Are There Speed Limits for Aircraft?

Yes, there are lots! Below 10,000 feet above sea level (ASL), all aircraft are restricted to 250 knots (nautical miles per hour). A limit of 200 knots is required when aircraft are within 10 nautical miles of the airport and when they are less than 3,000 feet above the ground. Our speeds must be adhered to within 10 knots, especially when we are given instructions by air traffic control. The airplane itself also has many inherent speed limitations for flaps, landing gear and tires, to name a few. Even my windshield wipers can’t be operated when the aircraft speed is above 230 knots.

March 29, 2012
Portrait of Air Canada's Captain Doug Morris
Photo: Reynard Li

Doug Morris is an author, meteorologist, instructor and Air Canada captain on the Boeing 787.