contact form for more information on differences between single and multi-engine aeroplanes, as well as which type is best suited to your needs.

Photo by Cody Fitzgerald on Unsplash 



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