How fast can airplanes go?

July 28, 2009 by QA-admin  
Filed under Q&A

On a charter airline flight, what is the average speed that planes travel at? I ask this question because my friend has a flight from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina to Toronto, Ontario and has an estimated time of 1/2 hr. While a flight from Toronto to Ottawa is around 25 minutes. These two trips have a very different length in distance yet generally the same travel time. Do planes travel slower when the distancene is less?

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One Comment on "How fast can airplanes go?"

  1. Katie on Tue, 28th Jul 2009 11:17 pm 

    Technically, they do if the distance is MUCH shorter (less than half an hour in a jet) because they cruise at a lower altitude, resulting in a lower ground speed than if they cruised higher (don’t ask how this works). However, a typical cruise speed in KIAS (Knots Indicated AirSpeed) would be around 290-300 kts, or around 345 MPH. But that’s the speed that the airplane is moving through the air. During a normal cruise, the airplane’s speed over the ground is much faster than its airspeed, around 500 kts, or 575 mph. But unless you’re going around Mach 2.4 (an impossibly fast speed for ANY passenger aircraft, even the Concorde), there’s no way you could get from Myrtle Beach to Toronto in half an hour. (By the way, 1 kt is 1.15 mph, or 1 nautical mile per hour.)
    And just an FYI for Hey Hey – the Boeing 737-800 cruises at Mach 0.77, the Concorde at Mach 2.04, and the Boeing 757-200 at Mach 0.80. So the speed varies.

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