How Heavy Is A Plane?

Last Updated on May 22, 2020

Do you ever stop to reflect on how monumentally staggering it is that a bunch of hairless apes like us figured out how to take to the sky?

That we can fly at all is unbelievable, but to be able to send an enormous hunk of heavy metal into the sky seems almost like magic.

We take it for granted, but surely, it would seem supernatural to our ancestors. If our ancient hunter-gatherer forebearers ever came across a plane they wouldn’t know what it was but they would know for sure it was something really hard to pick up!

So how heavy is a plane? This post answers the question of airplane weight.

How Heavy Is a Small Plane?

Planes come in lots of different sizes.

The world’s first successfully flown heavier-than-air powered aircraft was designed and built by the Wright brothers, and it took to the air four times on December 17, 1903.

The Wright Flyer, as it was known, had an empty weight of only 605 lbs (274 kg) and had a maximum takeoff weight of 745 lb (338 kg).

So the Wright Flyer weighed around the same as 2287 bananas!

If each banana emoji represents 100 bananas it would look something like this.


The Wright Flyer also weighed the same as about 3 newborn baby elephants!

How Much Does A Modern Passenger Airliner Weigh?

Airplanes come in all sorts of shapes and sizes and their weight varies a great deal from model to model.

The two most common airlines in operation today are the Boeing 737 and the Airbus A320.

When you imagine a passenger jet you are probably picturing one of these.

So rather than list all the airplane weights we’ll focus on these 2 aircraft.

How Much Does a 737 Weigh?

The Boeing 737-800 aircraft is the most popular model of 737 in the skies today.

It has a maximum take-off weight of 79,002 kg (174,170lb).

And the maximum landing weight is 66,349 Kg (146,275lb).

Huh… why are these numbers different?

The total weight of a plane depends on the fuel weight, passengers, and cargo luggage it is carrying!

A plane is very heavy, the Boeing 737-800 is around 55,202Kg (121,700lb) with an empty fuel tank.

The operating empty weight of a Boeing 737-800 is 41,145kg (90,710lb).

That’s around the same weight as 342878 bananas. If you’re just learning to count and don’t have enough fingers let’s just say a 737 jet is really really heavy!

It’s the same weight as about 150 Wright Flyers. Or 450 newborn baby elephants.

















Or 7 full-size African bush elephants.


How Much Does an Airbus A320 Jet Weigh?

The Airbus A320 family of aircraft are the most popular aircraft in use. There are 4 types the A318, A319, A320 and the A321. The A318 and A319 are shorter versions and the A321 is a longer version.

The maximum takeoff weight of an A320 is 78,000 kg (172,000 lb) so you can see it’s very similar to the 737.

The maximum landing weight is 66,000 kg (146,000 lb).

The maximum zero fuel weight is 62,500 kg (137,800 lb).

And the operating empty weight of an A320 is 42,600 kg (93,900 lb).

And the A320 weighs around the same as 354935 bananas.

Once all the passengers are on board, and the flight attendants and pilots, the luggage, and a full tank of fuel, the A320 weighs something like 13 full-size African elephants!

The Verdict

So we can see that both the Airbus A320 and the Boeing 737 airliners have similar weights with the 737 being only a little lighter.

Planes are very heavy compared to everyday objects, but with enough jet fuel and the right amount of lift… woosh you are up in the sky and away!

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