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Eastern FLT. 401 Flew Over West Virginia: JFK-MIA?  
User currently offlineZippyjet From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 5565 posts, RR: 13
Posted (9 years 6 months 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 3407 times:

I've always wanted to inquire about this but never got around to it. In Robert Fuller's book; Ghost of Flight 401 an early chapter described the rather unenventful majority of this ill fated flight. On 29 December 1972 Eastern Flight 401 a nonstop flight from JFK to MIA crashed in the Everglades.
"The majority of this flight was routine and uneventful." With the exception of a little turbulence over WEST VIRGINIA Why would a routine uneventful nonstop flight from New York to Miami fly an out of the way route through West Virginia? Flights from Northeast city's to FLL, MIA fly over the coastal plain until the coast drastically curves south westward around the Carolinas until final approach to Miami. And, flights out of coastal Northeast towns such as Boston and New York basically fly over the Atlantic from take off and hug the coast the whole way down to Florida. Was this a typo no one bothered to correct? Or is their a reason for this strange flight plan on what was so far a normal routine flight, with no bad weather?
As I usually stipulate; If this has been covered before at A Net please forgive me for a RERUN thread.  airplane 


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14 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineSTT757 From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 16908 posts, RR: 51
Reply 1, posted (9 years 6 months 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 3396 times:

Quoting Zippyjet (Thread starter):
Why would a routine uneventful nonstop flight from New York to Miami fly an out of the way route through West Virginia? Flights from Northeast city's to FLL, MIA fly over the coastal plain until the coast drastically curves south westward around the Carolinas until final approach to Miami

Weather or possible military manuevers over the Atlantic training area might of meant a more Western route.



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User currently offlineJmc1975 From Israel, joined Sep 2000, 3315 posts, RR: 15
Reply 2, posted (9 years 6 months 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 3365 times:

Perhaps it was over the Chares Town/Ranson/Martinsburg/Harpers Ferry area?


.......
User currently offlineZippyjet From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 5565 posts, RR: 13
Reply 3, posted (9 years 6 months 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 3341 times:

Quoting STT757 (Reply 1):
Weather or possible military manuevers over the Atlantic training area might of meant a more Western route.

Good thoughts but, the book emphatically stated everything was normal including the weather. Remember, this was a clear rather mild Friday late night up and down the Atlantic seaboard. This time of year, there are no thunderstorms or hurricanes to worry about. And, I remember that night; it was actually milder than normal for an early winter night in the East.

Quoting Jmc1975 (Reply 2):
Perhaps it was over the Chares Town/Ranson/Martinsburg/Harpers Ferry area?

But, even this eastern portion of WV is in a westerly out of the way direction.



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User currently offlinePanAm747 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 4242 posts, RR: 8
Reply 4, posted (9 years 6 months 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 3310 times:

Perhaps the military that evening was restricting the airspace off the east coast. That might have sent the L-1011 on a westerly route, perhaps to avoid some of the incoming traffic into PHL, IAD, and so on.

Also to consider, it is possible that the air currents might have been favorable in that particular location.

On a side note, there are no pictures of N310EA in the database, and I have never seen a photo of this particular aircraft. Does anyone know of any photos of this particular aircraft?



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User currently offlineKcrwFlyer From United States of America, joined May 2004, 3847 posts, RR: 7
Reply 5, posted (9 years 6 months 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 3303 times:

maybe to catch one of those canadian jetstreams and ride it south to save on fuel. that doesnt make sense to go that far out of the way though.

User currently offlineZippyjet From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 5565 posts, RR: 13
Reply 6, posted (9 years 6 months 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 3280 times:

Quoting PanAm747 (Reply 4):
Perhaps the military that evening was restricting the airspace off the east coast. That might have sent the L-1011 on a westerly route, perhaps to avoid some of the incoming traffic into PHL, IAD, and so on.

Again a possibility but, this was during the holiday season between Christmas, Chanukah and New Years. This was already the tail end of Viet Nam and the US was not involved with the Mid East back then. The 1973 "Yom Kippur War" was still almost a year away.

