FlightAware Discussions

Map Flight Path vs Acutal

I’m curious why on the flight tracking map a flight path from lets say North America to East Asia tracks very far north.

The map appears to be a representation of earth from directly over head, and while I unerstand that the earth is round, the lines look like the flight is nearly doubling it’s travel.

A detail explanation would be appreciated.

Just Curious…

You almost answered your own question. The great circle route is the shortest distance between two points on the earth.
Here is a pretty cool site somebody made up:
I put in Kennedy-Narita but you can change those. This particular city pair shows up on a polar projection which gives you a great look at the great circle route.

So you’re saying that most or all flights to that part of the world travel over the arctic? Guess I always thougth accross Europe was the regular route.

There you go showing your Euro-centric view of life! :slight_smile:

The route also depends on the winds aloft, political boundaries, storms etc. The longer the flight the more variation.