4 Major Types of Aircraft in the World

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(Last Updated On: May 3, 2019)

4 Major Types of Aircraft in the World

Types of aircraft can be classified on the basis of size, Method of lift, Propulsion, etc. The following paragraphs are discussing the classification based on the method of lift.

In that classification, the size propulsion method and many other factors will be discussed.

Aerostats and aerodynes are two types of aircraft classified on the basis of the method of lift.

Aerostats are the type of aircraft which are lighter than air.

Aerodynes are heavier than air which works on the principle of aerodynamics and propulsion.

#1 Aerostats

The lighter aircraft than air actually float on air like a ship float on water. The key principle works here is the buoyancy. Mostly the aerostats are hot air balloons or airship filled with lighter gases like helium or hydrogen.
This was the forerunner technology of modern aircrafts these type of aircraft were first developed in China in the 3rd century BC.

Nowadays hot air balloons are now for recreational purposes and some time for weather studies. Apart from hot air balloons, airships were developed in the beginning years of flying technology.

Airships are large gas bags filled with light gases like hydrogen or helium, these gases are less dense than air. Some airship has engine and provision for payload and some have ‘Gondolas’ for carrying people.

#2 Aerodynes

Aerodynes are the type of aircraft heavier than air, this type of aircraft are widely used for many kinds of applications such as civil, logistics and Military aircraft, etc. This type of aircraft is again classified as fixed-wing aircraft and Rotor Crafts.

Aerodynes accrue thrust by aerodynamic lift or powered lift. Aerodynamic lift is accrue using the lift generating components like wings. Powered lift is produced using rotors, it pushes the air downward and lifts the aircraft.

#3 Fixed Wing Aircrafts

Fixed Wing type of aircraft made the flying technology more reliable and widely accessible to the public. When comparing to the aerostat counterpart it is the safer and controllable way to fly.

The normally fixed-wing aircraft is called an airplane it generates lift by using the aircraft’s forward airspeed. There are different types of fixed wing aircrafts such as an airplane, seaplane, gliders.

An airplane accrues lift by creating a forward force called thrust either by a propeller or by using a jet engine. The airplane is used for the transport of people or goods and it is used for military uses also.

This type of aircraft was first invented by the Wright brothers in 1903. The technology was rapidly developed during the First World War. After the First World War, the airplanes airline industry around the world developed rapidly and commercialization of the industry happened.

Another important type of fixed-wing aircraft is seaplanes. Seaplanes can take off and land on water. This types of aircraft can further be classified into seaplane and amphibians.

The normal seaplane has a pontoon for float instead of landing gear which a takeoff and land in the water surface. Amphibious aircraft can land and take off from both water surface and land. Canadair CL-215T is an example for amphibious aircraft which was the first firefighting flying boat.

#4 Rotor Craft

Rotorcrafts are another type of aircraft which are heavier than air. In this type of aircraft, the lift is achieved by rotatory motion of the rotor blades. This rotorcraft can be further divided into different types like Helicopter, Autogyro, Gyrodyne.

Helicopters are aircraft which are capable of vertical takeoff and landing because of this advantage helicopters are mostly used in adverse terrain conditions and it is an integral part of military and police forces around the world.

Autogyros have unpowered rotor which utilizes the aerodynamic for autorotation of its rotor and generates lift.