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View Diary: How Airliners Work - Navigating the Oceans (75 comments)

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  •  A great circle route is a "straight line" on a (10+ / 0-)

    sphere.

    On a globe, if you stretch a string from San Francisco to Tokyo, the string will follow the great circle, and will be "straight" as far as the sphere is concerned.

    I know that seems hard to believe, but try it and see!

    •  arc (3+ / 0-)

      Is that straight line known as an "arc"?

      -5.38, -2.97
      The NRA doesn't represent the interests of gun owners. So why are you still a member?

      by ChuckInReno on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 10:55:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Navigating on a great circle requires constant (4+ / 0-)

      small adjustments in heading or the route becomes a rhumb line which is a spiral path on the surface of a sphere.  In practice, the sailing of a great circle route is approximated by breaking it down into a series of small rhumb line segments with the heading adjusted to correct the route back toward the great circle route.

    •  The longest nonstop commercial flight (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RiveroftheWest

      in the world is a Singapore Airlines flight that goes from Singapore to Newark in just over 18 hours (all business class, fortunately for the passengers).  

      Plotting the route on a flat map is actually pretty funny- from Singapore you fly nearly due north until you disappear off the top of the map, to suddenly "teleport" way over to the other side, heading in the opposite direction, then you go nearly due south to Newark.  

      What's really happening, of course, is that you're flying almost directly over the North Pole.  It makes a heck of a lot more sense when you stretch a string on a globe.  

      Odds and ends about life in Japan: 1971wolfie.wordpress.com

      by Hatrax on Wed Jun 26, 2013 at 09:06:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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