Why Do Airplanes Need To Fly So HIGH?

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Why Do Airplanes Need To Fly So HIGH?
Most commercial airplanes cruise at an altitude of nearly 35,000 feet – around 6.62 miles in the air! If you think about it, that’s quite high, isn’t it? So, why do airplanes need to fy so high like this? Well, first of all, the height at which most planes fly is not some arbitrarily chosen number. There are very good reasons why planes fly so high in the sky.
Air resistance and fuel efficiency One of the main reasons commercial airplanes fly so high is air resistance. You see, the higher you go above the ground, the thinner the atmosphere becomes, and therefore, the less resistance there is on the flight of the plane. It’s pretty straightforward actually – the more air molecules the plane must move through, the more energy it will need, the more fuel it will need and consequently, the operating costs will be higher. Due to lower resistance at higher altitudes, commercial airplanes can keep going with minimal fuel expenditure. That’s why 35,000 feet is referred to as ‘cruising altitude’.
A balance between operating costs and fuel efficiency is achieved somewhere around 35,000 feet, which is why commercial airplanes usually fly at that attitude. Note that not all aircraft engines are equally fuel efficient when surrounded by thin air at that altitude; some engines actually perform better when they have thicker air around them.
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Why Do Airplanes Need To Fly So HIGH? uploaded in 2020-05-17 18:15:18 by Art-Science