Why don’t planes fly over the Pacific Ocean?
There are some exceptions but most commercial airlines do not fly directly over the Pacific Ocean to connect the United States and Asia. They choose to follow “curved” routes that hug land bodies. You might wonder if commercial airlines fly over the Pacific Ocean unless you are familiar with commercial aviation. You might believe that the Pacific Ocean is the straightest route, which makes it more attractive for passengers and commercial airlines.
Curved routes are shorter than straight routes
Curved routes are generally shorter than straight routes, which is the main reason why planes can’t fly over Pacific Ocean. Flat maps can be confusing, as the Earth isn’t flat. It’s actually spherical. Straight routes are not the best for shortest distances between two places. A curved route will allow commercial airlines to fly from the United States and Asia to the best fuel-efficient flight.
Conduct an experiment using a globe of Earth to see it for yourself. You will need a globe of the Earth to identify two places, such as the middle area of the United States or the middle of Asia. To create a straight line, attach a piece or string to connect between the two locations. Once you are done, mark the distance with a marker. It’s now time to create a curve connecting the two locations. Use the same string or cordage to connect the locations by creating a curve. If you follow these steps, you will find that the curved route is actually shorter than the straight one.
Curved Routes are safer
Curved routes between the United States and Asia (and vice versa), are safer than straight routes. Commercial airlines usually fly a Northern curving route that passes over Canada and Alaska. They spend less time over Pacific Ocean and can make emergency landings if necessary.
According to the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, planes spend approximately 25,212,000 hours in air each year. Commercial airlines fly straight over the Pacific Ocean for routes between the United States and Asia. Because they are shorter and more efficient, they choose to fly curved routes.