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139 votes
Accepted

What is this plane flying in overlapping circles pattern doing?

It's acting as a television broadcast relay for the 2020 Tour de Wallonie cycling race, taking place in Belgium from August 16 through August 19. The flight paths you posted correspond roughly to the ...
TypeIA's user avatar
  • 14.4k
107 votes
Accepted

Why would a flight from North America to Asia sometimes fly over the Atlantic?

Those routes are extremely similar. They're basically two almost-a-straight-line routes over the arctic ocean, except that the second one has deviated a bit to the right, so that it's gone just on ...
E.P.'s user avatar
  • 1,333
90 votes

Why would a flight from North America to Asia sometimes fly over the Atlantic?

I took Hewgill's picture and added the routes in the OP (I just eyeballed this, so I won't guarantee accuracy). With the FlightAware maps it looks like drastically different routes, but from this ...
Eugene Styer's user avatar
  • 3,709
85 votes

Why would a flight from North America to Asia sometimes fly over the Atlantic?

The direct route from YYZ to PEK flies almost over the north pole: Sometimes, routes need to deviate a bit from the "direct" route, due to prevailing winds or other traffic. If your route from YYZ ...
Greg Hewgill's user avatar
  • 9,152
74 votes
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Why do airliners hug the coast on flights?

The reason is that the aircraft has filed a route along airways and not a direct (great circle) route. In most countries, an IFR flight cannot just file a direct route and they have to use airways. An ...
Bianfable's user avatar
  • 55.9k
72 votes
Accepted

Why would a plane fly in circles for 6-7 hours and then land?

The aircraft F-GJFA is operated by Aero-Sotravia and is used (among other things) for live broadcasting of TV signals during sporting events: 5 dedicated planes are available, they have been ...
Bianfable's user avatar
  • 55.9k
54 votes
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Why don't most planes fly in a straight path?

This is counterintuitive. Ignoring Earth curvature not shown on maps, the routes which appear curved on the screenshots are actually nearly straight. Aircraft routes may not be strictly straight (...
mins's user avatar
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45 votes
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Why are westbound transatlantic routes located hundreds of km away from eastbound routes?

The reason this is done is due to the winds aloft. The Jet Stream is a powerful current of air that blows in a west to east direction. Airplanes crossing the Atlantic from west to east take advantage ...
GdD's user avatar
  • 54k
43 votes

Why would an airliner make a 90° course change?

This answer assumes the manouevring was related to the Military training activities going on off-shore. While plausible, there is another plausible explanition in ymb1's answer. That was a British ...
DeltaLima's user avatar
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43 votes
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Why don't flights fly towards their landing approach path sooner?

In general, IFR flights through controlled airspace use airways (highways in the sky) to fly between waypoints. The particular flight you show looks like it arrived via the N774 airway to a waypoint ...
Bianfable's user avatar
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42 votes
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Why would the Pakistan airspace closure cancel flights not headed to Pakistan itself?

To give an example of how flights can be affected by this in ways to make them impossible, Iranian airspace is closed from sunset to sunrise (unless things have changed recently). Any aircraft that ...
jwenting's user avatar
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41 votes

Why aren't there direct flights connecting Honolulu, Hawaii and London, UK?

Simply, because no airline has determined the route makes economic sense. A poll doesn't necessarily translate into a ready market of passengers. Sure, lots of people might check a box on a survey ...
Zach Lipton's user avatar
  • 8,286
36 votes

Why would a flight from North America to Asia sometimes fly over the Atlantic?

The flight did not fly across the Atlantic. Rather, you're seeing the results of stereographic projection. More specifically, the Earth is Spherical. Navigation needs to be thought of on the basis of ...
kevin's user avatar
  • 39.7k
34 votes
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Why would a flight no longer considered airworthy be redirected like this?

There could be a lot of reasons for this... EU closed airspace to 737's MAX 8's on March 12 They needed to go into a holding pattern until ATC figured out where to put them They needed to be in the ...
Ron Beyer's user avatar
  • 36.2k
33 votes

Flying upside down without feeling it

This sounds like a barrel roll. This is a corkscrew-like flight path in which the airplane rotates around an axis between its longitudinal and pitch axes by flying along a path which lies on the ...
Peter Kämpf's user avatar
29 votes

Why did my LGA-ORD flight make an S-shaped turn round the time it was passing a storm?

I find it hard to believe that this was a holding pattern of some sort. Believe it. An hour before landing would be about the point at which the aircraft will start its descent to its destination. ...
CatchAsCatchCan's user avatar
28 votes

Why might this trans-pacific flight not follow a more direct route?

Looks like they were avoiding a storm system from Oregon north into Canada.
TomMcW's user avatar
  • 28.6k
25 votes
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Why has flight UA106 such a strange predicted flight path?

As @mins suggested, it seems to be a wrong longitude of a waypoint in the Shannon Control area. I assume it is a hemisphere error (they used East instead of West). If the longitude of the waypoint is ...
DeltaLima's user avatar
  • 83.5k
23 votes
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Why did this aircraft fly in this pattern over Southern Italy?

That flight pattern is almost certainly aerial surveying / mapping work and it's quite common all over the world. Companies like Google, Bing, etc pay for low to medium altitude photography and ...
Romeo_4808N's user avatar
  • 73.8k
23 votes
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Why don't aircraft fly direct via oceanic airspace from UK to Iceland?

I don't think they are specifically avoiding Shanwick Oceanic airspace. The reason seems to be related to the airways in the Scottish airspace. In general, you have to file a route using airways when ...
Bianfable's user avatar
  • 55.9k
21 votes

Why did my LGA-ORD flight make an S-shaped turn round the time it was passing a storm?

Based on your provided flight info, I looked up the track history on flightradar and did see some potential traffic conflict that might have tempted the controller to route your plane that way. The ...
kevin's user avatar
  • 39.7k
20 votes

Why does Turkish Airlines avoid Israel when going to Amman, but not on the return leg?

I am not sure anybody but Turkish Airline's dispatcher can give the exact reason, but there is a couple of possible reasons that have nothing to do with politics or safety: The combination of ...
Jan Hudec's user avatar
  • 56.3k
19 votes

Why don't most planes fly in a straight path?

That is a straight path. It is the map projection being used that is curved. This is because Earth is a round planet, not a flat surface, and creating accurate maps have always been a problem. Take a ...
Mike Sowsun's user avatar
  • 37.8k
18 votes

Why would the Pakistan airspace closure cancel flights not headed to Pakistan itself?

Not mentioned in the other answers is simply logistics coordination. If you can't fly over Pakistan, that suggests that maybe you have to fly somewhere else. Perhaps flying around means an ...
BowlOfRed's user avatar
  • 5,611
17 votes

Why are westbound transatlantic routes located hundreds of km away from eastbound routes?

Wikipedia article about North Atlantic Tracks says it is to avoid jet stream winds (when flying west) or use it (when flying east): They are aligned in such a way as to minimize any head winds and ...
Peter M. - stands for Monica's user avatar
17 votes
Accepted

How are airline pilots assigned routes? Are there easy and tough ones?

The answers to your questions vary greatly depending on the individual airline, type of equipment, what kind of flying they do, as well as contractual and union (if any) work rules. The one thing that ...
Terry's user avatar
  • 39.2k

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