Airplane facts have a unique fascination that can really take your breath away. From their roots in kites and gliders to their important role in socio-economic growth and development, airplanes have revolutionized the way we travel. 

As we marvel over modern-day aircraft that can safetly trans-Atlantic cross in under 7 hours, here is a list of 16 fascinating airplane facts that will have you feeling wowed:

  1. The First Flight Was in 1799

The first ‘flying’ airplane was created off the drawing board of a British inventor named George Cayley. His surprise invention – a model glider called the Aviator – was the first attempt at actual manned flight. The Aviator was powered by Cayley’s own strength, with the airplane taking off from the ground and landing from a distance on a precarious cloth parachute.

  1. Airplanes Revolutionized Transport

The invention of the airplane wasn’t intended to revolutionize transport, but it turned out to be a game-changer. With the ability to transport passengers and goods faster than ever before, the airplane quickly became an invaluable asset for businesses and travel-lovers alike. The Wright brothers – ushers in the era of powered flight – set the record for the longest continuous airplane flight in 1905, covering 39 miles in 1 hour and 12 minutes.

  1. Pan American Airlines Flew First Airmail Delivery in 1927

While the Wright Brothers made the world turn to look at powered flight, pan American Airlines set another record in 1927 with the first-ever Airmail delivery on a passenger airplane. The new service revolutionized the transport of goods, providing faster delivery of goods, documents and messages. The record-breaking delivery flight was from Florida to Cuba, carrying a total of 34lbs of mail in its cargo.

  1. The Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet Is the Most-Produced Airplane Ever

The iconic Boeing 747 aircraft, also known as the Jumbo jet, is the most produced airplane ever. Popular with passengers, the 747 was the first aircraft of its size to be mass-produced, with over 1,500 of them rolling off the production line. The Jumbo jet can transport over 500 passengers and has a max cruise speed of 580mph, making it the ideal choice for long-distance flights and cargo transport.

  1. Aircraft Fly at 35,000 Feet

The average altitude of most commercial aircraft is 35,000 feet, which is often referred to as the cruising altitude. At this altitude, the air is thinner, leading to less friction and allowing the airplane to ‘slice’ through the air with ease. Cruising at 35,000 feet also allows planes to fly out of bad weather and into the clear skies for the most comfort for passengers and a safe passage.

  1. Most Aircraft Are Made Out of Aluminum

The majority of commercial aircraft are made from light-weight aluminum alloys, which possess both strength and flexibility. Aircraft made of aluminum are also faster and more efficient, as they require less energy to stay in the air.

  1. The Airbus A380 is the Largest Passenger Airplane

The gigantic Airbus A380 is the largest passenger aircraft currently in operation. With a wing-span of 262 feet and a length of 238 feet, the aircraft can seat up to 853 passengers in its two decks. It is a powerful feat of engineering and design, housing four engines capable of pushing the airplane to a max speed of 590mph.

  1. F-16 Fighting Falcon is the Fastest Military Jet

The F-16 Fighting Falcon is the fastest fighter jet ever built and can reach speeds up to 1,500mph. It is an important part of the US Air Force and pressurized to reduce drag, allowing the airplane to ascend to incredible speeds and heights, making it ideal for dogfighting.

  1. Some Aircrafts Break the Sound Barrier

The Concorde SST was the first airplane to travel at supersonic speeds and is capable of reaching mach 2.04 or higher. It was the world’s only supersonic passenger airplane until it was retired from service and can travel from London to New York in just 3 hours 20 minutes.

  1. NASA Has a ‘Flying Observatory’

NASA also boasts its own impressive stable of aircraft, including the specially adapted SOFIA airplane – the world’s largest flying observatory. The scientific aircraft has been modified to include a 2.7m telescope, allowing it to observe outer space while in the air.

  1. Gliders are the Oldest Type of Aircraft

Gliders are the oldest type of aircraft and are defined as unpowered vehicle that relies on rising air currents to enable flight. By using hills and thermals, glider pilots can stay aloft for long periods of time and travel great distances.

  1. Estonia Was the First Nation To Use All-Electric Airplanes

Estonia is the first nation to make all of its domestic flights with electric-powered airplanes. This groundbreaking achievement is the work of Estonian Air, who are now running the world’s first flight with a 2-seater electric plane from its home base in Tallinn.

  1. The Airbus A321 Has the Longest Flight Range

The Airbus A321 airplane can fly for a maximum of 8,700 miles, the longest for any single-aisle airplane currently in production. This considerable range makes it ideal for ultra-long haul flights, allowing it to link cities like London to Singapore with just one stop.

  1. Every Commercial Airplane is Tested Before It Takes Flight

Every commercial aircraft must undergo rigorous testing before it is permitted to fly its first flight. Its manufacturers must test many different parts of the airplane including engines, avionics and structures to check that it meets safety standards and works as expected.

  1. People Fly With Pet Animals

Airplanes also allow people to take their beloved four-legged friends with them on their travels. To keep pet animals safe and in compliance with airline regulations, a pet-friendly carrier must be used, with some airlines permitting larger container sizes than others.

  1. The Space Shuttle Used Airliners For Its Take-Offs

The iconic Space Shuttle was powered by three main rocket engines manufactured by NASA, but its take-offs began with an aircraft known as the C-141 Starlifter plane. This specially modified cargo plane transported the Space Shuttle to an altitude of more than 10,000 feet before the shuttle was released to blast into space.

We hope these 16 Fascinating Airplane Facts have taken your breath away. From world record-breaking flights to the space shuttle rocketing into the galaxies, airplanes are inseparable from the wonder and mystery of the skies.