Why do Transatlantic Flights Curve?

Here is an example:

I don’t understand. Is it like the gravity effect? The rotation of the earth effect?


It’s something to do with the rotation of the earth and the curvature of it. All I know is that it is faster to go that way than it is to go straight.


Pretty sure it’s this. Coriolis Effect

No, that’s different. That’s when it is going up I believe.

They do not curve. Remember that the earth is almost a sphere and the flight plan is being shown on a flat map.


Even if there is a difference in latitude, (which there almost always is), it’s still affected.


It is due to the curvature of the earth. You can prove this by getting a piece of string and a globe


The earth is round, that is a flat map. It has to have that effect to show the correct distance of the flight.


Its actually completely straight. The way the map is projected flat distorts it. you can use google maps and right click anywhere (click measure distance) then go to another country and click there. then zoom out all the way and click satellite (or maps)


Basically what I said :)

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This pic I posted yesterday shows it in practice:

Whilst it may look curved on a flat map, on a globe it will look like a direct straight line and is, in effect, the shortest route.

A lot more maths involved in this if you go deeper :)


Yeah, just added the distance part to it.

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Oh yeah thanks for adding on. I don’t mean to sound snobby :) Sorry, that was a pretty obnoxious comment by me


That makes sense.

I always thought it was to maintain radar coverage.


They ensure that aircrafts maintain separation over the ocean where there is little radar coverage. So I think aircraft’s flying to the west (like from Europe to America) flies over the top like it’s seen in your picture and aircrafts also travelling to the East (like from America to Europe flies under because there is no radar coverage where the ocean is. 😉

Flys under what?

@CptNathanHope, is it new, or does Air Fance have service to BOS?

MaxSez: Thank you @AR_AR… and the few other educated people who understand basic science. And no the Coriolanus effect does not effect the trajectory of
A bullet or an artillery round. Its effect on weaponry is negligible. Read a book lately anyone, Google is your friend.

Great circle route, the shortest course between two points on the surface of a sphere. It lies in a plane that intersects the sphere’s centre and was known by mathematicians before the time of Columbus but not the IF great unwashed))