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Flights Over The N/S Pole

Sat Jun 23, 2001 11:39 am

I was just wondering whether any airlines are flying over either the (north/south) poles. I asked this because it's been almost a period of time since I've heard airlines (Qantas being the last plane that I saw that flew over "ice") that flew over.

-Can you give me information on the routes (if any) that goes over the poles.

-Does it actually cut flying time flying over the artic?

-What aircraft..


P.S.: I don't think any civil airliners ever flew over there?
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RE: Flights Over The N/S Pole

Sat Jun 23, 2001 11:54 am

I could've sworn now that I saw an Airbus A340 ad somewhere that said something about it being the only airliner that had a route over Antarctica, but I'm probably mistaken.
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RE: Flights Over The N/S Pole

Sat Jun 23, 2001 4:00 pm

Cathay Pacific go North over the Arctic to the US, I think. Not sure of the type.

It is certainly shorter but not without its hazards. Lack of suitable enroute alternates, very high radiation levels etc.

I can't think of anyone venturing over the Antarctic in a civil jetliner, although Air New Zealand used to do scenic trips down there until one flight met with a tragic accident.
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RE: Flights Over The N/S Pole

Sat Jun 23, 2001 9:59 pm

Has somebody ever thought about the following: if you head to e.g. the South Pole with a heading of 180, and fly over it, than suddenly your heading changes to 360. Does anybody know how this change in course is managed (for instance by FMS, or the autopilot), to make sure that the aircraft doesn't start turning circles above the South Pole?

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RE: Flights Over The N/S Pole

Sat Jun 23, 2001 10:13 pm

Try it on Flightsim to see if you go in circles!  Smile/happy/getting dizzy
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RE: Flights Over The N/S Pole

Sun Jun 24, 2001 8:25 am

Polar flights don't fly directly over the pole for precisely this reason. Look at the routings of flights like JFK-HKG, etc -- they come close to the pole but never over it.

RE: Flights Over The N/S Pole

Sun Jun 24, 2001 9:17 am

Delta is looking at JFK- Beijing flights, they already performed a test flight with a 777.


RE: Flights Over The N/S Pole

Sun Jun 24, 2001 9:41 am

Come on! Until a month ago Aerolineas Argentinas operated the Buenos Aires- Auckland - Sydney route,in an A-340 which crossed the South Pole! Also I think that Qantas also operates this route.
And this route was first operated by the greatest south american airline LANCHILE! with a mighty 707 from Punta Arenas to Sydney

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RE: Flights Over The N/S Pole

Mon Jun 25, 2001 11:10 pm

Continental has begun direct service from Newark to Hong Kong (Airways magazine) with B-777. They won´t however fly directly over the north pole.
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RE: Flights Over The N/S Pole

Tue Jun 26, 2001 2:05 am

Aircraft going near the north pole do not use the magnetic compass as it is unreliable. The magnetic north pole is quite a distance from the geograhic north pole.
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RE: Flights Over The N/S Pole

Tue Jun 26, 2001 3:54 am

Continental has gotten extremely close to the North Pole. In Airways it said they passed the 89th latitude, which is 60 nm from the North Pole, which is about 7 minutes flying time from the 90th latitude, better known as the North Pole.

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RE: Flights Over The N/S Pole

Tue Jun 26, 2001 5:42 am


The Aerolineas flight from Buenos Aires to Auckland (via Rio Galegos) doesn't go over the south pole. I've flown this route a couple of times and both times, we were down close to the ice shelf where icebergs were clearly visible, but no-where near the pole.

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RE: Flights Over The N/S Pole

Tue Jun 26, 2001 5:48 am

A lot of airlines fly over the arctics from lax to get to europe and parts of the middle east, and yes, it does cut flying times.

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RE: Flights Over The N/S Pole

Tue Jun 26, 2001 6:17 am

I understand UAL are flying revenue service ORD-HKG with 747-400 on the polar routings which are not directly over the pole but give time savings to the "standard" routings. AAL have also done route proving over the top w/777 again ORD-HKG
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Buenos Aires-Auckland...

Tue Jun 26, 2001 7:39 am 10333 km direct and 12051 km via the South Pole, so a routing over the pole seems unlikely.

Far as I know LAN Chile has never scheduled a flight west of Tahiti; does anyone know better?
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RE: Flights Over The N/S Pole

Tue Jun 26, 2001 8:09 am

I happened to fly yesterday on a Cargo 747 from Fairbanks to Prestwick. We went north until 82 degree latitude. Even though we didn't pass the geographic North Pole, we flew over the magnetic North Pole, so that the magnetic compass suddenly turned from 360 to 180 while the FMS still showed a northerly heading. Was a really interesting phenomenum!

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