Ground Speed Calculator

If you're looking for a comprehensive ground speed calculator, you've come to the right place. Let's take a look at what our ground speed calculator can do for you. You can use this tool to find out an aircraft's ground speed – the velocity we use to find out its flight duration – as well as the wind correction angle and heading. This calculator also explains the ground speed and the distinction between it and true airspeed. We also include the aviation industry's wind correction angle, heading, and ground speed formulae.

How fast does a Flying Object Hit the Ground?

The horizontal velocity of a flying object relative to the earth's surface or the ground is its ground speed. When traveling by train, do you enjoy seeing buildings and trees move backward? We know that the speed at which they shift away from us while we remain stationary is the speed of our vehicle relative to the ground. Similarly, if you can see stationary objects on the ground, you can evaluate how fast your aircraft is moving through the air in relation to the ground, or what its ground speed is.

Ground Speed vs. True Airspeed

The following are the key distinctions between ground speed and true airspeed:

  1. The true airspeed of an aircraft indicates how fast it moves relative to the surrounding air, whereas the ground speed indicates how fast it moves horizontally relative to the earth's surface. An aircraft's ground speed is equal to its true airspeed in still air.
  2. True airspeed informs pilots about whether the plane is fast enough to take off or stay in the air. The ground speed tells the pilots how long it will take them to get to their destination.
  3. True airspeed increases with altitude due to reduced drag, whereas ground speed is independent of altitude.

How do I convert True Airspeed to Ground Speed?

In aviation, the ground speed formula is as follows: vg = √(va2 + vw2 - (2vavw cos(δ - ω + ⍺))

  • Where, vg – Ground speed 
  • va – True airspeed 
  • vw – Wind speed
  • δ – Course – the desired flight path, measured clockwise from the North
  • ω – Wind direction
  • ⍺ – Wind correction angle

The above equation is a simple vector addition of the true airspeed and wind speed of the aircraft. It can be calculated using the law of cosines formula.

How do I use the Ground Speed Calculator?

The following is the procedure is used to calculate wind correction angle, heading, and ground speed from true airspeed using this tool:

  • Step 1: From the drop-down list next to each quantity, choose the desired units.
  • Step 2: Enter the aircraft's true airspeed. View the true airspeed vs. ground speed section above to learn more about the differences between the two.
  • Step 3: Fill in the wind speed.
  • Step 4: Make a course selection.
  • Step 5: Input the direction of the wind.

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How can I find out the Aircraft's Heading?

The heading is the direction in which a pilot directs the nose of the aircraft to avoid any wind-induced deviation from its course. The sum of the course and the wind correction angle is as follows: ѱ = δ + ⍺

FAQs on Ground Speed Calculator

1. Is ground speed the same as true airspeed?

Groundspeed is the rate at which your plane moves relative to the ground. It's wind-adjusted true airspeed. You'd be flying at 120 knots with a true airspeed of 100 knots and a tailwind of 20 knots.

2. What's the difference between an aircraft's heading and its course?

An aircraft's course is the path it takes to arrive at its destination in still air. The aircraft's heading in the direction it is pointing as it flies to counteract the effects of the wind.

3. Is it true that ground speed is faster than airspeed?

The ground speed of an aircraft is calculated using the vector addition of airspeed and wind speed: vg = √(va2 + vw2 - (2vavw cos θ). When the angle between airspeed and wind speed is smaller, the ground speed becomes greater than airspeed for a given airspeed. As a result, when there is a strong tailwind, ground speed exceeds airspeed.

4. Is the ground speed measured in miles per hour?

Even if there was a 100-mile-per-hour headwind – wind blowing in the opposite direction of travel – the aircraft would maintain a 500-mile-per-hour airspeed. Its ground speed, however, would be only 400 miles per hour (100 miles per hour slower than its airspeed).