If you speed when driving, you may get a speeding ticket. But can a pilot of an airplane be punished for speeding?
Are there any speed limits in the air?
In fact, there are speed limits in the air. For example, in the United States, an airplane must fly at a speed of no more than 250 knots (288 mph) below 10,000 feet (3 kilometers). This permissible limit drops to 200 knots (230 mph) when flying at or below 2,500 feet above the ground (about 914 meters) within 4 nautical miles from the primary airport of a Class C or Class D.
At altitudes higher than 10,000 feet, the velocity must not exceed the speed of sound. There are also speed limits for arrival procedures.
In Europe, limits depend on the type of aircraft. These limits let to avoid bird strikes or aircraft collisions. Besides these general limits, the pilot has to conform to exact restrictions made by air traffic controllers.
Can pilots get speeding tickets?
If a plane exceeds its maximum speed during takeoff or landing, it will receive a warning. The pilot would have to explain why he deviated from the regulations. Some motivations may be a legitimate excuse, such as an emergency situation on the flight.
Fines are rarely applied and speeding tickets are not issued, but a pilot’s license can be suspended or even revoked. That means that speeding can dramatically affect a pilot’s career.
For military pilots, the situation is different. In a certain sense, they are in a more ‘favorable’ position. In peaceful conditions, they usually adhere to the same civilian aircraft speed limits. But if they are flying in the military operations area, they are allowed to exceed standard limits, depending on the mission requirements.
You rarely need to fly faster than mandated by normal regulations when performing a ferry flight, or during any other non-emergency operation, even when you are on a jet fighter. But if this is an intercept mission, nobody will question your maximum velocity.
In the military, aircraft speeding tickets do not exist, too.
But at what speed do airplanes usually fly?
Airlines avoid operating at maximum speed as it would increase fuel expenses and the wear and tear of the engine.
Most often, commercial aircraft fly at a speed of between 475 and 500 knots (547-575 mph, or 880-925 km/h) when they fly at their cruising altitude, which is usually between 33,000 and 42,000 feet (10.0-12.8 kilometers).
This mode of flight is the most economical – planes do not waste fuel to achieve expensive incremental power gains, but for passengers, the trip experience still remains very good.
If you are a pilot, getting a speeding ticket is not a pleasant matter. Usually, there are no associated fines, but failing to adhere to requirements negatively impacts a pilot’s career. There are certain rules that must not be breached.
If you are a military jet fighter pilot flying on a mission, the velocity limit is somewhat more tied to the technical capabilities of your gear.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by PostX Digital and is published from a syndicated feed.)