Plane rout over Baltimore



I live in baltimore and I constatntly see planes flying at crusing altitude in a specific rout that goes from east (from the Atlantic I assume) to west. My guess is that these planes must be coming from Europe and going to the west-coast? How can I find out what this seemingly major rout is?


Expand the map of your nearest airports. Look at the highways (not labeled) to figure out where you are. There is a six minute delay on FA. Try to look at the plane through binoculars.

They probably are not euro flights going to west coast. Although they may be heading somewhere more east. They also might be military flights which will not show up on FA. I live in Washington about 150nm south of the Canadian border and see euro flights going to California. Sometimes they come down over Chicago, it just depends on the wind.


In addition to Rob’s (wazzu90) reply, a quick look at this website will show you that Baltimore is the absolute last place that a west coast bound aircraft coming out of the EU or middle east would fly over.


Welcome to the forums, chaka8!

Do these planes fly so high that they often leave contrails? Are these planes flying directly above you (90 degrees), close to the horizon (0 degrees), or halfway between the horizon and directly above (45 degrees), or somewhere between halfway and the extremes?

There is a high altitude airway J110 that extends from Philadelphia to Indianapolis. This airway is about 35 miles to the north of Baltimore so it would be between the horizon and halfway up in the sky - probably closer to the horizon. This traffic would probably be Philadelphia traffic traveling to the heartland and points beyond. There could be some traffic from Boston and some New York, but I think those planes would probably use J230 which is to the north of J110.

If you can give us more specific information about your location in Charm City, and where the traffic is in relation to you, we can better help you to identify the origin of the traffic.

You can go to, type-in BAL in the “Location Lookup” field in the upper right and [enter]. This will show you BWI on a VFR sectional chart. Then click on the “Enroute H10” link in the upper right area of the chart. This will change the chart from VFR sectional view to the High Altitude chart. Zoom out two clicks and you’ll see J110 in the upper area of the chart.


Most European/West Coast flights, as mentioned earlier, do fly much further north. In many cases, again, depending on the winds), they enter USA airspace in over Washington, Idaho, and Montana. Going to Europe, they are a little further east when leaving the USA airspace.

Here’s some examples:



Can’t I copy-paste from word here. It won’t let me…?


Thanks everyone.

  1. The planes leave contrails, usually double ones; therefore I assume that they are haven’t taken off recently.
  2. I am about 10 miles north of downtown Baltimore.
  3. The planes are flying slightly north of me on an East-West trajectory at about 75 degrees above the horizon.
    The only rout that more or less matches is indeed the J110, but couldn’t they be European flights to the Midwest or southern US?
    does the skyvector site include international flights?



You can copy and paste text from word. Images, no.



The flight volume is sometimes high. This morning I saw 4 planes, with contrails, flying one after the other at distances that the contrail was not too far from touching the next plane, but each flew also a bit to the north of the other…Would a Philadelphia-Indianapolis volume be so high?


Not likely. As mentioned above, European flights fly an arc path over Greenland/Iceland enroute to the states and travel in a southwesterly direction in the states.

Skyvector just shows the navigation charts that all pilots use, whether they are domestic or international.

Could be. once the planes get to Indianapolis, they could continue on to St. Louis, Kansas City, Denver, etc.


Depending on your location and orientation (ie. your “north” may really be northwest) these could also be flights on J75. It runs Northeast to Southwest and is a major route for aircraft from the BOS/NYC area to the Carolinas, N.Florida, etc…


Use the website I previously referenced to answer that question, or:

  1. Get a globe.
  2. Get a piece of string.
  3. Place one end of the string on a foreign city on the globe such as in the UK or EU.
  4. Stretch the other end of the string onto a city in the US.
  5. Pull the ends of the string in order to remove any slack and make it conform to the globe’s curvature.
  6. Marvel at the flight track represented by the string!

Do it between Beijing and Newark/JFK!


If the planes are flying over you at 75 degrees high in the sky, and you’re only 10 miles north of Baltimore, I really don’t think that it could be J110 traffic. As trafly suggested, I would suspect that perhaps you’re looking in a northwesterly direction and seeing planes traveling in a southwesterly direction on J75, or maybe you’re more like 20 miles north of Baltimore city limits. Something just isn’t adding up. Perhaps you could divulge more specific information on your location - like city/town, nearby crossroads or shopping center…?


I’ve been watching the traffic flying on J110 over KTHV (York, PA). Here’s a sample of the various flights I’ve seen over the last half hour or so: