What happens if a plane flies too high?
Sci-Tech

What happens if a plane flies too high?

If an airliner flies too high, there can be problems. But also some economic advantages.

For airliners, hovering at excessive heights causes serious complications, compromising engine operation, among other things. In fact, once the threshold of 50,000 feet is exceeded (about 15 km, while the cruise flight height of an airplane with passengers is usually around 10 km), the air density drops too much, decreasing the so-called lift of the aircraft: in other words, the number of air molecules flowing on the wings, supporting it, would decrease dangerously, causing the plane to lose altitude and speed, which would enter the so-called stall, risking to fall.

NOT ONLY DISADVANTAGES. Furthermore, if an airplane travels at too high altitudes, the quantity of oxygen becomes increasingly scarce, causing the engines to suffer, which need air to work at their best. Despite these disadvantages, maintaining a height of around 34,000 feet (10 km) also has benefits for airliners. One above all: the fuel economy, due to the lower air resistance on the surface of the aircraft, which allows the aircraft to push more while consuming less.