Flight length

As flight distance is defined as the distance ( straight line ) between the start and landing field, which overcomes an aircraft during a flight. In this case, the actual distance flown, depending on the selection of the route to be much longer than the theoretical route: call waiting, flying around thunderstorms or control zones and the search of thermals necessary in gliding are not part of the actual route.

  • 2.1 gliding

Scheduled flights

For scheduled flights, the Commercial Aviation, a distinction between short, medium and long-haul flights, especially for long distances, the term ultra-long- haul flight is occasionally used. There is no internationally accepted definition that specifies from which number of kilometers flown a flight is classified as medium, long or ultra-long- haul flight. This is partly because the sense of the length of a segment depends on the geographical conditions. For example, " [ ... ] a short transport distance in the huge China in Western Europe as standard distance of a medium-haul or long-haul correspond [ ... ] ".

In the air passenger rights Regulation of the EU air routes are classified as follows:

  • Distances up to 1500 km
  • Distances over 1500 and 3500 kilometers
  • Distances over 3500 km

Other definitions refer to the duration of the flight with one, as the following example from the handbook of aviation shows:

  • Short Range: up to 1000 km and 2 h
  • Middle distance: up to 3000 miles and 3.5 hours
  • Long haul: about 3000 km and 3.5 h


Similar to the classification of routes, one can differentiate among the aircraft roughly between short-, medium - or long-haul aircraft. The choice of the aircraft for a flight, however, depends not only on the distance to be traveled distance, but also on the selected route (see eg Extended -range Twin -engine Operation Performance Standards ).


This small airplanes are used, such as the BAe 146 Fokker 100 or the Bombardier Canadair Regional Jet. These are fuel efficient, low maintenance and therefore perfectly suitable for short distances. They often have very few seats and are therefore not directly profitable. With the new plans of Lufthansa CityLine, for example, are only economical airplanes are used with a high number of seats; such an aircraft thinks you have with the new Bombardier CSeries found.


These aircraft usually only one gear and six seats per row in economy class. These aircraft are very popular with low cost airlines since they are universal and often very fuel efficient. Usually it is single-aisle aircraft. Widebody aircraft could not prevail over medium.


To achieve long-distance comfort in mind, widebody aircraft are usually used, which have two courses and therefore more space in general. Due to the increased number of seats so more passengers can be carried, so they are very profitable. Long-haul aircraft have a fuel dumping system to make an emergency landing in an emergency immediately to the majority. Here, a part of the fuel is discharged from the tank as the aircraft for long range have very high fuel capacity.

Ultra long haul

The ultra-long haul can ( also called the "World Liner" ) by very few types of aircraft such as the Airbus A340 -500 and Boeing 777- 200LR, will be flown. Singapore Airlines operates a few ultra long haul: Singapore Changi Airport ( SIN ) Los Angeles ( LAX) or Singapore Changi Airport ( SIN ) Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR ).

General Aviation

In the general aviation flight routes are planned individually depending on the purpose of each flight. The maximum flight distance is theoretically depends only on the range of the aircraft type used.

The actual route may here a few kilometers (eg scenic flights ) up to several thousand kilometers are ( when traveling on business aircraft, for example ). In the extreme case of a non-stop circumnavigation routes beyond 40,000 km could be achieved. An example of this is the record flight of Voyager, the back covered a distance of 40,212 km in December 1986.

Of greater relevance is the flight path for the training of pilots: Depending on the desired flight license must be carried out within the education cross-country flights with specified minimum flight. For the private pilot certificate, a cross-country flight must be completed in Germany, for example, of at least 270 km in the solo flight at the end of training.


When flying with gliders, paragliders, hang gliders or the pilot tried solely by the use of thermals, ie without motor assistance, to cover the largest possible route. Here are the start and destination airport are generally the same. While the determination of the route based on previously made ​​during the flight photos was previously festgelegegter turning points (landmarks ), is this today resorted to the records of the entrained logger.