Where am I?

1 min read

Some useful links for the airline traveler:

Flight tracking appears to be limited to flights in and out of North America.

My usual route to and from New York:

SQ22 Singapore to Newark
SQ21 Newark to Singapore

Best Route – Circle Mapper

But when flying to Toronto I go by Cathay…

Airport Codes
SINSingapore – WSSS
HKGHong Kong – VHHH
ANC – Anchorage
LGA – La Guardia
CGK – Jakarta
MNL – Manila

Question: why does SQ21 fly north-east when the circle mapper shows the most direct route is via the north-west?

The prevailing winds are from west to east for most locations in the United States. Therefore, it is more economical to fly to the east, taking advantage of the prevailing tail winds, for a cheaper and faster flight over a given distance.

By the way – Since the earth rotates about 1000 mph near the equator and about 700 mph at 45 degrees latitude, from west to east, it may be tempting to think that this affects the relative ease with which the plane may travel in a particular direction. However, the airplane has inertia, one interpretation of which means the airplane assumes the earth’s frame of reference, moving right along with the earth’s surface, and does not gain any advantage from this motion in travel to another point within this same frame of reference. However, rockets being launched into orbit AROUND the earth do gain an energetic advantage from this rotation, and are therefore launched towards the east almost without exception. Have you ever noticed that the space shuttle always curves out over the Atlantic, to the east, shortly after its initially vertical take-off?