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# Is there a speed limit for airplanes?

I was just wondering because just recently i traveled on an airplane and mid-flight it felt like the plane was coming to a stop just like in a car, but i'm guessing that the pilot was just slowing down. It kind of freaked me out but it also got me wondering, is there actually a speed limit?

• yup.

in canada it's 250 knots below 10,000 feet, 200 knots in the vicinity of an airport, and mach 1 everywhere else.

other countries are similar.

you may have operating procedures that affect this. in the cherokees i learned to fly in we would cruise at 115 to 125 mph, but school sops called for 100 mph when we were getting close to the airport. red line in the cherokee 140 is 171 mph, but anything over 130 mph isn't comfortable.
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• It's called a stall speed. All planes have one and all planes are different. When a plane reaches the stall speed to wing quits proving lift. What you felt was just the pilot reducing power and slowing down. In normal flight they never come anywhere close to the stall speed.
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• Yes, there ARE "Speed Limits" for airplanes. Over the Continental USA, airplanes can not fly faster than 250 miles per hour at altitudes below 10,000 feet, and they can't exceed Mach 1 (the speed of sound) over land. Other countries have similar rules.
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• Maximum speed for light airplanes is the "red line" on the airspeed indicator -
It is also called "Vne" - speed not to be exceeded -

Transport jet airplanes, instead, have a Vmo (maximum operating speed) -
And a Mmo (maximum operating Mach number) for high altitude operations -

Airspeed limits for airplanes can also be established by regulations -
Example = 200 knots near airports, and 250 knots below 10,000 feet -
Mach 1 is limiting speed over land in many countries - but not over oceans -
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• Aircraft do have a number of ''speed limits'' but only one is a limit as you would understand it like a road speed limit. That is a fairly much worldwide restriction of 250 knots below 10,000 feet, simply because that is where slower light aircraft fly and it is easier to keep fast jets and light aircraft apart if they are traveling at slower speeds.

Aircraft generally have structural limits on how fast they can go, it is called VNE and varies between aircraft. It is simply the speed beyond which the air resistance will have an adverse effect on the aircraft structure. It can simply be that it will overstress the airframe, or, more dangerously, that a control surface will start to flutter. You get into tiger country if you exceed VNE and can get bitten hard.

Fast and high aircraft have a different set of criteria. While they have a VNE in indicated airspeed, as they get higher their indicated airspeed goes down, but their Mach number, (the percentage of their true airspeed relative to the speed of sound), goes up. While they might be nowhere near VNE, they can reach ''critical mach', beyond which the airflow over some part of the airframe goes supersonic and creates destructive shock waves.

Exceed critical mach and you can find yourself in mid air, wearing only your underpants and wondering where your plane went to!

There are also structural speed limits regarding use of flaps, extension of the undercarriage and using full control deflections.

So yes, there is one limit mandated by law, and lots mandated by common sense
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• In addition to the above, there are times [esp during approach and departure] when IFR aircraft speed is provided by air traffic control.
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• No legal speed limit. Just a case that once you go over a certain speed the fuel burn rate goes way up.
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• § 91.117 Aircraft speed.
(a) Unless otherwise authorized by the Administrator, no person may operate an aircraft below 10,000 feet MSL at an indicated airspeed of more than 250 knots (288 m.p.h.).

(b) Unless otherwise authorized or required by ATC, no person may operate an aircraft at or below 2,500 feet above the surface within 4 nautical miles of the primary airport of a Class C or Class D airspace area at an indicated airspeed of more than 200 knots (230 mph.). This paragraph (b) does not apply to any operations within a Class B airspace area. Such operations shall comply with paragraph (a) of this section.

(c) No person may operate an aircraft in the airspace underlying a Class B airspace area designated for an airport or in a VFR corridor designated through such a Class B airspace area, at an indicated airspeed of more than 200 knots (230 mph).

(d) If the minimum safe airspeed for any particular operation is greater than the maximum speed prescribed in this section, the aircraft may be operated at that minimum speed.

§ 91.817

(a) No person may operate a civil aircraft in the United States at a true flight Mach number greater than 1 except in compliance with conditions and limitations in an authorization to exceed Mach 1 issued to the operator under appendix B of this part.

(b) In addition, no person may operate a civil aircraft for which the maximum operating limit speed MM0exceeds a Mach number of 1, to or from an airport in the United States, unless—

(1) Information available to the flight crew includes flight limitations that ensure that flights entering or leaving the United States will not cause a sonic boom to reach the surface within the United States; and

(2) The operator complies with the flight limitations prescribed in paragraph (b)(1) of this section or complies with conditions and limitations in an authorization to exceed Mach 1 issued under appendix B of this part.
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