0

# If you fly in a plane from New York to India is the distance flown less than flying from India to New York based on the rotation of the earth?

Wiki User

2015-07-15 19:40:37

The distance doesn't change, of course. There is an indirect effect on the travel speed, but it may not be what you think. The earth does rotate, but since you're on it, you are rotating with it. At sea level, the linear speed of the earth's surface at the equator is about 700 miles per hour. But if you jump in the air, the earth doesn't move at 700 mph below you: you were both moving to start with. That said, the rotation of the earth does affect the prevailing winds. This is because the surface speed of the earth at the equator is 700 mph, and at the poles it's zero. The difference in these speeds causes global wind patterns that basically swirl clockwise in the northern hemisphere and counterclockwise in the southern. So since the trip from NY to India is mostly in the northern hemisphere, if you travel west to east near the equator, you will be facing a headwind and the trip will take longer. But planes usually take advantage of the prevailing winds and stay north on one direction and near the equator in the other. So you will see some variations in travel time. You could have answered this question yourself by looking at a timetable on a travel site!

Some of the previous answer is correct, but much of it is way off base. First of all, the speed of the earth at the equator is not 700 mph, it's closer to 1667 kph, or 1042 mph...not that that has anything to do with answering your question. The point-to-point distance between New York and India remains constant, however, the flight paths aircraft take may vary on a daily basis depending on air traffic, winds, weather, preferred routes, etc. Regarding flight times, the winds that affect air travel are a function of high and low pressure systems along the route of flight. In the northern hemisphere, winds move clockwise around a high pressure system and counterclockwise around a low (and just the opposite in the Southern Hemisphere). Normally, and when possible, aircraft are flight planned to travel the shortest (great circle) distance between two points. They vary that route based on winds (location of highs and lows) when the wind speed is favorable enough, or adverse enough, to warrant incurring the extra distance. In the old days, these calculations were all done by hand, now it's a simple matter of letting a computer generate a flight plan based on the airline's preferences relative to time versus cost. Finally, you couldn't have found the answer to your question by looking at a travel site timetable. Published flight times are based on averages and are changed seasonally when the predominant winds (pressure patterns) cause a significant change in flight times. Hope that helps clear things up.

How did he figure how fast the Earth was rotating at the equator? Easy....the Earth is 25046 in circumference miles / 24 hours in a day which equals 1043.583333 mph. But actually this number may vary due to the 6 extra hours we lose every year and or the exact circumference of the Earth may not be 25046 mlies at all times, since the Earth is a very dynamic place ;-)

Wiki User

2015-07-15 19:40:37
Study guides

26 cards

➡️
See all cards
3.22
9 Reviews