Altitude – one of the most important aircraft parameters. Depend on it, in particular speed and fuel consumption. Sometimes the choice of the height depends on the safety of the flight. For example, pilots have to change the height when a sudden change in weather conditions, because of the dense fog, dense cloud cover, the vast storm front or turbulent zone.

What should be the height of the flight
In contrast to the speed of the aircraft (when the sooner the better), altitude should be optimal. Moreover, each type of aircraft is their own. Nobody will come to compare the height at which you fly, for example, sports, passenger or multi-purpose combat aircraft. And yet there are some Champions.

The first altitude record flight was… three meters. It is at such a height first flew the airplane Wright Flyer brothers Wilbur and Orville Wright on 17 December 1903. After 74 years, on August 31, 1977 Soviet test pilot Alexander Fedotov on the MiG-25 set a world altitude record — 37650 meters. To date it remains the maximum altitude of the fighter.

At what altitude flying passenger planes
Aircraft of civil air lines on the right represent the largest group of modern aviation. According to the 2015 year, there were 21.6 thousand multi-seat flying, of which one third – 7.4 thousand is a large wide-body passenger Airliners.

In determining the optimum altitude (echelon) Manager or the crew chief are the following. As you know, the more altitude, the more rarefied air and the easier it is to fly the aircraft – so it makes sense to climb higher. However, the wings of the aircraft need support, but at extremely high altitude (e.g. in the stratosphere) it is clearly not enough, and the machine will “crash” and the engines to stall.

The conclusion is clear: the commander (and today on-Board computer) chooses the “Golden mean” – the perfect ratio of the friction force and lifting force. As a result, each type of passenger aircraft (subject to weather conditions, technical characteristics, duration and direction of flight) is its optimum height.

Why do airplanes fly at an altitude of 10,000 meters?
In General, the height of flight of civil aircraft in the range of from 10 to 12 thousand feet during a flight to the West, and from 9 to 11 thousand meters to the East. 12 thousand meters – maximum altitude for passenger aircraft, above which the engine starts to “choke” from lack of oxygen. Because of this, the altitude of 10,000 meters is considered the most optimal.

How high flying fighter jets
High-altitude fighter the criteria are somewhat different, owing to their purpose: depending on the tasks to carry out military actions have at different heights. The technical equipment of modern fighters allows them to operate in the range from several tens meters to tens kilometers.

However, the exorbitant heights of the fighters now “out of fashion”. And there is a good reason. Modern means of air defense missiles and fighter class “air-air” can destroy targets at any altitude. Therefore, the main problem for the fighter is too early to detect and destroy the enemy, and to remain unnoticed. The optimal height of the flight of fighter 5 th generation (ceiling) – 20000 meters.