B7474
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Does HKG-JFK Take The Polar Route?

Wed Jul 07, 2010 1:30 pm

Hello, everyone I was recently was on board CX840 from Hong Kong to New York, it showed a flying time of 15 hrs and 30 min for our journey between each city. Also, it showed we'd be flying the polar route straight up North over the pole then back directly south before we took off. However when the journey began it never flew even close it instead, the friendly pilots took us , east towards Taipei, then towards Tokyo and then the usual route which includes passing Alaska I notice when I come from an Asian city towards New York. Oh yes i'm just wondering where are CX pilots based in, I noticed all the pilots on my trip from JFK-YVR-HKG-MNL, and MNL-HKG-JFK, were not of Asian decent.
 
DLPMMM
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RE: Does HKG-JFK Take The Polar Route?

Wed Jul 07, 2010 1:41 pm

1. The route taken will depend on the winds. The polar route might be the shortest distance, but the route over Alaska might be faster (and more efficient) due to tail winds, and especially the jet stream.

2. CX pilots can come from anywhere. The work under contract and generally are top notch. A good number of them seem to come from the UK and Australia. I think they are all based in HKG as that is the only CX hub. Their homes could be anywhere.
 
MileHighOffice
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RE: Does HKG-JFK Take The Polar Route?

Wed Jul 07, 2010 1:53 pm

I have taken CX westbound over the pole to avoid headwinds (was still 16:20 JFK-HKG on the 346). East bound they will jump onto the strong jet streams that go along the china coast across Japan. Those jet streams are rippers.

Have a photo I took on moving map of SQ744 with a 240 knot tailwind over Japan.

Once made it nearly 3 hours early from Seoul to Portland back in the Delta MD-11 days. Seatbelt sign on the entire trip though!
 
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RobK
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RE: Does HKG-JFK Take The Polar Route?

Wed Jul 07, 2010 1:53 pm

The COA88 EWR-PEK flight routes about as close to the Pole as you'll get. HKG is a little too far east for a Pole routing unless the winds are not favourable. The 'westbound' flights are more likely to go via the Pole than the eastbound ones due to the easterly jet stream on the Pacific. The majority of the eastbound flights from HKG/PVG/PEK etc will skirt Japan and the southern Alaska coast.



[Edited 2010-07-07 06:55:45]
 
MileHighOffice
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RE: Does HKG-JFK Take The Polar Route?

Wed Jul 07, 2010 2:08 pm

Lots of the fastest ground speed are all eastbound riding those jet streams around Japan, including the fastest recorded commercial on the 777, 744 and 345. Here is the AA777 flying NRT-DFW:

http://www.groundspeedrecords.com/records/record%20B772%20735kts.htm
 
jetfuel
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RE: Does HKG-JFK Take The Polar Route?

Wed Jul 07, 2010 2:20 pm

Where's the passion gone out of the airline industry? The smell of jetfuel and the romance of taking a flight....
 
Utah744
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RE: Does HKG-JFK Take The Polar Route?

Wed Jul 07, 2010 2:24 pm

As previous posts have said it is for the winds. The Polar jetstream moves into the higher lattitudes during the summer allowing eastbound flights to take advantage of them by flying a longer route but at a much faster groundspeed. The westbound flights would stick closer to the great circle route.

In the winter the Polar jet drops down into the mid lattitudes (in general, as it obviously varies day to day) and then most likely the east and west flights would tend to stay closer to the GCR.

See attached link for a picture of the Polar jet and how your flight took advantage of the jet by passing over Alaska then heading to JFK.



http://www.fas.org/irp/imint/docs/rst/Sect14/FIG07_014A.jpg
You are never too old to learn something stupid
 
JetCaptain
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RE: Does HKG-JFK Take The Polar Route?

Wed Jul 07, 2010 2:33 pm

Quote:
The COA88 EWR-PEK flight routes about as close to the Pole as you'll get. HKG is a little too far east for a Pole routing unless the winds are not favourable.

EWR-PEK and JFK-HKG have virtually the same great circle tracks.

http://gc.kls2.com/

You can pull up the actual routes on FlightAware

http://flightaware.com/live/flight/CPA831

http://flightaware.com/live/flight/CPA841

.
 
cloudyapple
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RE: Does HKG-JFK Take The Polar Route?

Wed Jul 07, 2010 3:01 pm

Quoting B7474 (Thread starter):
Also, it showed we'd be flying the polar route straight up North over the pole then back directly south before we took off. However when the journey began it never flew even close it

Because air show does not know the flight plan route. It simply showed the great circle route.
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goboeing
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RE: Does HKG-JFK Take The Polar Route?

Wed Jul 07, 2010 3:16 pm

As others have said, it varies based on winds.

I was on the inaugural HKG-DTW flight a couple weeks ago and we were actually farther south than a typical NRT-DTW flight. Midway between ANC and HNL! Quite far south and an additional 500-700 miles of flying but with a 150kt tailwind over 14+ hours, it's still faster.
 
COEWR787
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RE: Does HKG-JFK Take The Polar Route?

Wed Jul 07, 2010 3:33 pm

The couple of times that I have actually flown over the North Pole I was on the SQ EWR - SIN flight. Then again on other occasions on the same flight I have flown across Europe, the Stans and India too. It all depends on how the wind is blowing on the day of the flight.
 
sw733
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RE: Does HKG-JFK Take The Polar Route?

