EK345
Posts: 126
Joined: Thu Dec 04, 2003 5:12 pm

Why Longer Flying-time Westbound?

Sun Jan 18, 2004 3:48 pm

I was just curious to know why flights are longer when they fly east to west. I know that they are going against the jet stream but wouldn't the rotation of the earth be in their favor and counteract this??

Thanks!

EK345
"and miles to go before I sleep..."
 
ei a330-200
Posts: 336
Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2001 8:22 am

RE: Why Longer Flying-time Westbound?

Sun Jan 18, 2004 3:56 pm

Flights are longer because you don't have a tailwind to push you along, you have a head wind.

Brian
EI Rocks!!!
 
EK345
Posts: 126
Joined: Thu Dec 04, 2003 5:12 pm

RE: Why Longer Flying-time Westbound?

Sun Jan 18, 2004 6:38 pm

thank brian I thought it might be something as simple as that. just wanted to verify  Smile

EK345
"and miles to go before I sleep..."
 
jwenting
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Joined: Mon Apr 23, 2001 10:12 pm

RE: Why Longer Flying-time Westbound?

Sun Jan 18, 2004 6:47 pm

It is really that simple. Another factor is that because of that wind they need to carry more fuel making them heavy so they have to fly lower which itself means they're going even slower.
I wish I were flying
 
Ndebele
Posts: 2847
Joined: Mon Apr 09, 2001 3:16 am

RE: Why Longer Flying-time Westbound?

Sun Jan 18, 2004 6:56 pm

but wouldn't the rotation of the earth be in their favor and counteract this??
It has to do with Coriolis (sp?) which makes winds turn left, natural high altitude winds from the North to the South are turned left, this is why jetstreams go in Eastern direction.
 
InnocuousFox
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RE: Why Longer Flying-time Westbound?

Mon Jan 19, 2004 1:18 am

"It has to do with Coriolis (sp?) which makes winds turn left, natural high altitude winds from the North to the South are turned left, this is why jetstreams go in Eastern direction."

Actually, this is only partially correct. Only in the middle latitudes (US and Europe) do we have prevailing westerlies. If you go down into a more tropical area, they have prevailing easterlies. Farther north in Canada, is easterlies as well. It has to do with the predominant pattern of high and low pressure at those latitudes combined with the coriolis effect.

The answer to the original question is correct, however. Headwinds.
Dave Mark - Intrinsic Algorithm - Reducing the world to mathematical equations!
 
Espion007
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RE: Why Longer Flying-time Westbound?

Mon Jan 19, 2004 1:27 am

I have this exact question on my exams next week.

Winds are blowing from the north pole to the equator,where the pressure is lower.Because of the Coriolis effect,the winds are blowing west,since the earth spins below them.it creates the prevailing westerlies.If you are flying west a headwind is pushing against you so the engines have to work harder/use more feul,etc.Its like trying to sail a boat against the current.I might be a bit wrong,but thats all i have to know from exams  Smile
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Ndebele
Posts: 2847
Joined: Mon Apr 09, 2001 3:16 am

RE: Why Longer Flying-time Westbound?

Mon Jan 19, 2004 6:21 am

@InnocuousFox, Espion007: You're right, but it's difficult for me to explain it in a foreign language, that's why I took the "only partially correct" explanation - I think Ek345's question was about transatlantic flights anyway.

@Espion007: I had this exact question in my exams 10 years ago, and again 5 years ago - good luck for your exams next week!