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The Quickest Way Between Two Points...  
User currently offlinePlaneFan From United States of America, joined Sep 2004, 19 posts, RR: 0
Posted (10 years 2 months 2 weeks 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 4753 times:

Was always a straight line, I thought!

I was monitoring my parents' flight yesterday from ORD to OGG (Kahului, HI). Their flight path took them more north and west at first, before turning south (off the coast of Oregon).

Why is that - I was expecting to see a straight (or semi-straight line) and then hitting the Pacific Ocean somewhere in the mid- to southern part of California.

Any insights?


4 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineByronsterk From Netherlands, joined Jul 2005, 155 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (10 years 2 months 2 weeks 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 4704 times:

That's because the world is not flat, it's a globe.
The map as you see it is actually not fully correct since it's rather impossible to map a globe on a flat sheet of paper EXCACTLY as it is.

The shortest way between any 2 points is a direct line, but with big distances that ling would go straight through mother earth. But we can't do that, so we'll have to go over it

Helicopters can't fly, there just so ugly the earth repells them...
User currently offlineKDTWFlyer From United States of America, joined Jun 2004, 844 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (10 years 2 months 2 weeks 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 4608 times:

The shortest distance between two points on a oblate spheroid (Earth) is actually a curved line when viewed on a flat map. Great Circle route...

Your parents route was likely routed a little further north than normal to accomodate above average winds on the average more southerly track.

NW B744 B742 B753 B752 A333 A332 A320 A319 DC10 DC9 ARJ CRJ S340
User currently offlineCloudyapple From Hong Kong, joined Jul 2005, 2458 posts, RR: 10
Reply 3, posted (10 years 2 months 2 weeks 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 4584 times:

Even for perfect conditions aicraft dont fly the shortest path - the same reason you dont drive in a straight line from your house to your local shopping mall going across other people's lawn and your son's playground.

User currently offlineUSADreamliner From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (10 years 2 months 2 weeks 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 4533 times:

Quoting Byronsterk (Reply 1):
That's because the world is not flat

Wait a second... So, Earth is not the center of the Universe either?

So many new things to learn, so little time!!!

Quoting PlaneFan (Thread starter):
Was always a straight line, I thought

You can check on : www.flytecomm.com next time , and you'll see the routes of different flights.


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