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How fast does a sports plane fly?

How fast does a sports plane fly? Blog

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The speed of a sport aircraft differs per type of aircraft. A Cessna 172 has a cruising speed of approximately 185 km/h (100 knots).

Cruise speed

The cruising speed is the speed at which the aircraft flies best. This is usually also the speed at which the aircraft covers the most miles with the least fuel.

The aircraft can often fly much slower or faster than that. For example, during take-off and landing, the speed is lower.

Ground speed and air speed

When people ask us what the speed is, they usually mean the ground speed. So at what speed relative to the ground the aircraft is flying.

When it comes to the performance of an aircraft, it is more logical to talk about the airspeed. The 100 knots mentioned is the speed relative to the air in which you are flying. That is equal to the ground speed when there is no wind. But if you have 20 knots of wind at your back, you fly at 120 knots (222 km/h). If you have 20 knots of wind against you, your ground speed is only 80 knots (148 km/h).

Knots or kilometres per hour

Most aircraft have speedometers which indicate the speed in knots. In the handbook, all speeds are in knots. Therefore, we calculate with these. One knot is equal to one sea mile per hour. That is 1.852 km per hour.

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About Eveline van den Boom

The author of this article is Eveline van den Boom. In 2006, she received her first flying lesson as a birthday present; a beautiful flight over Rotterdam. That tasted like more!

In 2010, she got her PPL licence in Lelystad. In 2011, an aircraft was purchased: an Aero AT-3. This aircraft is still flying in the fleet with callsign PH-EVB.

She wrote the theory books "Theory of Flying" and "Theory helicopter flying". These can be ordered with your flying lesson and are also separately for sale on

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