It has been a month since the last Featured Map; a lot of background work has been happening during that interregum. More on that soon, but for now let's look at some flying that diverged considerably from the great circle path.
Several weeks ago a friend was on a United Airlines "non-stop" from Newark to San Francisco. Earlier flights had gone out uneventfully but by mid-afternoon on 11 July 2023 a solid wall of storms had developed not far inland from the east coast of the United States. Dodging the nasty weather, UA 2046 first turned southeast towards Bermuda, then followed the coast well off-shore before turning west over northern Florida.
The aircraft was a Boeing 777-224ER (N78017) powered by GE90 engines, with plenty of range to fly the circuitous route, but the planned flight time was well over eight hours so FAR 117 kicked in and the flight either needed to be augmented (a relief pilot added) or, as it happened, the flight diverted to Houston for a fresh flight crew. The remainder of the flight was uneventful.
Several subsequent flights on the same route were cancelled or similarly delayed.
Today's Featured Map shows both the geodesic ("great circle") path from Newark to San Francisco and the circuitous path flown by UA 2046, which added over 42% to the distance travelled.
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Karl L. Swartz.
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