Planes can take off between 58-180mph or 93-290 km/h, depending on the type of plane,  its weight, and its model.

Small planes have the lowest takeoff speeds, while fighter jets have the highest.

Taking off too slowly and too quickly are both dangerous for planes.

Some planes can also even take off vertically, but they’re rare. 

How Fast a Plane Goes to Take Off

A plane’s takeoff speed ranges from 58-180mph or 93.3-290 km/h.

The specific takeoff speed of a plane depends on its type, model, and weight.

Generally, small planes have the lowest takeoff speeds, followed by private jets and commercial planes.

Fighter jets have the highest takeoff speeds. 

Small Planes

Most small planes takeoff between 58-115mph or 93-185 km/h, depending on the plane’s weight and outside conditions.

For example, the very popular Cessna 172 takes off at around 69mph or 111 km/h on average. 

Private Jets

Private jets take off between 148-177 mph or 238-289km/h.

For example, the Gulfstream G500 takes off at around 148mph or 238km/h on average. 

Related: Are Private Jets Faster Than Commercial Planes?

Commercial Airliners

Commercial airliners generally take off between 160-180 mph or 258-290km/h.

For example, the popular Boeing 737 takes off at 150 mph or 241km/h, while the Boeing 747 takes off at 180mph or 290km/h.

The Airbus A320 takes off at 170mph or 274km/h.

Military Planes

A fighter jet takes off at an average speed of 1,200 mph or 1,931 km/h.

The F-16, for example, takes off at 1,319 mph or 2.123 km/h. 

A Plane Shouldn’t Take Off Too Quickly

If a plane takes off too quickly, it will potentially not use enough runway than is necessary to takeoff, and the pilot might lose control of the plane if it has tricycle landing gear.

The use of tricycle landing gear means the aircraft will have more weight and pressure on its front landing gear, potentially causing it to wheelbarrow out of control.

Nor Too Slowly

If a plane takes off too slowly, it will use too much runway and probably not get airborne.

The plane could also potentially crash into a building or obstacle if it doesn’t generate enough lift to take off. 

How Planes Take Off

A plane’s engines move the aircraft forward at high speeds.

The high-speed forward movement causes airflow over the wings, throwing the air down towards the ground, which generates a force called lift.

It is this lift that lets a plane climb and take off.

Takeoff Procedure

  1. Checks are performed on the aircraft to ensure onboard systems are operational, and any repairs are performed. 
  2. The plane is refueled for the next flight. 
  3. The flight crew performs boarding checks, a safety briefing is performed for passengers, and the pilots receive clearance for takeoff. 
  4. The pilot taxis the plane up to the start of the runway.
  5. The pilot accelerates the plane from stationary to sufficient airspeed to lift the plane. 

Some Planes Can Take Off Vertically

Very few planes can take off vertically, though there is a separate vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft category.

An example is a V-22 Osprey which uses rotating propellers like those of a helicopter to lift itself off the ground.

Non-VTOL aircraft typically can’t take off vertically, including all small, commercial, and private jets.

A fighter jet can vertically take off if it gains enough speed on a flat runway.

Most planes can’t vertically take off because their wings’ diameter is too large to provide the forward thrust needed when the plane is stationary to climb vertically. 

Speed Planes Cruise At

The exact cruise speed of a plane depends on its type, model, and weight, among other factors.

  • Commercial planes usually cruise between 547-575mph or 880-926km/h. For instance, the Boeing 747 cruises at 500mph or 805 km/h.
  • Small planes fly much slower, at between 140-358mph or 225-576km/h. 
  • Private jets can travel as slow as 400 mph or 644km/h and as high as 600mph or 966 km/h.
  • Fighter jets fly the fastest at speeds between 1,500 mph (2,414km/h) to 1,900mph (3,058km/h). The fastest fighter plane, the Soviet MiG-25, can theoretically fly up to 2,400mph or 3,662 km/h. 

Most planes cruise below their maximum speed to conserve fuel. 

Related: How Fast Do Planes Fly?

Speed Planes Land At

Most commercial planes have a landing speed of between 150-165 mph or 240-265 km/h.

Small planes have an average landing speed of 115 mph or 185km/h.

Fighter jets land at an average speed of 200 mph or 322 km/h. 

In conclusion:

  • A plane’s takeoff speed depends on its type, model, and weight.
  • Generally, fighter jets take off at the highest speeds, followed by private jets, while commercial and small planes take off at the lowest speeds.
  • It’s dangerous for planes to take off too slowly or too quickly.
  • Planes take off through a combination of their engines pushing them forward and their wings generating lift to take them off the ground. 

Helen Krasner holds a PPL(A), with 15 years experience flying fixed-wing aircraft; a PPL(H), with 13 years experience flying helicopters; and a CPL(H), Helicopter Instructor Rating, with 12 years working as a helicopter instructor.

Helen is an accomplished aviation writer with 12 years of experience, having authored several books and published numerous articles while also serving as the Editor of the BWPA (British Women Pilots Association) newsletter, with her excellent work having been recognized with her nomination of the “Aviation Journalist of the Year” award.

Helen has won the “Dawn to Dusk” International Flying Competition, along with the best all-female competitors, three times with her copilot.