Are there speeds that cannot be exceeded at certain altitudes?


1 Answer 1


The following maximum speeds apply in the US (A few aren't based on altitude, but I've included them to be more complete):

  • 91.817: Mach 1 over land (with a few exceptions that are noted in Appendix B to 91.817)
  • 91.117(a): 250 KIAS below 10,000 ft. MSL
  • 91.117(b): 200 KIAS below 2,500 ft. within 4NM of the primary airport for Class C and D airspace (unless within Class B airspace)
  • 91.117(c): 200 KIAS under the shelf of Class B airspace
  • 91.117(c): 200 KIAS in a VFR corridor through Class B airspace
  • AIM 5-3-8(2): Maximum holding speeds:
    • At or below 6,000 ft. 200 KIAS
    • 6,001 to 14,000 ft. 230 KIAS
    • Above 14,000 ft 265 KIAS
  • Some NOTAMs specify a maximum speed when operating within their limits.
  • AIM 5-7-2: Maximum speed as assigned by ATC

91.117(d): Any of these speeds may be exceeded if the minimum safe airspeed for the aircraft is higher and you notify ATC.

91.101 and AIM 5-7-2 NOTE 2 state that none of these apply when more than 12 NM from the coast of the united states. Because of this, you will often see pilots fly at greater than 250 KIAS when below 10,000 feet and more than 12 NM off-shore.

Aircraft specific limitations must also be complied with.

  • 5
    $\begingroup$ When considering what speeds my own plane is capable of... nope, no speed limits at all (beyond those which gravitiy and the earth will levy a penalty for)! :P $\endgroup$
    – mah
    Feb 9, 2014 at 13:40
  • $\begingroup$ @mah Of course, physics and aerodynamics may want a few words with you as well if you push it too hard... $\endgroup$
    – Shadur
    Jan 23, 2018 at 7:24
  • $\begingroup$ Adding afterburners to a Cessan 152, what could go wrong? $\endgroup$
    – zeta-band
    Jan 25, 2018 at 21:17

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