Aircraft vs Aeroplane: Difference and Comparison

Human flight not only increased our capacity to travel, but it also improved our vision: we were able to see the Earth from above and endure its beauty.

There had been thousands of human flights, largely in balloons, before the Wrights’ historic breakthrough in the field of flying machines.

Aircraft and Aeroplane can be considered as a gift of the Wrights Brothers to humankind that has made the dream of human flight possible.

Key Takeaways

  1. An aircraft is any vehicle capable of flight, while an aeroplane is a specific type of aircraft with fixed wings and a propulsion system.
  2. Aircraft encompasses various vehicles, including helicopters, gliders, and balloons, while aeroplanes refer only to fixed-wing vehicles.
  3. Aeroplanes rely on engines for propulsion and lift, whereas other aircraft types may use different methods, such as rotors in helicopters.

Aircraft vs Aeroplane

The difference between Aircraft and Aeroplanes is that the concept of first Aircraft was given by Leonardo da Vinci in 1480’s whereas, the concept of Aeroplane was initiated by Samuel Langley in 1891.

Any machine that can fly is referred to as an Aircraft such as fighter jets, hot air balloons, helicopters, and even flying platforms all fall under the category of Aircraft.

On the other hand, an Aeroplane is a form of Aircraft with fixed wings that can fly for long periods and is heavier than air. 

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An Aircraft is any vehicle or machine that can fly with the help of the wind. To oppose gravity, it utilizes the static and dynamic lift, or sometimes, downward force from the engines. 

Aviation refers to the human activity that occurs in the vicinity of Aircraft and  Aeronautics is the science of aviation, which includes the design and construction of Aircraft.

An Aeroplane is a flying machine with fixed wings and propeller engines that move it forward through the air. Taking an Aeroplane is most usual when traveling vast distances.

There are many different sizes, shapes, and wing configurations of planes, a commercial Aeroplane is operated by a pilot with the assistance of a crew.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonAircraftAeroplane
ClassificationLighter than air, heavier than air, there are subcategories as wellLandplane, Seaplane and Amphibian
Definition Aircraft are any machines capable of flightA fixed-wing aircraft is an Aeroplane.
First flightNovember 21, 1783.December 17, 1903.
Discovered byGeorge CayleyOrville Wright and Wilbur Wright
ExamplesGliders, paramotors, hot air balloons, etc.Turboprop Aircraft, Piston Aircraft, Boeing, etc.

What is an Aircraft?

The term “Aircraft” refers to a wide variety of flying machines and objects. Kites, which have been flown by humans for thousands of years, are credited as being the earliest aircraft.

Humans produced hot air balloons as the next Aircraft, and the term Aircraft is now used to refer to both fixed-wing and rotary-wing powered flying machines, such as Aeroplanes and helicopters.

The lift is generated by the forward speed obtained by an engine, whereas a helicopter relies on forcing air down with the help of a rotator to obtain the required lift.

The human flight began more than 230 years ago, in the 1780s, when humans first took to the skies in balloons. Later, thrill-seekers in unpowered gliders pushed themselves into the air, but they couldn’t stay in the air for long.

The gas engine permitted for powered, controlled flight, and the first successful Aeroplane flight took place in 1903. By the 1950s, jets were transporting passengers across countries and large oceans in a matter of a few hours.

Aircraft has been classified into different categories based on their weight and power, they are as follows:

1) Lighter than air: Aircraft weight which is less than air displaces and flies as a result of its buoyancy.

2) Heavier than air: It means the weight of the Aircraft is more than air, it needs to obtain lift by aerodynamic measure.

3) Power-driven: It means the Aircraft needs an external device to displace it into the air.

4) Non-Power-driven: It means that the Aircraft will move on its own according to the direction of the wind.

aircraft 1

What is an Aeroplane?

The term “Aeroplane” refers to fixed-wing aircraft alone. This type of Aircraft goes forward in the air thanks to the thrust produced by a jet engine and, in some cases, a propeller.

As a result, only powered fixed-wing Aircraft are classified as Aeroplanes. Helicopters and other rotating-wing-powered Aircraft are not included in this definition of an Aeroplane.

An Aeroplane is a fixed-wing aircraft move forward by force from a jet engine, rotor, or rocket motor. Aeroplanes are used for a number of reasons, including amusement, transport of products and people, defense, and scientific exploration.

Each year, commercial aviation moves more than four billion passengers and cargo that is more than 200 billion tonne-kilometres. 

The majority of planes have a pilot inside, but some, like drones, are operated remotely with the help of a computers. Aeroplanes are divided into three categories based on their landing characteristics:

1) Amphibians:  These are Aeroplanes that can take off and land on both water and land.

2) Land Planes they can take off and land only on a solid surface like land.

3) Sea Planes: These are Aeroplanes that can take off and land only on sea.


Main Differences Between Aircraft and Aeroplane

1. Aircraft use Jet fuels and types of gasoline for its flight while Aeroplane uses aviation kerosene called as QAV – 1

2. All sorts of flying machines, such as kites, balloons, airships, aeroplanes, and helicopters, are classified as Aircraft. Aeroplane, on the other hand, only refers to fixed-wing Aircraft.

3. Any machine that can fly is referred to as an Aircraft. Whereas,  Aeroplane is a term reserved for fixed-wing powered aircraft; rotator-wing powered Aircraft, such as helicopters, are not included in the phrase.

4. A Boeing can be classified as both an Aircraft and an Aeroplane, whereas a helicopter is an Aircraft it is not considered as an Aeroplane.

5. Aircraft is high profile synonym for a flying machine, whereas Aeroplane is just an example of an Aircraft.

Difference Between Aircraft and Aeroplane

Last Updated : 13 July, 2023

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