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A Overview of the Different Kinds of Jet Planes

written by: Tim Plaehn•edited by: Jason C. Chavis•updated: 7/19/2010

What kind of jet airplanes are there? The answer provides a picture of how important jet aircraft are in the modern world.

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    Selecting the Kinds of Jet Airplanes

    T-38 Talon The invention of the jet engine in the 1930's allowed a new type of airplane that could fly much faster than propeller driven aircraft. Eventually jet airplanes would break the sound barrier and travel up to 2,000 mph. When asking what kinds of jet airplanes are there, the answer concerning jet aircraft can be broken down into several different categories.

    The different kinds of jet airplanes can be broadly dividend into those designed for commercial use and military jets. For a look at which are the fastest jets ever built, check out this article.

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    Kinds of Commercial Jets Airplanes

    Commercial jets are used by airlines and businesses to transport passengers, executives and cargo. Here is a description of the different kinds of commercial jets.

    Airliners: The jet age for passenger airliners started with the first flight of the Boeing 707 in 1954. The 707 soon had competition from the Douglas DC-8 and airline passengers have been flying in jets ever since. Today, Boeing and Airbus are the two major manufacturers of jet airliners. Air passengers travel in Boeing 737, 747, 757 and 767 aircraft. The European company Airbus has become a serious competitor to Boeing with their A320, A330 and A340 aircraft.

    Business Jets: Business jet airplanes are small to medium size jets that allow executives and those rich enough to afford one the ability to fly almost anywhere at 600 mph. Well-known business and corporate jet manufacturers are Cessna with their Citation line, Dassault with their range of Falcons, Gulfstream and Leer. A growing trend is the production of very light jets--VLJs--or small, relatively affordable personal jet airplanes.FedEX Cargo Jet 

    Cargo Jets: Cargo jets transport everything from the Fedex envelope you received today to Texas horses on their way to Argentina. Many passenger airliners are converted to cargo duty when they get replaced by newer models in an airlines fleet. The large number of available Boeing 737s and the large capacity of the B747 have made them popular for cargo jet duty.

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    Kinds of Military Jet Airplanes

    Jet airplanes have been used by the militaries of the world since World War II. Jets are essential to the function and war making capability of the military. Here are the major types of jets used by the military:

    F-16 Fighting Falcon Fighter and Attack Jets: Fighter jets are the glamour players in the world of jet airplanes. Fighters like the F-15 Eagle, F-16 Falcon, F/A-18 Hornet and F-22 Raptor rule the skies in air combat and fly deep into enemy territory to drop a load of bombs. Modern jet fighters are high technology airplanes that can fly at supersonic speeds and perform tremendous maneuvers. This type of jet airplanes include attack aircraft like the A-10 Thunderbolt and the F-117 Nighthawk stealth jet.

    Bomber Jets: To some extent, bombers are a relic of the Cold War. The B-52, B-1B and B-2 stealth bomber can deliver a payload of nuclear weapons anywhere in the world.

    Cargo/Transport Jets: The military cargo and transport jet airplanes must be able to haul supplies, large pieces of military equipment and troops anywhere in the world. The current transport jet airplanes used by the U.S. military are the C-17 Globemaster, C-5 Globemaster and C-141 Starlifter. These jet transport airplanes can be spotted by their high wings, four engines and large rear cargo doors/ramps.

    Specialty Jets: The military purchases some jet airplanes for specific purposes and missions. The U-2 and SR-71 are spy/reconnassaince jet airplanes. The T-38 and T-45 are jet pilot trainers used by the U.S. Air Force and Navy. Experimental jet aircraft are built to test the technology that will go into the next generation of military jets.

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    Resources

    Airliners.net: http://www.airliners.net/aircraft-data/

    The Airplane Channel: http://www.airplanes.com/aircraft/military/

    What is a Very Light Jet? http://www.microlightjets.com/

    Wired: Boeing 707 Makes 1st Flight: http://www.wired.com/thisdayintech/2010/07/0715boeing-707-test-flight

    Photo Credits:

    White and Purple FedEX by Ack Ook

    T-38 Talon by Rennett Stowe

    F-16 Fighting Falcon DoD photo by Senior Airman Jonathan Snyder, U.S. Air Force