# Why is the shortest route for a ship or airplane shown on maps as curved lines?

## Why is the shortest route for a ship or airplane shown on maps as curved lines?

Or why is it that when you see flight paths on a map they always take a curved route between 2 cities? It’s because planes travel along the shortest route in a 3-dimensional space. This route is called a geodesic or great circle route. They are common in navigation, sailing and aviation.

## Why do planes take curved routes?

Because the Earth revolves on its axis, this forces the equator to “bulge out” and be wider. Similar to the Earth itself, aircraft, therefore, take flight routes that also appear to be a curved line, tracing the Earth’s shape.

Why don t airplanes fly in a straight line?

Ask the Captain: Why don’t planes fly in a ‘straight line?’ Answer: It is shorter to fly the Great Circle route than a straight line due to the circumference of the earth being so much greater at the equator than near the poles. Q: Captain, I often follow trans-Atlantic flights between Europe and the USA.

How do great circle routes work?

The shortest route between any two points on the earth’s surface is called a great circle. Although air routes look curved on flat maps, airliners do try to fly straight lines between cities. Exact routes vary due to winds, flight rules, and political borders (we don’t fly over certain countries).

### Why do planes not fly over the Himalayas?

According Debapriyo, most commercial airlines avoid flying directly over the Himalayas. This is because “the Himalayas have mountains higher than 20,000 feet, including Mt Everest standing at 29,035 feet. However, most commercial airplanes can fly at 30,000 feet.” The Himalayan region has almost no flat surfaces.

### How cold is the air at 35000 feet?

At 35,000 ft. (11,000 m), the typical altitude of a commercial jet, the air pressure drops to less than a quarter of its value at sea level, and the outside temperature drops below negative 60 degrees Fahrenheit (negative 51 degrees Celsius), according to The Engineering Toolbox.

Do ships use great circle routes?

Until the 19th century ships generally sailed along rhumb lines, which made use of prevailing winds and fixed compass headings. Great circle routes are usually plotted on charts based on the gnomonic projection, on which great circles appear as straight lines.

Why do planes fly at 35000 feet?

A balance between operating costs and fuel efficiency is achieved somewhere around 35,000 feet, which is why commercial airplanes usually fly at that altitude. Commercial airplanes can climb to 42,000 feet, but going beyond that can be precarious, as the air starts to become too thin for optimum flight of the airplane.

## Do planes fly over Everest?

Airplanes often avoid air paths that take them over Mt Everest or the Pacific Ocean. This is because “the Himalayas have mountains higher than 20,000 feet, including Mt Everest standing at 29,035 feet. However, most commercial airplanes can fly at 30,000 feet.”

## Why are great circle routes curved on paper?

Great Circle routes arestraight lines. They are the shortest distance between any two points on the globe. Great circle routes appear curved on flat paper maps because of the distortion caused when trying to project a convex surface onto a flat piece of paper. Thanks for reading!

Which is the shortest flight path on Earth?

What appear to be curved lines on a map are actually straight lines when viewed from the top (plan view) on globe. Great Circle Navigation: Commercial aircraft by and large fly in a straight line called great circle. Great circle is the shortest distance between any two points on earth.

Why are there curved lines on flight paths?

The rotation of the earth has nothing to do with those, ‘curved’, lines on the flight path. The curved line is attempting to show the viewer the approximate location of the aeroplane, in real time, on a planet. Normally from port of departure towards point of arrival across the curvature of earth.

### Which is the shortest route between two points?

Thus the shortest distance between two points on a sphere is an arc rather than a straight and constant heading. This arc is called the great circle route. Interestingly, to actually fly the shortest distance, a pilot must slightly alter his heading continuously, to stay on the course of the great circle.