Private jets fly higher than commercial flights and they can actually reach altitudes of more than 51,000 ft! However, most of them don’t usually operate nearly as high and usually fly at a height of 45,000ft, with most cruising at 41,000ft. Now, there are two questions that arise: How high does a private jet fly and how can they fly that high?
It’s common to think that the main reason behind this feature is related to comfort, but there are a few other ones. Today, we will break down the reasons why private jets are capable of this in comparison to other aircraft, as well as give you the full scoop behind it. In addition, we’ll also offer a few tips that will help you stay safe and comfortable during a flight, high in the sky. Let’s dive into it!
How High Does a Private Jet Fly
A private jet can fly as high as 51,000ft. However, that is not the usual height of a private jet trip. But how does a pilot know how high should he be flying? It depends on a variety of factors, even though there’s one that stands out – the distance of the route. As a rule of thumb, a pilot looks at the distance of his journey, in miles, crosses a 0, and multiplies by 1,000. We’ll give you a quick example: Imagine your trip is 100 miles. First, you take one 0 off, which makes it 10. Then, you multiply it by 1,000, equaling an optimal altitude of 10,000ft.
We’ve shown you how high a private jet flies, as well as how high it usually operates, but is there any difference between different aircraft? Yes! See below a graph with the most popular models and the highest they can fly:
Now, there are some commercial planes, like the Boeing 747-9 and the Airbus A380, that can fly higher than some private jets (43,100ft and 42,000ft respectively). Nevertheless, these private jets will usually cruise at heights close to their maximum altitude (41,000 ft, max), which is something very difficult for commercial planes to do.
How Can a Private Jet Fly That High?
Private jets have a lot of different features when compared to commercial jets, which ends up being one of the reasons why they are more exclusive, expensive, and able to provide a whole new flight experience. First of all, private jets were designed with high speed in mind and they were always a way to travel quicker, which means they have a higher power-to-weight ratio than other aircraft – this allows the jet to takeoff and reach a higher altitude, quicker and easier.
Adding to that, the private jet has a smaller cabin, easier to pressurize, which is quite a difference when talking about commercial planes’ cabins. Not to mention that they use turbofan engines with lower bypass ratios – these engines, in the thin air of higher altitudes? Pretty efficient!
Size and weight is another big factor. When a plane is full to the core, its power-to-weight ratio significantly decreases, making it difficult to quickly ascend and keep the speed. Plus, even when maintaining a higher altitude is possible, it’s pretty costly, in terms of maintenance costs. Private jets are smaller, shorter, and carry fewer passengers, which allows them to ascend faster and reach a cruising speed at higher altitudes.
Why Does a Private Jet Fly So High?
Now that we mentioned how can private jets reach and travel at such high altitudes, it’s time to understand some of the reasons on why they really do it.
Air traffic control is essential to avoid collisions, as well as to make sure all aircraft have a safe flight. However, for private jets, it’s not that necessary, as one of the main reasons they fly higher than regular aircraft is to be able to avoid everything that flies at a lower altitude that can disturb them, such as birds, helicopters, and smaller aircraft. Flying in the clear sky also allows private jet pilots to choose different routes, since there are hardly any other aircraft. They usually take this advantage and reach their destination faster.
The scariest part of flying is when an aircraft goes through some challenging weather, which can leave some of the passengers more on the edge, however, this changes with private jets. Altitude has an important role in the weather changes during a flight, as one minute all we see are blue skies and the next a thunderstorm. Luckily, when flying high as private jets do, the thin air at that height decreases the chances of finding bad weather, as well as high turbulence zones.
The higher the altitude, the lesser the air resistance. The lesser the air resistance, the higher the speed! Whereas a commercial plane has a cruise speed of about 500 mph, a private jet, at these heights, can reach an astonishing speed of 600 mph. Flying in these conditions ends up being more fuel efficient, as well.
Up We Go!
It’s official! As you can see, there are a lot of advantages to flying at higher altitudes, and even though private jets were already a great option, now they definitely take the prize! Flying can be both exciting and scary to some people, especially because of weather and turbulence, but when an aircraft reaches such a high altitude, it makes it all go away. We hope this article enlightened you about private jets and how high they can go.