Aircraft classified by use may fall into four main categories: military, civil, experimental, and model aircraft (Wikipedia, 2009 1).
|Fighters||Fighters are small highly maneuverable aircraft designed for air-to-air combat. Today fighters are powered with turbofan engines and equiped with radar and missiles. Photograph shows a F-15 Eagle, a fighter employed in America, Israel, Japan and Saudi Arabia||F-15 Eagle|
|Bombers||Bombers are designed to carry and drop bombs both on ground and sea targets.||B-1B Lancer|
|Ground-attack aircraft||These aircraft are specifically designed for attacking both stationary and moving targets on the ground. Whenever the target require a precision that bombers cannot achieve, ground-attack aircraft are employed.||A-10 Thunderbolt|
|Rescue planes||These types of planes are normally used to rescue war victims during war. They are not normally equipped with any form of weaponary. Their main function is solely to rescue victims and bring them to the nearest help point.|
|Reconnaissance Plane||Were used quite often in World War II as a form of surveillance of the enemy. These planes only and main task is to monitor the enemy's movement and activity, and also see whether it is safe for the ground troops to make a move|
|Drop off supply planes||They were widely used during WW II, as they are faster and more efficient. They drop off supplies to the ground troops. These supply could be food, weapons, and ammo.|
|Dropping Troops planes||Their functions are similar to those of the planes that drop off supply. The only different is that these planes carry parachuter troops and the troops are often front-line soldiers that are to attack and shock enemies.|
|UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle)||Some of them are remotely guided. They also carry weapons. They are now frequently used in areas where there are many mountains, in order to reduce risks of a pilot being killed.|
|Commercial aviation aircraft||Although there is no clear distinction between commercial and general aviation aircraft, here commercial aircraft refers to wide-body airliners used in air transport. Some of these aircraft are designed only to carry cargo.||Boeing 747|
|General aviation aircraft||This category includes a variety of aircraft such as private airplanes, business jets, gliders, firefighters etc. Commonly found in this category are the small aircraft own by the pilot.||Raytheon Hawker 800|
|Experimental aircraft||An experimental aircraft is one that is under development but not yet certified to be operated. Also, those aircraft used in scientific research (such as atmospheric research) can also be considered as experimental aircraft.||
|Hybrid aircraft (still an experimental aircraft)||These are aircraft that will close the operational gap between air and land, or air and water. The Transition aircraft shown here is a hybrid between a light aircraft and a car||
Transition (image embedded from Terrafugia on 25 March 2009)
|Model aircraft||Model aircraft are small-size replicas of original aircraft, and can be flying or non-flying. Flying model aircraft are used to test certain flight instruments or parameters before developing the actual aircraft. Others are sold commercially for radio-control flying. Non-flying model aircraft are used for research purposes (e.g. in wind-tunnels). Non-flying replica model aircraft are also sold for marketing purposes, etc (although their classification as aircraft is based on similarity rather than actual value as model aircraft)||
Want to know more?
- AviationKnowledge - Aircraft
- Here you can find other classifications for aircraft.
- Wikipedia - Aircraft
- This Wikipedia page offers more detailed information on each aircraft classification.