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High-Wing Versus Low-Wing Airplanes: What's the Difference?

Updated: May 15

Here at Axiom Aviation, a common question our CFI's get asked is, what is the difference between high-wing and low-wing airplanes? To properly answer this question, we must first examine history to grasp the basic origins of these airplane designs.

The Emergence of the Monoplane

In the early days of aviation, countless airplane designs were tested, many failed, but a few succeeded. One of the first successful airplane designs was that of the bi-plane. These planes incorporated a high and low wing. They did so because the materials used to create airplanes at the time were not strong enough to support the weight of an airplane's fuselage with wings long enough to generate sufficient lift. In other words, if the wings were too long, they would snap. On the other hand, short wings did not generate enough lift to sustain flight.