Why Do We Use Knots and Nautical Mile?

A question that I have never had answered but has bugged me for a long time Is why do planes and pilots use knots and distance in nautical miles. (We’re not on the sea we’re above it!)

Can’t wait to maybe have my question answered.
Thanks in advanced.


Standards. Long distance navigation was always sea-based and used knots, so it was a logical decision for planes to use it to. Also, they are metric as opposed to Imperial, which has several advantages


Wow, thanks for the super speedy answer @Insertusernamehere


A “knot” is one nautical mile per hour and one nautical mile is defined as one minute of an angle along any of the earth’s great circles. The obvious benefit is that using knots, you get your displacement with respect to the earth’s coordinates. As an example, flying at 60 knots (groundspeed), east or west along the equator for one hour means you travel one degree of longitude in every hour. Usage of earth’s cordinates is beneficial in aerial and oceanic navigation.


Brilliant Thanks @Laura_Murphy


This is very interesting as many of my non-avgeek friends get extremely confused when I try to explain something to them and I use feet, nautical miles, knots, etc. and they just can’t understand. It is hard to explain to them why we wouldn’t use metres, km/h or something.

You get used to it really fast, and so it is hard to justify such a radical change to the industry.
Also, it has many benefits regarding navigation etc, as it has been detailed above.


beat me to it @Laura_Murphy . Very well said and yes also why we use knots and nautical mile in the maritime industry (hence the “nautical” mile) as explained above!!


@Laura_Murphy. MaxSez:

mar sin innis dhomhsa dèan de rìoghachd nan eilean a bheil thu a 'fuireach? tha na banrighrean Beurla agad mòr. daonnan aoibhneas gu bheil thu a 'tuiteam sìos.

Respond in the Queens own language please, Lol

I’ll response in PM. Haha


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