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Why planes fly at an altitude of 11 meters


Nadezhda Verbitskaya

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You fasten your seat belt, listen to a pre-flight safety demonstration, and prepare for takeoff. A few moments later, the pilot gets in touch: “Ladies and gentlemen, we are now at an altitude of 11 meters.” It's time to relax and wait for the snack cart to arrive. But how many of us have ever wondered why planes fly so high? Typical altitude for most commercial aircraft is between 000 and 11 meters, or about six to almost eight miles above sea level. Travel and Leisure.

To put this into perspective, the peak of Mount Everest is 8 meters high. But that's why we have pressurized cabins: so you don't feel like you're trying to breathe on top of Everest.

According to UCAR's Center for Science Education, this region is called the lower stratosphere. It is located just above the troposphere, the lowest part of the atmosphere. Flying in the area has many advantages that make it one of the leading ways for travelers to get from one place to another.

Fuel economy

The biggest reason for this height lies in fuel efficiency. The rarefied air creates less drag on the aircraft. This means that the airliner can use less fuel to maintain speed. Less wind resistance, more power, less effort. Minimal fuel costs are beneficial to airlines for obvious reasons. However, keep in mind that aircraft engines also need oxygen to operate. They need this molecule to create combustion, which creates energy. Therefore, flying at too high an altitude can cause problems. Also, the higher the plane goes, the more fuel it has to burn to get there. Therefore, at certain heights there are some disadvantages.

On the subject: United Airlines threatens to stop flights from JFK

Helps avoid traffic and hazards

Yes, there is “movement” in the air. Flying higher means aircraft can avoid birds, drones, and light aircraft and helicopters that fly at lower altitudes. Depending on your mileage, the direction your plane is flying depends on how high it will climb. Planes flying to the east (including northeast and southeast) will fly at odd altitudes, while others will fly at even altitudes. Routes going in the same direction are often planned in such a way that the planes are 300 meters above each other to avoid collision.


Have you ever wondered why the view outside your plane window can be sunny one moment and rainy the next when landing at your destination airport? This is directly related to height. Most aircraft fly above the troposphere, where weather events usually occur.


Of course, turbulence sometimes happens. But you will be surprised to know that it happens much less often due to the high altitude of many commercial flights. When planes hit air pockets and strong winds blow, air traffic controllers can sometimes suggest different altitudes to avoid this. According to USA Today, flying at altitude can actually minimize turbulence.


Greater altitude can do one valuable gift to pilots when they are in the air. This time. If something happens that requires an emergency landing, the high altitude gives pilots much more time to correct the situation or find a safe place to land than if they were in a light aircraft and a lower altitude.

Different planes, different heights

Not all aircraft are designed to fly at the same altitude. According to Thrillist, the altitude of the aircraft is determined by its current weight and atmospheric conditions during the flight. The direction of the flight, the degree of turbulence (based on reports from other pilots in the air) and the duration of the flight are also factors.

Who determines the height

Although the pilots control the aircraft, they do not determine its altitude. Instead, air traffic controllers are responsible for planning and determining the aircraft's route, including altitude. They also track where the aircraft is in the air. According to an interview with Richard Taylor, there are laws that require aircraft not to fly "below 300 meters above populated area or 152 meters above any person, vehicle or structure."

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