Why do passenger planes fly so high?
Try 3 issues of BBC Science Focus Magazine for £5!
It may not help with a fear of heights, but soaring above the clouds makes for a smoother and more efficient journey.
Asked by: Katie Barker, Leamington Spa
There are lots of benefits to flying at an altitude of 11km. The air is thinner, producing less aerodynamic drag and thus reducing fuel consumption. It is also cold, around -55°C, which boosts the efficiency of the jet engines.
Plus, this part of the atmosphere – known as the stratosphere – is less turbulent, making for a smoother flight.
Subscribe to BBC Focus magazine for fascinating new Q&As every month and follow @sciencefocusQA on Twitter for your daily dose of fun science facts.
Robert is a science writer and visiting professor of science at Aston University.
May Half Price Sale
- Save up to 52% when you subscribe to BBC Science Focus Magazine.
- Risk - free offer! Cancel at any time when you subscribe via Direct Debit.
- FREE UK delivery.
- Stay up to date with the latest developments in the worlds of science and technology.