Today, 22 December 2015, is the winter solstice and thus the shortest day of the year, at least in the northern hemisphere. (It is the summer solstice and longest day of the year for the southern hemisphere—lucky them!) Some calendars show yesterday as the big (er, little) day. This is because the solstice occurs at the moment when the sun is exactly above the Tropic of Capricorn, and reverses its apparent trek to the south and starts moving north again. This year, that moment occurred at 4:48 UTC on 22 December 2015— 11:48 p.m. EST on 21 December 2015, so for the United States and much of the Americas the solstice occurred a day earlier on the calendar.
The shortest day seems a good day to feature the shortest commercial flight, Loganair's 2.8-km flight between Westray and Papa Westray in the Orkney Isles. This flight, with a block time (gate to gate) of just two minutes and flight times as short as 47 seconds, is flown with a Britten Norman Islander BN-2 and is part of a loop from Kirkwall, operated from Westray to Papa Westray first thing in the morning and the opposite direction mid-afternoon.
Today's Featured Map shows this shortest flight, along with the trip from and back to Kirkwall.
Information on this site may not be accurate or current and is not valid for flight planning or navigation. No warranty of fitness for any purpose is made or implied. Flight planning and navigation should only be done using official charts.
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Karl L. Swartz.
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