Look at what I read on a newspaper yesterday:
It was an article having to do with the longest commercial route, JFK-HKG. Since it is a polar route, the journalist wrote that:
1.- During the polar flight, since it was above the pole, the autopilot is turned off because the computers on board would not know where to fly to. This sounds logical, but, is it imperative to fly exactly above the magnetic pole? Or could it be done some dozens of miles away? Would then the computers be affected by the unability to decide?
2.- Due to extreme cold while over the pole, the pilots must have a continuous control of the temperature in order to prevent fuel from freezing. If the temperature descend a bit too much, they increase the speed... in order to increase air drag... so the wing temperature raises!!!!
Altough I could be making a mistake, I'm sorry but this sounds to me like ignorant-journalist-pretending-to-be-specialist's b*llsh*t. You know what I mean: he/she has read about drag, temperatures resulting from it, maybe something about the temperature in a supersonic airplane's nose, made a cocktail with polar ground winter temperatures and liquids density in the cold, and take his/her own (logical?) conclusions...
Actually I have never flown over the pole, and cannot imagine how cold is the air there at FL390. But I've found myself flying over the Capricorn Tropic during southern summer, FL410, with outside temperature —53ºC, and in whatever season, FL320 to FL370, usual temperatures being —37ºC to —45ºC.
Thanks a lot in advance.