How Fast Do Planes Fly and What Are the Fastest Private Jets?

If you’ve ever been to an air show, you’ll know some military planes are very speedy. But how fast do they fly? How fast are airliners and private jets, and what do the speed units used for aircraft mean? We have the answers—and a list of the top five fastest private jets you can charter right now.

Units of Measurement for Plane Speed

We can talk about the ground speed of an aircraft (how quickly it moves relative to a fixed point on the ground). However, when an aircraft is in flight, the ground is moving below it and other factors come into play. That’s why we usually refer to a plane’s airspeed. Even this isn’t simple; there’s calibrated airspeed, indicated airspeed and true airspeed.

When discussing a plane’s capabilities, though, we usually refer to true airspeed (TAS)—the speed of an aircraft relative to the air it’s flying through. A plane’s speed is traditionally measured in knots (kt) and may also be written as KTAS: knots true airspeed.

How Fast Do Planes Fly in MPH? And What’s the Mach Number?

A knot is equivalent to one nautical mile per hour. That’s exactly 1.852 km/h, and equivalent to 1.1508 miles/h.

If you’re wondering about the Mach number, this is calculated by dividing the speed of an aircraft by the speed of sound. Speeds lower than Mach 1 are called subsonic, and speeds higher are called supersonic. If you’re travelling at Mach 1, you’re transonic. And if you’re travelling at hypersonic speeds (above Mach 5!) you’ll know you’re travelling on an experimental aircraft (or an alien spaceship!).

The Need for Speed: Military Aircraft

The experimental NASA/USAF X-15 is the fastest manned aircraft ever produced, and had a record top speed of Mach 6.72 or 4,520 miles/h. However, it wasn’t a fighter jet; it was designed to reach the edge of outer space.

The fastest fighter jet in military service right now is the MiG-25 Foxbat, capable of Mach 3.2 or 2,190 miles/h. Currently, it’s the only in-service aircraft capable of speeds over Mach 3.0.

How Fast Do Commercial Planes Fly?

Concorde made history as the first supersonic passenger plane in commercial operation. Between 1976 and 2003, it transported thousands of passengers around the globe at twice the speed of sound (Mach 2.04), However, supersonic airplanes are costly to build, maintain and operate, and there have been no supersonic passenger services since.

While the US airline United has plans to operate supersonic flights again in 2029 using Boom’s new Overture aircraft, current commercial planes fall firmly in the subsonic range. Most have cruising speeds of between 400-500 knots, which is around 460-580 mph.

The Fastest Private Jets in Service

Private jets can usually climb faster and fly higher than commercial airliners. This means less air traffic, less air resistance, and better flying conditions, as the planes can fly above most bad weather.

Here are the top five fastest private jets of 2022.

1. Cessna Citation X and Citation X+

Stealing the top spot are the highly popular Cessna Citation X and X+, which are superfast long-range medium business jets. The Citation X+ boasts a top speed of Mach 0.935 (536 kt, 993 km/h), which means it’s currently the fastest civil aircraft in the sky. It can cruise at up to 51,000 ft. Not far behind is the ‘base’ model, the Citation X, capable of speeds up to 528 kt or 978km/h. It broke numerous speed records on its release, winning the 1996 Robert J. Collier trophy for the greatest achievement in aeronautics or astronautics in America.

Both models are highly fuel-efficient and economical, and seat up to 9 passengers. They offer high-end travel with features such as a full galley and a heated, pressurized baggage compartment. This keeps precious or sensitive cargo safe, whatever the weather

2. Gulfstream G650

A superior environmental control system replenishes the cabin with high-pressure fresh air every two minutes, resulting in reduced tiredness. The Gulfstream G650 is a popular choice for private jet charters. This isn’t just because of its impressive speed (516 kt, 956km/h) or range (7,000 nautical miles). It also offers generous storage space and a spacious cabin, allowing for up to 16 seated passengers, although it’s typically configured for 13.

3. Gulfstream G500

Based on the popular Gulfstream IV, the G500 is a long-range jet with a maximum speed of 516 kt, 956km/h. This, combined with its range of 9,816 km and lavish amenities, makes it ideal for fast, comfortable intercontinental flights. It easily accommodates 14 to 16 seated passengers in its spacious, luxurious cabin. Configurations include a forward or an aft galley and an aft stateroom.

4. Dassault Falcon 7X

The Dassault Falcon 7X is viewed as the ideal ‘office in the sky’ due to its noise-reducing design, many luxury touches, and range of business amenities. That means that its maximum speed of 515 kt or 954km/h may get to your destination more quickly than you would like!

The Falcon 7X has an impressive range of 5,950 nautical miles. It’s also known for its high safety and performance standards, and spacious interior. The generous cabin can accommodate up to 15 passengers and offers private  lavatories, three customizable areas and a full-size galley.

5. Bombardier Global 6000

The Bombardier Global 6000 is an ultra-long-range business jet with a maximum speed of 513 kt, 950km/h. With an impressive range of 5960 nautical miles and the largest cabin of its class, it provides a fast and comfortable flight to long-haul destinations. It can seat up to 16 passengers and offers multiple configurations, including options for a private stateroom. With generous baggage space and wi-fi as standard, it’s the ideal aircraft for longer flights, whether they’re for business or leisure.

Charter One of Our Fastest Private Jets Today!

Here at Paramount Business Jets, we know how important it is that you get to your destination quickly. That’s why we ensure you have access to some of the fastest private jets available.

To choose an aircraft for your charter, visit our Private Jets and Aircraft for Charter Flights page before requesting a quote. Need advice first? Then just call us on +1-877-727-2538 ext. 1 or email us at charter@paramountbusinessjets.com. We’ll be happy to help.