55 votes
Accepted

Why do Air Force planes regularly fly in circles?

Generally speaking, Air Force (and military in general), aircraft will "orbit" (fly in circles around a given point) when the mission calls for them to be "on station" (nearby and ...
50 votes
Accepted

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

Short answer The routes on the screenshots are actually mostly straight. It's true aircraft routes are not always the shortest paths, because other considerations count too, e.g. weather and the ...
  • 68k
27 votes

Why do Air Force planes regularly fly in circles?

That is a tanker. Flying gas station. It will orbit for several hours, specified time and track. Various other aircraft (fighters, AWACS, JSTARS) will come up and refuel as needed. While you see the ...
  • 4,963
18 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 ...
  • 34.4k
7 votes

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

As you know, Earth is not flat, but is rather close to a sphere. So "the shortest path between two points is a straight line" does not actually work. The straight line between those two ...
  • 1,661
6 votes

Do private jets ever fly at FL510? If so, at what occasion?

Generally when you run right at service ceiling you are near the edge of the operating envelope with little energy margin if things go off the rails, so you are in a relatively dangerous place (also, ...
  • 110k
6 votes

Why do Air Force planes regularly fly in circles?

Taking off and climbing to altitude takes time. Having planes already in the air facilitates defense from a hypothetical attack and may deter that attack altogether when the attacker anticipates a ...
4 votes

Why didn't LO7898 fly near the North Pole?

Since you seem not to be aware, the Russian airspace is closed to LOT and others because of the war in Ukraine. Because of the war, EU countries (and a few more) closed their airspace to Russian ...
  • 31.6k
4 votes
Accepted

From what distance can a man hear and see an airplane flying overhead, without any equipments?

It depends on the altitude and orientation of the aircraft as some aircraft will have a larger cross sectional area depending on which way its facing and where you are standing. Depending on the ...
  • 96.5k
3 votes

From what distance can a man hear and see an airplane flying overhead, without any equipments?

Just now, there is a Lear 35A going directly over my house at Fl36. I could see the contrail, and just barely see the jet shape at the head of it. But only because I knew exactly where to look, and ...
  • 4,963
3 votes
Accepted

Why do B787 Dreamliners more often fly at 42,975 ft rather than at 43,000, according to flightradar24?

This is a guess based on superficial understanding of the systems involved, but I'll make it an answer as it seems to be all that's available unless an engineer who actually worked on the 787 ...
  • 54.6k
2 votes

How to calculate time-of-arrival of airplanes to a neighborhood of a position (with minimum probing)?

I don't think there's any "easy" way to do this, but your best bet is probably to create a data table of flights linking city pairs served by scheduled commercial carriers that may cross ...
  • 16.6k
1 vote
Accepted

Why do some military flight appear on Flightradar but some not?

Several key things define whether an aircraft shows on Flight Radar and any other tracking site: These sites do filter some aircraft and choose not to display them. A plane may choose to turn off ...
  • 8,860
1 vote

Why do aircraft on Flight Radar 24 jump around randomly sometimes?

The answers you have been given accurately describe why a historical flight's track may have discontinuities or errors. Those answers apply to any flight tracking website which depends on ADS-B or ...
  • 10.1k

Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible