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I have a quick question in regards to regional airlines.  I understand that many regional airlines fly some of the less popular routes and so many employ aircraft with turboprop and piston engines.  So my question is this: what is the typical cruise altitude for a commercially operated turboprop and/or piston type aircraft?

Any help that you can provide is greatly appreciated.

Best Regards,


In the last 5 to 10 years, almost every regional has gone to a regional jet fleet, so there are actually very few airlines that still fly them. The Embraer Brasilia, ATR 42 or Saab 340 used to be the mainstay of the regional fleet but that is no longer the case. In fact many regional airlines operate RJ's, like the Canadair 700 or 900, that now fly higher and faster than some mainline aircraft (MD80). I am not sure of anyone operating piston equipment except for Cape Air.

The typical cruise altitude is also not the maximum altitude the aircraft is certified to fly. On short short flights of 30-60 minutes turboprops often cruise between 10,000 to 20,000ft. For example, the max operating altitude on the Saab 340 was 25,000 feet due to certification requirements.  (That is the limitation without auto deploy oxygen masks.) However, 8,000 to 17,000 was our typical filed altitude range.

I suggest glancing over and look at the flights of specific types you are intetested in to see typical altitudes filed for a given flight plan-

D. Norkus  


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D. Norkus


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