We’re all familiar with the ever-famous Boeing 737, but what are the most common commercial planes? When were they first built, and how many are still in use?
Commercial planes vary based on size, engine, power, and passenger and baggage capacity. Some of the most common commercial planes include the Douglas DC-3, Boeing 737, Airbus A320, Bombardier Canadair Regional Jet, and Boeing 727.
Commercial planes are a marvel of human engineering. Think about it. A massive chunk of metal flying through the air at breakneck speeds, all the while providing its passengers with a comfortable experience. It boggles the mind!
If you wish to know more about commercial planes, you've come to the right place. Our vast experience in the aviation industry and years of traveling to hundreds of destinations has allowed us to compile this list of the most common commercial planes that you're likely to see at any airport.
The DC-3 is an aircraft that is probably older than most people alive today. It was first introduced in 1936 and has since become the most widely produced plane in history. Companies such as Trans World Airlines (TWA), American Airlines and Delta Air Lines built and flew about 600 civil variations of the DC-3.
C.R. Smith, the chairman of American Airlines, insisted on starting the conceptual design in 1934. The Douglas Sleeper Transport, often known as Skysleepers by airline clients, was the first DC-3 manufactured, and it was the pinnacle of grandeur. Seven beds could be created by folding fourteen luxurious seats in pairs in four major compartments, with seven more beds folded from the cabin roof.
Nevertheless, when World War II broke out in 1939, the Douglas DC-3's production was at its peak. Over 10,000 US military variants were constructed during the war. Numerous countries' military services utilized them to carry troops and transport cargo and medical supplies. These aircraft were given a variety of designations, including the C-47, C-53, and Dakota, but at their core, they were Douglas DC-3s.
Moreover, Japan and the Soviet Union created their own versions of the aircraft. Even though production stopped in 1950, it is estimated that roughly 400 are still in use today and are loved by many enthusiasts.
All in all, the Douglas DC-3, popularized air travel and allowed airlines to profit, and it is often regarded as the greatest airplane of its era. It is considered one of the most successful airliners ever.
The first Boeing 737 was delivered to Lufthansa back in the year 1968. Since then, over 10,000 have been manufactured, operating in 200 countries. The Boeing Factory, situated at Renton, Washington, was producing 737s at the rate of 1 ½ aircraft per day.
Boeing 737s are durable. The oldest model still being used was first delivered in 1974, which shows that these planes are built to last. The 737 is used by nearly 5000 airlines, and there are approximately 1,200 in the sky at any given moment under typical circumstances.
The first 737-100, designed in 1964, flew for the first time in April 1967, and went into service for Lufthansa in February 1968. In April 1968, the 737-200 was extended and put into service. It has evolved over four generations, with different variations accommodating 85 to 215 people. Subsequent variations are called 737 Max. One of these, the 737 MAX 8, experienced some major issues and was grounded worldwide in March 2019.
The largest fleet of Boeing 737 is owned by Southwest Airlines, with 734 planes. The airlines also used Boeing 727 for a small period. Surprisingly, Southwest Airlines has used no other commercial aircraft except for these two planes. The US Navy also uses the Boeing 737 aircraft. It has 113 of these planes that are utilized for antisubmarine warfare and surveillance.
Although the Airbus A320 series has not been around for as long as the Boeing 737, it is nevertheless a real contender to Boeing's narrow body. Despite arriving on the marketplace 20 years after the 737, the A320 has successfully controlled the sector.
Passengers enjoy the roomy environment from the time they enter an A320, which has the largest single-aisle cabin. The roomy cabin makes the whole journey more comfortable for the passengers.
The A320ceo has been the most successful model created to date. The total number of units sold is over 4,000. The A320neo is also popular, and Airbus has made significant improvements in this aircraft to make it more appealing.
Lastly, the A320 family is more environment-friendly than some of the other commercial aircraft. The newest Airbus A320neo models have improved airflow and new-generation jet engines, resulting in significant fuel savings and fewer emissions.
Bombardier Canadair Regional Jet
The Canadair Regional Jet, a variant of the Challenger Business Jet, is extremely popular among local operators around the world owing to its quickness and efficiency. The Mirabel-built Canadair Regional Jet is among the most underappreciated members of the commercial aviation family.
This series of aircraft, which includes the CRJ200 with 50 seats, the CRJ700 with 65 seats, the CRJ900 with 76 seats, and the CRJ1000 with 100 seats, are some of the most common small planes on the market.
Lufthansa first flew the CRJ in 1992. It has become a regional transit mainstay over the decades, with Delta Connection, Endeavour Air, and an Air France affiliate operating it. According to Bombardier, 1,800 CRJs had been sold by October 2018. After that, 1,945 units were constructed before production ended in December 2020.
The Boeing 727 was introduced in 1960 as a tiny city plane that could handle lower passenger loads and narrower runways. During its first two years of service, the trijet received over 500 reservations, making it a short-haul market mainstay.
The airliner's intermediate engine, located at the very back of the aircraft, receives air via an s-shaped duct from an intake front of the vertical fin. Because the 727 was intended for local airports, it had to be self-contained from ground systems.
The installed airstair that extends from the back of the aircraft, which could originally be opened in flight, became one of the 727's most recognizable characteristics. An extra power unit was included in the design, allowing lighting and air-conditioning equipment to operate without relying on a ground-based energy supply or starting one of the primary engines.
The Boeing 727 was last produced in 1984, although Delta Air Lines, the very last significant US carrier to do so, decommissioned its last 727 in April 2003. A total of 1,831 airplanes were produced.
Boeing 777 is the largest twin-engine aircraft, surpassing Boeing 747 in popularity with 1657 delivered by February 2021. The 777-200 was the first version to come out of the hangar, and it came into service back in 1995. Boeing 777-300ER is a part of Air France's La Premiere first class, and it was operating non-stop from Paris to Beijing before the pandemic. The aircraft can accommodate anywhere between 301 and 368 passengers thanks to its wide-body design.
The latest version in the line-up is the Boeing 777X, which is expected to debut towards the end of 2023. It features a folding wingtip as its stand-out feature. The 777X offers better fuel performance than its predecessors, but the increased length might create a parking issue with neighboring aircraft. To avoid this issue, there's an option to flip up the wingtips, which will reduce the wingspan by seven meters. Currently, the largest operator of the Boeing 777 is Emirates, with 147 aircraft in its fleet.
About THE AUTHOR
Alex has logged close to 400 hours on his own Piper Cherokee and enjoys bush flying as it offers a chance to test out his skills in difficult situations. His favorite trip, and one he makes regularly, is to the Red Deer Forestry Airstrip.Read more about Alex Costa