How steep will airliners climb and descend

I just watched a video of a flight on a private jet and because there was no traffic in the airspace the plane was cleared directly to 30k feet and they climbed VERY STEEPLY. What is the highest rate of climb or descent for a commercial airliner that is fairly common. I’ve seen FedEx flights climb in excess of 5000 feet a minute but they’re obviously not concerned about passenger comfort


Well FedEx (and other cargo companies) carry cargo secured to the ground of the cargo hold area. With only 2-3 pilots, they don’t have to concern too much about passenger comfort, since they’re the only humans on board. And they don’t have to worry about cargo sliding around.

Unless you’re carrying animals, which may be possible

It really depends on weight.
I saw a complete Lufthansa A350 flight movie on PilotsEye.Tv. They were flying MUN to NRT, and they had about 77 tons of fuel from what I heard. I don’t remember the exact fuel weight or how heavy it is, but the HUD showed they climbed at 15 degrees, which is about 3000 fpm give or take.

And a private jet is light and doesn’t have many passengers, so they can climb pretty quickly.

Idk about commercial jets, but in IF we climb from 2000 to 3000 fpm depending on weight.


captain joe is a great resource


I do about 3500-4000 and reduce as necessary

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3-4000/min. Also depends on the SID and obstacles.

Cargo planes usually operate at less busy times, so it’s not uncommon at all to be high relatively quickly.

Same it true for corporate jets. However, if your pax are elderly or babies you wouldn’t want that high rate of climb unless it was absolutely needed

15° and 3000 FPM don’t have anything correlating them. An En-route climb is all about weight, wind, temperature, traffic and other restrictions.

Initial climb-rotating off the runway is almost always a set pitch for speed until thrust reduction/acceleration height-then it’s nose over, 250kt and the VS winds up at whatever the weight of the plane, the wind/temp and traffic allow

See this video here for the initial climb at

Seems a lot of folks have “VS lock” and get fixated on a VS rather than pitching for speed and then finding the VS the plane winds up at.

And this chart for Boeing rotations/speeds

Edit: helps if I post the thing doesn’t it


Airliners typically climb at 2000-2500 fpm (for passenger comfort). There are certainly some instances where the climb rate is higher than normal, which is what you probably saw (by the way, huge fan of pilotseye) but overall the climb rate is not too high. I know a few private jets can climb at excess of 6000 fpm, but that’s seriously a bit high and only done rarely.

I personally climb at 2000 fpm (3000 off rotation, then I level out.)


It much depends on the plane type. As a 787 can easily gain 3000 per minute, the A320 for example has a standard climb rate of 1900 per minute, again, there are many variables like this, the load of the aircraft and of course, the type of load it is carrying.

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The “standard” for the A32X is listed here:

I would agree the average is probably about 1900 when you average it all out from takeoff to cruise level.


Well, if an airplane is light or cargo, it might be climbing faster, if the plane is heavy loaded or flying a long distances, the plane will probably start cruising at an lower altitude, for ex. FL310,320. Once the plane’s weight is better for flying at a higher altitude (usually calculate by the FMC), the plane will be climb to an higher altitude for less fuel usage and/or lesser flight time. However, all these are performing under ATC restrictions, some airways and/or airspaces do have minimum and/or maximum altitude limit. Also sometimes, ATC will give instructions of VS to the pilot. In regular flights without any special ATC restrictions for altitude and VS, the pilot will usually engage VNAV for climbing guidance

Hes asking how fast, not when

Yep, I was talking about average however this chart I doubt it is A320 as ceiling for this type is FL390 and not 410. Also, this depends on the altitude of the airport and if the plane has CFM or IAE engines as IAE have more thrust thus an A320 with these engines will climb slightly faster

Look at the MTOW-it’s an A320-could be a newer weight variant tho. The full link has FL390

I suggest using 1500 on initial climb, 2000 when you are at FL 050 and use 1000 or lower when climbing over 26000 feet. I normally start descending with about 1000fpm and than i go up to 1500 until i reach 3000 AGL for intercept. After that just follow the ILS

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