How Fast Do Airplanes Fly?

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The Cessna Skyhawk, a single-engine plane, has a maximum cruising speed of 124 nautical miles per hour, which is just over 140 miles per hour ground speed. A Boeing 747 typically cruises at 567 miles per hour.

Commercial jetliners balance speed and fuel economy. Pilots use on-board computers to determine the best balance that allows the plane to arrive on time. When flying with a tail wind, they reduce the speed of the plane to increase fuel economy. However, when flying into a headwind, the pilot increases the speed to overcome the wind, sacrificing some of the potential economy. Because of time constraints, commercial jets rarely fly at long-range cruise, the most efficient speed for the plane.