Throughout your studies to become a pilot in the commercial airplane pilot or private pilot courses, you have probably learned about numerous aircraft models.
The mentioned models can feature a wide fuselage (wide-body), narrow fuselage (narrow-body), greater or smaller capacity, numerous engines and so on. In other words, there is a wide variety of aircraft types.
Whether you have completed flying hours in any type or not, let us provide a selection of some airplane types you can currently find on the aviation market.
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Commercial Aircraft Types
A commercial airplane is an aircraft that is generally dedicated to the transport of passengers with a capacity of about 70 to 500 passengers, used by airlines to transport people and their baggage as well as cargo in some cases.
Air Europa, Iberia, or Emirates are a few examples of airlines that fly these types of commercial aircraft.
Now that some broad context has been provided to you about commercial aircraft, here are some of the most popular models in today’s skies.
The American Boeing 737 was the most sold commercial airliner until the Airbus A320 took its spot. This is a narrowbody, dual engine, jet aircraft for short or medium-haul flights.
This type was responsible for bringing Boeing’s name ahead of its competitors for a very long time.
Por this same reason, the Boeing 737 is constantly evolving and is still being produced after many years. It is a great model for piloting and surely many student pilots and aviation enthusiasts dream of sitting behind the controls of the 737 at some point in their career. As mentioned, despite the passing of time, the 737 is still being produced and has been modernized over the years, some older variants are still flying today! Up to 10 variants have been designed by Boeing, amongst them are the following:
- -100 series
- -200 series
- Classic series (-300, -400, -500), characterized for having turbofan (CFM-56) engines instead of turbojets like the predecessors, a redesigned wing, and a cockpit with Electronic Flight Instrument Systems (EFIS).
Currently, the newer A320 models are among the airplanes that can fly the highest. It is one of the most flown types with over 13,000 units sold by the European manufacturer, Airbus.
The A320 is a turbofan-powered narrow-body aircraft capable of flying short and medium-haul routes, although Airbus is working on manufacturing a newer variant, the A321XLR, capable of flying long-haul routes. The A320 was originally developed by Airbus, a partnership between European aeronautical companies.
This aircraft can fly up to speeds of 470 knots (871km/h) and an average cruise speed of about 440 knots (820 km/h), being able to fly a range of 3,300 Nautical Miles (6,100 km) on a full load.
But how has it earned being at the top of the airliner market?
This type introduced the industry to a series of technological advancements that gave it a push to the top, and they are still doing so! Some of the mentioned improvements were the following:
- Other than the supersonic Concorde, the A320 was the first commercial aircraft to integrate a fly-by-wire digital control system.
- Replaced the classic yoke control wheel with a sidestick.
- Only two pilots were required to operate the aircraft, not needing a navigator or flight engineer in the back of the cockpit.
If you have not yet sat behind the controls of this aircraft, it is surely something you will want to do in the future.
The Boeing 777 is the bigger sibling of the 737, both manufactured in the United States by Boeing.
The “Triple Seven” is a turbofan, dual engine, long-range aircraft, the world’s biggest airliner with these characteristics.
Having first flown in 1994, this was the first aircraft to be certified with ETOPS (Extended-range Twin-engine Operation Performance Standards), allowing it to cross large oceans with just two engines. Specifically, ETOPS allows a twin-engine to fly those routes that require the aircraft to fly further than 60 minutes from a suitable alternate aerodrome. Newer models and types can also be certified to fly up to 180 minutes.
The 777 can hold up to 500 passengers with a range of around 8,500 Nautical Miles (15,800km), with Extended Rage variants providing even more range. The fuselage has the standard circular cross-section, but a feature that few aircraft have is the 777’s blade-shaped tail cone.
What’s new for 2023?
The aviation industry has not stopped, and is constantly working on improving all its aspects, creating new models and variants with improved efficiency and performance.
Having seen the advancements at Boeing, Airbus has not wanted to stay behind, and that is why they developed a new variant of the older A330 with more efficient engines and improved aerodynamics, the A330neo. This type provides airlines with an optimal efficiency and therefore economy to compete with the American manufacturer.
A380-800, the world’s biggest commercial airliner
The Airbus A380 is the biggest airplane that has ever been built for passenger transport, with a capacity of 853 passengers excluding its large crew and pilots. In addition to its large capacity, its two full-size decks and 4 huge engines are eye-catching and make this aircraft easy to recognize.
Boom XB-1, the new supersonic aircraft, the fastest in the world
Paving the way for the planned Boom Overture, the XB-1 prototype will be the world’s fastest commercial aircraft. Although it still has to take flight for the first time, Boom Technology aims to do so during 2023 or 2024. This, however, will not be the first commercial supersonic aircraft in history, as the Concorde already flew past the sound barrier in the late years of the 20th century up to 2003. In addition to this being the world’s fastest commercial aircraft, it will fly with net-zero carbon emissions. The future Boom Overture is expected to fly at Mach 1.7 (1.7 times the speed of sound), and the XB-1 prototype at Mach 2.2.
Private Airplane Models
Private jets, or business jets are aircraft that are generally smaller than commercial airplanes, designed to transport groups of businesspeople that travel for work.
Dassault Falcon 7x
This private, tri-engine jet is manufactured by the French company of Dassault Aviation.
This is a relatively large aircraft able to fit 16 passengers. The fact that it is equipped with three engines and a generous fuel capacity allows it to cover long distances at once.
Beechcraft King Air 350i
This is a twin-engine turboprop private aircraft. The structure and the landing gear are extremely strong elements that allow the aircraft to take off with a full load of passengers and fuel tanks from runways even shorter than 1,000 meters.
The DA42 is a light twin piston-engine aircraft powered by propellers.
The Diamond is the smallest of the three mentioned private airplanes, with a capacity of 4 people including the pilot. It is equipped with Garmin G1000 glass cockpit and Jet-A1 powered engines, offering excellent performance.
This aircraft is part of our fleet at European Flyers, which we use for the multi-engine training phase.
These are just a few of the aircraft you may find in the current aviation market. We hope to have made you want to fly one (or all) of these models!
Remember that if you are interested in becoming a private or commercial airplane pilot, you can visit our airplane pilot courses, we can help you.
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