Modern airplanes are
divided into five main types:
Commercial transport planes are large planes used for carrying passengers and sometimes cargo (also called airliners).
Four-engine jets are more powerful than most airliners. That’s because most airliners only travel 500 to 600 miles per hour or 805 to 966 kilometers per hour, and four-engine jets can travel faster and farther.
It can also carry six galleys (kitchens), twelve washrooms, and more than 47,000 gallons or 178,000 liters of fuel. In 1969, the Boeing 747 became the largest jet in the world. This airliner can fly 6,495 miles or 10,475 kilometers non-stop. That’s farther than the distance between New York City and Tokyo.
Four-engine jets are not the only kind of commercial transport planes. There are also three-engine jets and twin-engine jets.
As you probably can imagine, three-engine jets don’t travel as far as four-engine jets and need less runway to take-off and land. But some three-engine jets can carry as many passengers as four-engine jets.
Twin-engine jets are smaller than four or three-engine jets, but 90% of airliners today are twin-engine jets. Here’s a question for you:
Why do you think twin-engine jets are
used the most?
Now let’s learn a little bit about general aviation planes. Most general aviation planes have two to six seats, and one engine. General aviation planes are used for many purposes. Sometimes people use them to teach students how to fly a plane, or they are used to take pictures from a high-up view. Sometimes people use them for transportation, and sometimes people use them for enjoyment. Some farmers use them for planting seeds, checking soil erosion, and counting livestock.
Military planes, as you probably know, are planes used by the military. Most military planes are used to attack enemies on the ground or in the air. Some military planes are used to carry equipment and soldiers to bases or battlefields.
Sea planes are divided into three types:
planes have big floats instead of wheels. Flying boats are shaped like the
hull of a boat, so they can stay on the water. Amphibians are:
Special purpose planes are planes that have special purposes such as performing tricks in shows or spraying chemicals on crops. Some amphibians also have a special purpose. They are used for putting out forest fires. They fly just above the lakes and ponds and suck up water so they can later spray it on forest fires.
So, there are a lot of different types of airplanes, and as we have learned, it’s because there are a lot of different jobs for airplanes to do.
Dahnsen, Alan. Aircraft. London: Franklin Watts, 1978.
“Frequently Asked Questions.” Boeing: Jetliner Safety. December 14, 2004. <http://www.boeing.com/commercial/safety/pf/faq.html>.
“Horizontal Situation Indicator (HSI).” Aeronautics Learning Laboratory for Science, Technology, And Research. February 20, 2005. <http://www.allstar.fiu.edu/aero/HSI.htm>.
“Types Of Airplanes.” World Book Online Reference Center (American English). December 10, 2004. <http://www.worldbookonline.com/wb/Article?id=ar009700&st=Seaplanes&sc=-1>.