Practical information: why aviation uses knots for speed

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L’aviation used the knot (abbreviated “kt” or “kt/s”) as unit of measurement to express air speed. This convention arises from the history of aviation and the need for an international standard.

The knot is a unit of speed equivalent to one nautical mile per hour (1 kt = 1.852 km/h). Its use in aviation dates back to the early days of commercial flight, when the first airplanes were being developed and sailors were already using knots to measure the speed of ships.

Adopting the knot offered several advantages. First of all, it was a measure already widely recognized and used in the maritime domain, thus facilitating the transition to aviation. Additionally, the nautical mile was a unit of measurement consistent with distances on the Earth’s surface.

The use of the node also simplified communications between pilots and air traffic controllers, as it was universally understood throughout the aviation world. This has helped to enhance the safety and efficiency of flight operations internationally.

Ultimately, the adoption of the knot as a unit of measurement for speed in aviation stems from a combination of tradition, practicality and global standardization, making it a logical and essential choice for aviation industry.

John Walker Avatar