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The FAA and aircraft designers use the term "Mmo" to designate the Maximum Mach Operating Speed (technically "Mach, max operating") of an aircraft.

 

This is the fastest speed, expressed in one-hundreths of the speed of sound, at which the FAA has determined it is safe for the aircraft to cruise. An aircraft with an Mmo in excess of 1.00 is capable of cruising at supersonic airspeeds. Most jet aircraft, and some turboprops, have an Mmo of between .75 and .92.

 

Because of the buildup of a shock wave and the compression of air which occurs as an aircraft approaches the speed of sound, aircraft which fly anywhere near that speed (which varies with temperature and barometric pressure), are limited not only by their absolute speed through the air, but by their speed relative to Mach 1.00.

 

Piston-powered, general aviation aircraft (with very-limited exception) never fly fast enough to have to have their speeds expressed as a percentage of the speed of sound, since the shock wave and compression of air never form to an extent which could be dangerous to those aircraft. Accordingly, those aircraft use "V" speeds to express their maximum cruising speeds, rather than the "M" speeds associated with speeds approaching the speed of sound.