What Is Aircraft?
Any vehicle that is built and made to fly in the air is called an aircraft, and there are various aircraft types and categories.
While the airplane is the most well-known, familiar, and popular type of aircraft that we know of, other aircraft that fly in the air also fall into this category.
They all have propellers and wings or machinery to move them through the air; however, they can vary according to size, type, usage, and more.
Classification of Aircrafts:
Before we delve into the aircraft classification and study the different types of aeroplane, let us understand how these aircraft are classified.
In most general terms, there are two types of classifications for aircraft. One is lighter than the aircraft, known as aerostats, and the other is heavier than the aircraft, known as aerodynes.
Aerostats (lighter than air): Aerostats are much lighter in weight than or airplanes.
These types of light aircraft typically use buoyancy, like ships, to help them float through the air.
Low-density gas such as hydrogen, heliums, or hot air balloons is used to fill the aircraft. This low-density gas is lighter than air, & hence the name.
The most common types of aerostats known to us are hot air balloons & sky lanterns.
Aerodyne (Heavier than Air): Alternatively, other aircraft, which are heavier than air or Aerodyne, as we understand it, is much greater in weight & size.
They push the gas or air downwards; Which reactions help in making the aircraft upwards? Since these move through motion in the air, they are called aerodyne.
This dynamic lift through the air can happen mostly through mechanisms, as you may already know.
- There is a fixed-wing classification, just like aircraft. In this class of fixed-wing aircraft, the entire mechanism is relied upon to create airflow over all wings at forwarding speed.
- Another mechanism is the rotorcraft, which uses rotating rotors like wings. Helicopters are the most commonly known aircraft under this classification.
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Types of Aircrafts:
Now that we are familiar with the aircraft categories and classification, let’s explore the different aircraft types and see a list of all aircraft with pictures.
An amphibious aircraft, also commonly known as an amphibious aircraft, is a multi-role aircraft that can operate, take off and land both on water and on land.
They have used both seaplanes or flying boats and airplanes.
In this aircraft, the engine is mounted either in front or even above the wing, commonly found in floatplanes; on the other hand, modern and other amphibious aircraft have the engine and propeller above the wings.
The size of the amphibians varies according to the purpose; There are military amphibious, leisure purpose seaplanes, and civilian amphibious aircraft.
Helicopter aircraft, also known as helicopters or one of the types of airplane, are commonly known to most of us and are related to rotorcraft.
The horizontally rotating rotors provide and assist in lifting and thrusting the helicopter.
These aircraft have the advantage of being carried vertically, horizontally, and flying both backward and forwards or laterally.
Unlike other fixed-wing aircraft, these have the advantage of taking off and landing in multiple locations and also taking off in congested areas.
The engine depends on the size, purpose, & function of the helicopter.
Today, helicopters are mostly used for military purposes, cargo, construction, rescue, tourism, aerial observation, and government.
So the size of the chopper mostly depends on the usage.
3. Multi-Engine Piston
As the name suggests, unlike other categories and types of aircraft, multiple or multi-engine piston aircraft have more than one single-engine.
This multi-engine piston is knowns to have a second powers source, which is very helpful during a second engine failure.
Due to this multiple power and engine feature, the aircraft’s quality, capability, speed, and climb rate are much higher than normal aircraft.
In most cases, such aircraft are used by air carriers for their services and duties.
Biplanes fall under the category of fixed-wing aircraft. In this category, two feathers fall one above the other on either side.
This type of aircraft is one of the first to discover fixed-wing aircraft. Biplanes have low weight but with excellent rigidity and efficiency.
Biplanes are equipped with reciprocating engines. In most cases, only two adults can do this.
In most cases, biplanes are sighted and used by the military of specific countries and for military purposes. These aircraft were among the most used aircraft during World War times.
Balloon-type aircraft are the standard aircraft that most of us are aware of and mostly see during tourist activities.
It belongs to a type of aircraft that floats in the sky and is very different from other airplanes and aircraft categories.
While most confuse them with airplanes, balloons are different in that they have no engines and cannot change their direction except up and down.
The top of the balloon is called an envelope, and the bottom is a basket where people can sit. The most common of the balloon category are hot air balloons.
Gliders, one of the kinds of aircraft, fall under the category of fixed-wing aircraft.
The types of glider planes used are made through the reaction of the air against lifting surfaces, and most do not use any engines.
Although smaller engines can be used as needed (in cases such as motor gliders), most glider aircraft are efficient for self-take without engines.
The wheeled undercarriage helps with take-off or landing. In the past, gliders were used for military purposes and wars; However, nowadays, we also see them in tourism activities & entertainment or leisure.
The most common types in these categories include hand gliders & paragliders. Most gliders are small in size & can fit a maximum of two people.
Gyroplanes, also known as autogyro or gyrocopter and one of the 5 types of aircraft, are a class of rotorcraft aircraft that use rotor machines for lifting.
They are similar to helicopters in appearance, although slightly narrower, and have an engine-driven propeller.
The airflow helps to lift the gyroplane upwards, and the rotor self-propels according to the airflow.
While gyroplanes or autogyros were mostly used for military and combat purposes during the 20th century, nowadays, they are seen in Olympic and police departments in some states.
