globetrotter
Posts: 172
Joined: Thu Feb 24, 2000 4:35 am

### Nautical Vs. Statute Miles

For the benefit of me and others who are new to aviation, could someone please give a brief explanation of the difference between nautical and statute miles. Also what is the "great circle," and how does it apply to nautical vs. statute?

I've searched the archives and couldn't find a satisfactory answer to this. If it's there, I apologize. Many thanks for the education.

mls515
Posts: 2955
Joined: Mon Jun 26, 2000 5:56 am

### RE: Nautical Vs. Statute Miles

Great Circle:

It's the shortest route between two points on the globe. It doesn't follow lines of latitute but rather it arches. Example: If you were to fly from Seattle to Bismark, ND you would probably skim over the US-Canadian border a little.

Nautical Miles-

One Nautical Mile = 1.15077945 regular miles.
http://www.boatsafe.com/tools/scale.htm
Don't kow the history. Sorry.

Purdue Arrow
Posts: 947
Joined: Tue May 25, 1999 1:49 pm

### RE: Nautical Vs. Statute Miles

As you probably know, latitude and longitude can be given in degrees, minutes, and seconds, with a minute being 1/60 of a degree, and a second being 1/60 of a minute. The origin of the nautical mile is that one minute of longitude is equal to one nautical mile. While a statute mile is 5,280 feet, a nautical mile is approximately 6,000 feet.

timz
Posts: 6301
Joined: Fri Sep 17, 1999 7:43 am

### RE: Nautical Vs. Statute Miles

Since the earth isn't actually spherical, a degree (or minute) of latitude at the pole is 1% longer than a degree (or minute) of latitude at the equator. So in the past there have been several "nautical mile"s, ranging from around 6076 to 6082 (?) feet. But now it's officially defined as 1852 meters exactly, or 6076.1 ft.

If we pretend the earth is spherical, then the shortest path between two points (measured along the surface of the earth) is the one that has the least curvature-- in other words, the one that follows a arc that has the largest possible radius. The largest possible radius is the radius of the earth itself; so the shortest path is along a circle whose center is at the center of the earth. That's what a great circle is.

### Popular Searches On Airliners.net

Top Photos of Last:   24 Hours  •  48 Hours  •  7 Days  •  30 Days  •  180 Days  •  365 Days  •  All Time

Military Aircraft Every type from fighters to helicopters from air forces around the globe

Classic Airliners Props and jets from the good old days

Flight Decks Views from inside the cockpit

Aircraft Cabins Passenger cabin shots showing seat arrangements as well as cargo aircraft interior

Cargo Aircraft Pictures of great freighter aircraft

Government Aircraft Aircraft flying government officials

Helicopters Our large helicopter section. Both military and civil versions

Blimps / Airships Everything from the Goodyear blimp to the Zeppelin

Night Photos Beautiful shots taken while the sun is below the horizon

Accidents Accident, incident and crash related photos

Air to Air Photos taken by airborne photographers of airborne aircraft

Special Paint Schemes Aircraft painted in beautiful and original liveries

Airport Overviews Airport overviews from the air or ground

Tails and Winglets Tail and Winglet closeups with beautiful airline logos