dfwjim1
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Flights over the North Pole (question)

Sun Jul 01, 2018 10:42 pm

I was on FlightAware the other day at 6 AM EST and was checking flights flying over Alaska and I noticed that there were several flights from the U.S. East Coast to China that were flying way north of the Alaska landmass before turning southwest. Are there any commercial flights that fly directly over the North Pole going either direction? Or is passing over the North Pole just too far from diversion airports?

Thanks for your responses.
 
BravoOne
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Re: Flights over the North Pole (question)

Sun Jul 01, 2018 11:59 pm

There are numerous flights both daily and weekly that use the Polar Route Structure for their flight plans. Not all pass directly over the pole but within 200NM or less. This subject has been discussed before on ANet so you might want to do search to expand your knowledge base.
 
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Starlionblue
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Re: Flights over the North Pole (question)

Tue Jul 03, 2018 9:38 am

To expand on the answer above, lots of flights pass close to the pole. There are some ETOPS requirements of course. Interestingly, if you fly from East Asia to the East Coast of the US, during some sections of your flight, the closest ETOPS alternate is often in Finland or Norway...

The routing is very wind dependent.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
BravoOne
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Re: Flights over the North Pole (question)

Tue Jul 03, 2018 1:39 pm

Not to digress but ETOPS and Polar Ops are two seperate issues, although both are requirements for this area of operations.
 
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SEPilot
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Re: Flights over the North Pole (question)

Tue Jul 03, 2018 9:50 pm

I flew JFK-HKG and back on CX last year, and on both flights we flew very nearly over the North Pole. Interestingly, I have also flown two round trips JFK-TPE on EVA that went over southern Alaska instead, when the great circle route would have been over the Pole. I assume that the reason is that EVA avoids flying over China whenever possible.
The problem with making things foolproof is that fools are so doggone ingenious...Dan Keebler
 
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Starlionblue
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Re: Flights over the North Pole (question)

Wed Jul 04, 2018 12:18 am

SEPilot wrote:
I flew JFK-HKG and back on CX last year, and on both flights we flew very nearly over the North Pole. Interestingly, I have also flown two round trips JFK-TPE on EVA that went over southern Alaska instead, when the great circle route would have been over the Pole. I assume that the reason is that EVA avoids flying over China whenever possible.


It's not really an EVA thing. Flights from outside Mainland China may not transit Mainland China airspace and then continue directly to the Taipei FIR. If you come south through the Mainland you have to fly all the way to the Hong Kong FIR, then transfer to the Taipei FIR from there. Adds quite a bit of distance to a JFK-TPE routing so in many cases you might as well take the southern route.

For example, check out the route for KLM 807 from AMS to TPE: https://www.flightradar24.com/data/flights/kl807#1cefdddd
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
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zeke
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Re: Flights over the North Pole (question)

Wed Jul 04, 2018 3:00 am

BravoOne wrote:
There are numerous flights both daily and weekly that use the Polar Route Structure for their flight plans. Not all pass directly over the pole but within 200NM or less. This subject has been discussed before on ANet so you might want to do search to expand your knowledge base.


The closest waypoint to the North Pole is less than one degree of latitude away, you can see the North Pole outbtge window next to the aircraft.
Human rights lawyers are "ambulance chasers of the very worst kind.'" - Sky News
 
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zeke
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Re: Flights over the North Pole (question)

Wed Jul 04, 2018 3:07 am

BravoOne wrote:
There are numerous flights both daily and weekly that use the Polar Route Structure for their flight plans. Not all pass directly over the pole but within 200NM or less. This subject has been discussed before on ANet so you might want to do search to expand your knowledge base.


Much closer than that, the closest waypoint is less than a degree of latitude from the North ole which means less than 60 nm. You can see it out the window.

There is a big red and white Santa workshop there and a big street sign which says North Pole.
Human rights lawyers are "ambulance chasers of the very worst kind.'" - Sky News
 
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Matt6461
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Re: Flights over the North Pole (question)

Wed Jul 04, 2018 3:47 am

zeke wrote:
BravoOne wrote:
There are numerous flights both daily and weekly that use the Polar Route Structure for their flight plans. Not all pass directly over the pole but within 200NM or less. This subject has been discussed before on ANet so you might want to do search to expand your knowledge base.


Much closer than that, the closest waypoint is less than a degree of latitude from the North ole which means less than 60 nm. You can see it out the window.

There is a big red and white Santa workshop there and a big street sign which says North Pole.


What's the minimum reindeer-aircraft separation distance?
 
Tartarus
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Re: Flights over the North Pole (question)

Wed Jul 04, 2018 7:24 am

Up until recently, there was an actual waypoint at the North Pole, called NPOLE.

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