Parachutes are the most common type that we often hear and see. They are slow-moving air-flowing craft that helps in drag on the ground.
They are made of a lightweight but stable and fitting fabric, such as nylon or silk. Most parachutes can be round, dome, or inverted dome shapes.
Although most parachutes are seen during leisure activities and recreation, they are also used by the state and operations during expeditions to ice regions such as the polar regions. Only one or two max can fit in a parachute.
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9. Single Engine Piston Aircraft
Like the multi-engine piston aircraft, we’ve seen that before. This aircraft uses only one engine. These aircraft are used for short-range operations and not for heavy tasks.
They can reach shorter runways, take up less space, and have less climb and speed. Most single-engine pistons can only fit four to six people, depending on the aircraft and size.
10. Tricycle Gear Aircraft
A tricycle gear aircraft is a type of aircraft with a tricycle fashion fixed landing gear. The arrangement has a nose wheel ahead and two more in the main wheels.
These are lightweight and known to have better ground visibility and are very easy to take on and off.
The aircraft has fairly low drag and allows full braking. Given the advantages of easy runs, they are used for light and quick use.
11. Business Jets
Business or private jet aircraft are considered one of the luxurious or unique aircraft for transporting and flying a small group of people, even individuals.
While they are expensive due to their design, plush appearance, and very sophisticated look, business jets are used by a wides variety of people – from government officials to the armed forces to companies for special operations and privately owned.
While speed, engines, and other construction are similar to airplanes, sizes vary from light or small jets to medium-sized jets to tall business jets.
Heavy, long jets can seat 16 to 18 people, while medium-sized depending on capacity can accommodate 12 or 10 people. Smaller types of commercial aircraft are only for four to six persons.
Taildraggers, also known as tail-wheel type gear draggers, has two main wheels in the front shape and a smaller wheel sized to skid near the tail area.
These are the traditional aircraft variety that uses such gear draggers instead of modern tricycle propeller aircraft.
These are very light size and weight aircraft and can be operated in skis as well.
However, their visibility on the ground is very low and difficult during heavy wind conditions.
Tiltrotors use powered motors for propulsion and to generate lift. These powered rotors, also called proprietors, are added to the rotating shaft of a fixed-wing.
These use a transverse rotor design and add to the vertical lift capability of a helicopter.
The rotors, similar to those of a helicopter, help lift this aircraft. However, propulsion is more efficient and can avoid retracting the blade stall commonly seen in helicopters.
The speed & range are heavier & higher than that of a typical helicopter and almost near those of a fixed-wing aircraft. The height capability of tiltrotors is higher than helicopters.
14. Light-Sport Aircraft
Light-sport aircraft, also known as LSAs, vary from country to country. However, they are in the new category of small and very light aircraft. They are very easy to fly.
Although they may be a bit heavy compared to ultralight aircraft, they are sophisticated, looking gorgeous. These are the two-seater version and are quite affordable too.
As the name suggests, turboprops or turboprops aircraft have gas turbine engines that are attached to gears to move the propeller through and around the air.
They burn very little fuel and have low operating costs. These types of turboprop are larger than piston aircraft and can carry more passengers. They also fly high and can reach a height of 35000 feet.
However, they are slowers in speed than jet planes. Turboprop sizes vary according to need and can fit a small group of people or up to eight or ten people.
Floatplanes are similar to seaplanes, which float on water by means of floats mounted under the fuselage.
These mounts are attached instead to the undercarriage, where the wheels are mounted in other planes.
They do not have landing gear, which makes it possible to land, thus making them similar to amphibious aircraft as seen earlier.
Seaplanes or floatplanes were heavily used for military operations during World War I; However, a joyous flight is now being witnessed in many countries.
17. Fighter jets
A fighter jet, also known as a fighter or fighter aircraft, is a military-specialized fixed-wing aircraft.
They are designed to be used only for air-to-air combat against other aircraft. They have very high speed, built for use only against airstrikes.
However, some fighters have a second capability to be used for ground attacks, in which case they are known as fighter-bombers.
Fighters have several categories: Light Fighter, Heavy Fighter, Interceptor, Night Fighter, All-Weather Fighter, and more.
With the help of technological advancements & breakthroughs, today’s fighters have many other capabilities and innovations such as data transmission, sensors, secure cockpit, high bandwidth, and much more.
18. Cargo Planes
A cargo aircraft or cargo plane is also known as a freight aircraft, airlifted, or cargo jet. These are fixed-wing classifications of aircraft known for carriage or cargo, rather than only individual passengers.
These cargoes are specially designed for lifting carriages only and do not have the facility to fit people or passengers.
They have wides doors and facilities to protect & provide shipment. Unlike normal passenger jets, the presence of high wings allows cargo to be protected and to sit near the ground. Cargo jets also have more wheels.
These cargo planes can be used for both civilian purposes as well as military use.
Considering the vast aircraft category list, most of us were not aware of how many types of aircraft are there around us.
We hope that this informative guide has helped you gain knowledge and awareness of the different types, classifications, and categories of aircraft.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Types of Aircrafts
- Multi-Engine Piston
- Single Engine Piston Aircraft
- Tricycle Gear Aircraft
- Business Jets
- Light-Sport Aircraft
- Fighter jets
- Cargo planes
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