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The Polar Great Circle Routes  
User currently offlineTom in NO From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 7194 posts, RR: 33
Posted (13 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 3596 times:

I had family members fly this past week on the overnight KLM flight from LAX to AMS. I tracked them for a while until they got up over Canada. The questions are these:

1) Over what stretches of land/areas/cities do most polar flights go from LAX to Europe?

2) Do they all (LAX-AMS, LHR, CDG, etc) pretty much follow the same routes until over the eastern Atlantic?

3) Do eastbound and westbound flights take the same path?

Obviously, weather plays a role, but what would the basic answers be for the above questions?

Tom in NO (at MSY)


"The criminal ineptitude makes you furious"-Bruce Springsteen, after seeing firsthand the damage from Hurricane Katrina
13 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineDesertJets From United States of America, joined Feb 2000, 7760 posts, RR: 16
Reply 1, posted (13 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 3475 times:

I wonder about that as well. Case in point, one night I was tracking the BA flight from PHX-LGW. At 3 hours into the flight it was over Burlington, Iowa... if I didn't know any better I'd swear they were going to Chicago or Milwauke. I'd assume most transatlantic flights all route themselves to somewhere around Newfoundland until they get assigned a north Atlantic navigation track till they hit the Irish coast.


Stop drop and roll will not save you in hell. --- seen on a church marque in rural Virginia
User currently offlineEraxandaf From United States of America, joined Aug 2000, 154 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (13 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 3467 times:

I tracked a coworkers flight last week from SFO-MUC on Lufthansa, and was interested in the fact that it passed through some interesing little towns before it went blank out past Canada. It went SF-over truckee and lake tahoe nevada, over boise idaho, helena montana, then up past canada where it no longer tracks..I enjoy tracking the AF #082 flight to SFO and wonder if the people on the ground in montana or idaho ever look up and have any idea where that plane came from and is going....

User currently offlineDeltaRNOmd-80 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (13 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 3461 times:

How do you track flights? is there a website?

User currently offlineTom in NO From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 7194 posts, RR: 33
Reply 4, posted (13 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 3459 times:

Track flights at www.thetrip.com or at www.flytetrax.com. Just follow the links at those websites.

Tom in NO (at MSY)

P.S. The above questions regarding LAX-trans polar flights are still open for comments.



"The criminal ineptitude makes you furious"-Bruce Springsteen, after seeing firsthand the damage from Hurricane Katrina
User currently offlineRioSul From Brazil, joined Mar 2013, 0 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (13 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 3428 times:

Hey Tom in NO,

I believe all North Atlantic traffic from the US and Canada, and from Europe, all have to fly on North Atlantic Tracks during peak traffic hours. This because of the lack of radar coverage over the ocean and the high traffic volumes. North Atlantic Tracks are determined by winds and are plotted twice per day.

Eastbound traffic would select an altitude that maximizes tailwinds, and westbound flights would select an altitude that minimizes headwinds, but they have to fly along a NAT, I believe.

To get an idea of any Great Circle route, check out this website:

http://www.chicago.com/airliners/gc.html

However, there is no guarantee that a flight will take a great circle route. Factors like winds, temperature, weather systems, prefered routing, ATC flow management, and ETOPS determine routes that aircraft fly. But generally, the longer the flight, the closer it should resemble a great cirlce route.

I am by no means an expert, so anyone feel free to eloborate or correct me.

-RioSul 


User currently offlineJplenny From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 129 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (13 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 3418 times:

A few years ago I took a flight from FRA to SFO and I remeber coming down across Oregon and Northern California. I got a really niec picture of Mt. Shasta from me left side window seat.

It was a Decmber flight. The other thing I remember was taking off at 11:30am and landing at 2:30pm in SFO. But we had serveral hours of darkness while we were going along the polar route.

On the way back.. We did the Truckee, Lake Tahoe, Boise route.




User currently offlineB737-700 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (13 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 3417 times:


Hi folks,

from what I know and from my personal experiences the flights mainly use the same routes (of course dep. where they r going to).
Eastbound, Westbound doesn't make a big difference because during day, the North Atlantic ocean is almost a oneway to America anyways and in the evening/night a oneway to Europe.

Here's an example from a former flight from LAX to FRA.

LAX - turned north-east
Boise
Great Falls
The Pas (Canada)
Saskatoon (Canada)
Churchill (Canada)
Central Hudson Bay
Baffin Bay
Central Greenland
North or South of Iceland
Glasgow
Edinburgh
Amsterdam
Dusseldorf
Frankfurt


Actually I must say that I forgot the question of you folks now but I think it was about the flight path.
So all these flights from the West coast go pretty far north Into Canada then across Hudson Bay, Greenland, Iceland ...
East coast goes New Foundland, sometime Greenland, south of Iceland ...

Hope that helped, B737-700







User currently offlineB737-700 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (13 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 3409 times:


Try that link, there you'll see a nice flightpath of LH 455 SFO - FRA. Although it's flying not too far north today.

http://209.113.170.221/fvUSAToday/fvCPL.exe?qtype=htm&AL=LH&acid=455&FIND1=Find+flight

B737-700


User currently offlineEraxandaf From United States of America, joined Aug 2000, 154 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (13 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 3403 times:

Thats' really interesting, becuase I plugged in the AF #83 SF-CDG, and it's intended flight path is considerably lower than the LH flight. The AF won't even pass by Greenland at all, but much farther south..even though Paris and Frankfurt are really not that far apart from each other. Maybe the departure time has something to do with it's slot in the great skyway to Europe...

User currently offlineATL Traveller From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 166 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (13 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 3374 times:

This great circle thing has been covered before.

The confusion as to why the plane flys a seemingly out-of-the-way route towards the north pole then back south is because we usually are tracking the routes on a flat map. To get the actual perspective and reason as to why the planes take this route, find the originating city and destination on a round globe. Connect the two cities with a string and you'll see that the route the plane is taking is not actually an out-of-the-way flight path, but it is in fact the most direct route. Yes, there will be variances due to weather, radar need, government regulations, etc., but generally the plane is flying a staight line to its destination.


User currently offlineTom in NO From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 7194 posts, RR: 33
Reply 11, posted (13 years 10 months 3 weeks 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 3331 times:

Major props to all who answered my query!!! I looked at the Flight View website mentioned by B737-300, and it was just what I was looking for. I've seen the chicago.com website before, and there's some good info there, as well.

Tom in NO (at MSY)



"The criminal ineptitude makes you furious"-Bruce Springsteen, after seeing firsthand the damage from Hurricane Katrina
User currently offlineMedinaj From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 38 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (13 years 10 months 3 weeks 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 3321 times:

When you guys talk about "tracking " flights...what do you mean? Are there websites that allow you to do this in real time?

I'm kinda new on the Aviation world, but this question about plane routes has always been in my head.

Also, is there anyway (using some kind of instruments) to determine/estimate your position as you fly as a passenger on a commercial plane?

Thanks


User currently offlineRioSul From Brazil, joined Mar 2013, 0 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (13 years 10 months 3 weeks 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 3324 times:

Hey Medinaj,

There are several websites that allow you to see the position of commercial airliners in flight, as Tom in NO said earlier in this thread.

I think they are supposed to be in real time, or close to it. I honestly don't know how accurate they really are, but they are still neat to look at.

Just to repeat what Tom in NO said, there are:

http://www.flytetrax.com (I like this one better)

and,

http://www.thetrip.com (it is O.K.)

The best ones, understandably, require a charge-up-front fee, or a subscription rate. For info. check out,

http://www.airnavsystems.com

Hope this helps,

-RioSul 


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