Why Aircrafts Always Fly So High

In our memories, the aircraft always fly so high. Not only for a kid stand on the ground looking up, but also for a passanger sit inside aircraft looking down, their feeling is the same – aircraft is flying so high. So here someone would ask this question: Why the aircraft have to fly so high? It seems much easier to fly at a lower altitude and passangers will feel better as cabins don’t need to be pressurized inside the aircraft. They can also enjoy the ground views more conveniently and clearly.

A simple answer for this question – It will allow aircraft to use less jet fuel, increase engine service time and fly faster & more efficiently due to the lower resistance and stratosphere when flying at high altitude.

So anything else? This blog will tell you more!

What is the accurate altitude plane fly?

It depends on the type of plane – commerical airplane or personal aircraft.
For commercial airplane, its cruising altitude is roughly 33,000 to 42,000 feet; regular flying altitude usually around 35,000 to 36,000 feet off the ground. It needs at least 10 minutes to climb to this altitude after taking off, and pilot also need 30 – 45 minutes to start lowering altitude before landing.

For personal aircraft, much smaller than commercial airplanes, its flying height only 10,000 to 15,000 feet. These small aircrafts are not able to fly higher as they don’t have pressurized cabins and powerful engines.

Why aircraft fly more efficiently in a higher altitude?

In high altitude sky, the air is much thinner than it is on the ground. Thinner air means less resistance!
Less resistance means less work time for the engines and less fuel burinng! IT SAVE MONEY!
Other atmospheric conditions to increase engine service life is its cold temperature – several dozens degrees below freezing, it also helps engine work more efficiently as it prevents it from overheating.

Another reason for aircraft fly more efficiently at higher altitude is to avoid common obstacles.
One of the biggest risk is bird – yes it is bird. You’d be surprised as it seems the high sky should be free of obstacles, and the bird is really a small potato when comparing with the huge size heavy duty airplanes. But the fact is bird is a rare but frequently dangerous obstacle, it is a headache thing for most pilots when they taking off or landing the aircraft.
Another obstacle is terrible weather, if driving aircraft through strom form air clouds, it could damage the aircraft body and bring terrible feeling to passangers. The best way is fly at a higher altitude to avoid these clouds, which normally formed at a lower altitude.
Finally, be careful for those high mountains – such as the Himalayas which over 24,000 feet tall, pilots have to keep enough space higher than this altitude to avoide any sudden emergency crashing into the unexpected obstacle.

Could aircraft fly any higher ?

Nowadays, we regard 42,000 feet as the upper boundary of aviation cruising sweet spot.
It requires much stronger power to fly higher while it doesn’t support any extra efficiency – it is too heavy to fly at an altitude higher than 42,000 feet for most aircrafts. It is also not safe for passanger to stay at altitude higher than 42,000 feet due to cabin pressure dropping issue, etc. So aircraft can fly high, but it also has to fly in its range of altitude! For efficiency, and safety!

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