Wed Jul 07, 2010 3:55 pm

Quoting DLPMMM (Reply 1):
I think they are all based in HKG as that is the only CX hub. Their homes could be anywhere.

Yeah there are quite a few American pilots on the SFO and LAX-HKG routes that I have flown. I would argue that all of them I have had so far are Americans. I even remember flying SFO-HKG with an American pilot who I then also ended up on the train (MTR's Airport Express) with into the city. He was about 45 or so but had a cute 20-something Chinese girl waiting for him at Kowloon Station who seemed awfully excited to see him. Nice!

CX has their own hotel for all of their foreign pilots and cabin crews - it's the tallest building at Cathay City if you go past it. Really pretty neat...just like a normal hotel. Each floor is kept on a schedule similar to their home, including housekeeping, so for example you will see a lot of the American crews up at 2am local time, because they are kept on Los Angeles or San Francisco time, where it would be 12pm or so.

I have also had several Australian, English and Scottish pilots on my Cathay and Dragonair flights within Asia.

Really a pretty sweet gig if you ask me. I'm sure they get paid very well to fly 747's or 777's, both great planes, and constantly end up in Hong Kong, which is definitely in my personal Top 5 global cities. If I were a pilot, I would kill for that job...
 
kaitakfan
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RE: Does HKG-JFK Take The Polar Route?

Wed Jul 07, 2010 5:39 pm

DLPMMM, Not sure if you just use the term "contract" loosely or not, but at CX pilots are not contracted, its no different than getting hired at Delta or British Airways. Its a full time gig with no set expiration to ones services. As far as backgrounds and basing situation of the pilots.... It has been said alot of Europeans, Aussies, Kiwi's, Canadians and yes a good amount of Americans as well. Cathay does have bases outside of HKG. LAX, SFO, JFK, YVR, YYZ are just a few in North America. When it comes to bases outside of HKG, the pilot most be able to have the right to abode in said domicile. Cathay will not sponsor a citizen of the EU to be be based in LAX for example. Hope this helps give a better picture.
 
BA84
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RE: Does HKG-JFK Take The Polar Route?

Thu Jul 08, 2010 1:22 am

Quoting sw733 (Reply 11):
I would argue that all of them I have had so far are Americans.

Would you know a Canadian accent if you heard one?

CX has a crew base at YVR, both pilots and F/A's.

BA84
 
sw733
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RE: Does HKG-JFK Take The Polar Route?

Thu Jul 08, 2010 1:59 am

Quoting BA84 (Reply 13):
Would you know a Canadian accent if you heard one?

In most cases, yes, since I speak with an American accent (despite my Namibian nationality) and have a keen awareness for accents. Also, I have spoken to most of the pilots   So, ok, I cannot say EVERY one has been American, but all of the one's I have spoken to (about 75% of the ones on my flights) have been American.
 
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Starlionblue
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RE: Does HKG-JFK Take The Polar Route?

Thu Jul 08, 2010 12:39 pm

I would say CX has more Brits, Aussies and Kiwis than any other expat nationalities. It makes sense given HK's heritage.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
OldAeroGuy
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RE: Does HKG-JFK Take The Polar Route?

Fri Jul 09, 2010 4:49 pm

Quoting BA84 (Reply 13):
Would you know a Canadian accent if you heard one?

Quite possibly, eh?
Airplane design is easy, the difficulty is getting them to fly - Barnes Wallis
 
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zeke
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RE: Does HKG-JFK Take The Polar Route?

Fri Jul 09, 2010 5:26 pm

Quoting B7474 (Thread starter):
However when the journey began it never flew even close it instead, the friendly pilots took us , east towards Taipei, then towards Tokyo and then the usual route which includes passing Alaska I notice when I come from an Asian city towards New York.

Eastbound, I can never remember it being polar, I think the lowest I got to crossing the west coast was around Seattle, with a very strong jetstream from Japan to the US reducing the flight time.

Quoting B7474 (Thread starter):
Oh yes i'm just wondering where are CX pilots based in, I noticed all the pilots on my trip from JFK-YVR-HKG-MNL, and MNL-HKG-JFK, were not of Asian decent.

The largest contingent I think are Australian, last numbers I saw were around 900-1000 out of around 2500 being from Australia, the number of Americans would only be a few hundred at best. As far as basing, apart from HKG, pilots are based in Europe, USA, New Zealand, Australia, and Canada, with most pilots based in HKG.

I think for CX840 you would get mainly HKG based crew, and CX841 a combination of HKG/USA/YVR based crew. I think they like to get the YVR crew to fly CX888 from YVR-JFK, and then operate CX841 back to HKG. I am not aware that we have any 777 crew based in NYC, I think it is still a 744 base. The closest 777 base I think would be YTO.
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CX Flyboy
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RE: Does HKG-JFK Take The Polar Route?

Sat Jul 10, 2010 8:03 am

Just to add to Zeke, the eastbound sector is sometimes polar but not normally. I have done it a few times in the last few years but not often and only when the fuel savings are such that they justify the large overflight fees.

CX has crew based in a few North American bases as listed above as well as Europe and Australia. The CX830/831 is often YVR based captains and sometimes a FO too. CX840/841 is just about always with 4 HK based crew.

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