air·​speed | \ ˈer-ˌspēd How to pronounce airspeed (audio) \

Definition of airspeed

: the speed (as of an airplane) with relation to the air — compare ground speed

Examples of airspeed in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web In June last year, a first officer for an airline in the U.S. who hadn’t flown in nearly three months forgot to switch on the anti-icing mechanism for the plane’s airspeed sensors. Anurag Kotoky, Fortune, 15 Oct. 2021 In most modern aircraft the software driving how the controls respond behaves differently depending on airspeed, if it’s on the ground, in flight, if the flaps are up, and if the landing gear is up. Shem Malmquist, Wired, 24 Apr. 2021 What’s the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow? Kevin Fisher-paulson, San Francisco Chronicle, 13 July 2021 This unusual configuration helps ensure stability, especially during low-speed and vertical operation when the absence of horizontal airspeed renders control surfaces ineffective. David W. Freeman, Popular Mechanics, 20 May 2021 Other features include 10 airspeed settings and an automatic night mode to save energy. Hanna Horvath, NBC News, 17 Mar. 2021 Accordingly, sophisticated airspeed and angle-of-attack sensors, embedded GPS and datalinks with full, open spatial data are being installed on the L-39s. Eric Tegler, Popular Mechanics, 24 Jan. 2021 Inaccurate airspeed readings can cause dangerous reactions by the pilots—or software. Theresa Machemer, Smithsonian Magazine, 1 Dec. 2020 The instrument panel is simple: a revolutions counter, an altimeter, a compass, a turn-and-slip indicator, an airspeed indicator, and an oil gauge. Ed Caesar, The New Yorker, 17 Oct. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'airspeed.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of airspeed

1909, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for airspeed

Time Traveler

The first known use of airspeed was in 1909

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Dictionary Entries Near airspeed

airspace reservation


airspeed head

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Statistics for airspeed

Last Updated

26 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Airspeed.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Dec. 2021.

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More Definitions for airspeed



English Language Learners Definition of airspeed

: the speed at which an aircraft moves through the air


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