Did you know that planes do not fly directly over the Pacific Ocean?
Well, be it a private jet or commercial airliner, flying over this ocean is challenging for pilots that it is avoided at all costs.
Pacific Ocean is the World’s largest geographic feature touching the shorelines of North America, South America, Asia, Australia, and Antarctica.
It covers more than 166 million square kilometers (more than 64 million square miles) of the surface with an average depth of 4200 meters (14,000 ft).
This means for a plane that can handle a transpacific flight, it would take over 11-12 hours nonstop flight above the water body.
Flying over it requires a huge quantity of fuel due to its vast size and that is why planes instead choose what is known as “curved routes” because they are shorter than shooting straight across a distance.
While aviation experts say flying over oceans is safe than land due to past history, the Pacific is still not recommended.
The weather over the Pacific Ocean is said to be often turbulent, and there are many thunderstorms in parts of the ocean hence not safe.
“Most flights are planned to minimize the time spent over bodies of water, since storms are more likely to occur over water than land,” says an international aviation expert in his release.
Flat maps are somewhat confusing because the earth is spherical in shape and as a result, straight routes do not offer the shortest distance between two locations.
Multiple published journals note that aircraft prefer these curved routes because they are less likely to encounter obstacles and use less fuel than straight ones.
The other reason given is that as to why it is avoided is that in case of a crash, it would require a massive search and rescue operation to locate the wreckage.
In fact, there are no airfields for landing on the islands on this ocean in case of an emergency landing.
A flight from Japan and US to San Francisco for example uses a route that takes them to near Canada first.
This applies to Los Angeles and Beijing flights, they take an upward curved route that nears Canada, Alaska or Russia before reaching their destination in China.