Quoting PanAm747 (Reply 4):
Also to consider, it is possible that the air currents might have been favorable in that particular location.

Unless I'm mistaken the majority of wind currents go from South West to North East. So this bird would be flying right into a tail wind. Most of the time it is the North East bound flights that get the tailwind and thus better flight times.



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User currently offlineKYIPpilot From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 1383 posts, RR: 6
Reply 7, posted (9 years 6 months 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 3197 times:

This website has the only known picture of N310EA.

It also says the flight passed over Norfolk, VA on its way southbound. Pretty cool site.

http://www.geocities.com/donuts13/main_2.htm



"It starts when you're always afraid; You step out of line, the man come and take you away" -Buffalo Springfield
User currently offlineTornado82 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (9 years 6 months 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 3172 times:

Quoting Zippyjet (Reply 6):
Unless I'm mistaken the majority of wind currents go from South West to North East.

You're mistaken. They do to from west to east generally... but if they only went from SW to NE they'd cross over the pole at some point, right?? The atmosphere is a series of troughs and ridges of flow, and if you looked down at the jetstream from an "overhead" view over the North Pole, you'd see what looks like a wave pattern, similar to if you took a rope, tied it off on a pole on one end, and shook it up and down on the other end. These waves are what give you your troughs and ridges, hence warm and cold fronts, low pressure systems, etc.

My guess for going westward over WV was a gravity wave region east of the Appalachians made it more efficient (smoother) to go west of the Appalachians... in this case you could get the gravity wave action that leads to Clear-Air turbulence. While normally seen in the Rockies, the phenomena CAN occur in the Appalachians too, and the volatility of weather that time of year can do it. But like I say, that's my GUESS, as a meteorologist.


User currently offlineOPNLguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (9 years 6 months 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 3124 times:

Quoting Zippyjet (Thread starter):
"The majority of this flight was routine and uneventful." With the exception of a little turbulence over WEST VIRGINIA

Based on these two sentences, the context is a little hard to follow so as to make a conclusion.

Any chance you could re-type a little more from the book, verbatim, maybe a couple of sentences either side of the remark about turbulence over West Virginia?


User currently offlinePotomac From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 713 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (9 years 6 months 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 2995 times:

maybe we should consider that the reference to flying over west virginia is wrong...it could have been flying over western virginia, or neither state at all...

User currently offlinePanAm747 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 4242 posts, RR: 8
Reply 11, posted (9 years 6 months 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 2861 times:

http://www.geocities.com/donuts13/main_2.htm

According to this link (thank you KYIPpilot!), the flight overflew Norfolk, VA, and Wilmington, NC. Neither of those are anywhere near West Virginia.

I think the West Virginia reference is a mistake.



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User currently offlineXXXX10 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2000, 777 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (9 years 6 months 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 2796 times:

Perhaps the turbulence over West Virginia caused them to vary their route, it doesn't necassarily follow that they flew over West Virginia

User currently offlineZippyjet From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 5565 posts, RR: 13
Reply 13, posted (9 years 6 months 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 2712 times:

Quoting OPNLguy (Reply 9):
Based on these two sentences, the context is a little hard to follow so as to make a conclusion.

Any chance you could re-type a little more from the book, verbatim, maybe a couple of sentences either side of the remark about turbulence over West Virginia?

Unfortunatley, I do not have the book in my posession. But, I explicitly remember reading the turbulance over West Virginia. Basically, the flight from JFK until MIA approach was a standard run of the mill uneventful affair; with the exception of the turbulance over West Virginia.



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User currently offlineRedngold From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 6907 posts, RR: 44
Reply 14, posted (9 years 6 months 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 2637 times:

There are a few possibilities, but I would expect that this was an editing, geographical and grammatical error.

Some people think that they can shorten the general area of "western Virginia" to "west Virginia" without thinking about the grammatical consequences.

I'd also hazard the guess that a plane traveling JFK-MIA and traversing ORF could have taken a slightly S-curved route that would take the craft over central Virginia.


redngold



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