A heavier-than-air fixed-wing aircraft propelled by one or more engines.

An airplane is a fixed-wing aircraft which is heavier than air and uses one or more s to provide propulsion; it can be manned (for instance, an or ) or unmanned (most types of large are technically airplanes). The first airplane (the Wright brothers' Flyer) first flew on 17 December 1903, and airplanes now comprise the vast majority of the world's manned aircraft (as they are the only aircraft that can economically carry large payloads long distances at high speeds while remaining fairly simple to fly).

The following types of aircraft are not airplanes:

  • (including s, s, and s) are, as the name indicates, rotary-wing aircraft, rather than fixed-wing. (A operates as an airplane in forward flight, but not during / or when hovering.)
  • A is powered by gravity and , not by an engine (partial exception: a motorglider, which has a small engine for use during takeoff or if updrafts are lacking, operates as an airplane when using its engine).
  • A is a lighter-than-air vehicle, deriving part or all of its from its own buoyancy, although most airships can generate some aerodynamic lift using a specially-shaped envelope or (less efficiently) by flying at an angle.
  • A not only is lighter than air, but also lacks an engine for propulsion (hot-air balloons do have one or more burners, but these are used to heat the air in the balloon, causing it to expand and generating lift - not for horizontal motion).

See Wikipedia for more information.

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