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For what reason Don't Planes Fly Over Antarctica?

Why Don't Planes Fly Over Antarctica?

planes forget about trains and all the bills for a moment because our purview today is to slide up that weird little porthole window and other people in the seat behind it and peek out at the vast expanse of cloud and the wonderment of the atmosphere whilst trying to stare down at how impossibly tiny everything looks from 35,000 feet in the air the thing is the mile-high club is an incredibly unique perspective where we can look down at our awesome planet and stare in awe at the diversity about homeworld jungles deserts oceans and high-rise metropolis but have you ever wondered where all the polar biomes are had you ever wondered why planes don't fly over Antarctica let's find out.
why planes don't fly over antarctica
why planes don't fly over Antarctica
the curious amongst you that clip was from 1983's Antarctica also known as South Pole story an incredibly moving film by Carrillo Sakura Hara about the survival of a group of loyal and loving Sakhalin Huskies of an ill-fated 1958 Japanese expedition to the South Pole and yeah more on the topic of the Antarctic we may as well highlight one of the most moving and emotional tales in expeditionary history seriously that movie will make you cry but hey let's put ourselves together for a moment and get back to the ever pending mystery before us.

so why exactly does the South Pole get no love when it comes to air time what about the North Pole is that the same way well no not at all ever since the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the tentative relaxation of aviation agreements between Russia and its Arctic neighbors the North Pole has been the Silk Road for Airlines ferrying passengers across the top of the world to Asia the Middle East and then back again.

but come on that's not exactly fair is it what about the South Pole what about Antarctica if you're looking for the long and short answer to this question on the surface it is relatively straightforward money one of the major reasons as to why a southern pole isn't the hive of air traffic that it could and should be is because it just isn't economically viable enough to build an entire aviation economy around it as the old saying goes time is money and a plane flying over the Antarctic just for the sake of an otherwise different landscape simply doesn't cut the mustard however whilst that is the short answer there is a little bit more to it rather than just the number-crunching of commercial aviation you see the reason why it doesn't make economic ascent is because, for lack of a better term, Antarctica is just too far out of the way

and rather than just economics playing their part here it's much simpler its geography due to the geographical arrangement of the three most populated southern continents flying over Antarctica simply isn't the most efficient route for any airline to take and well when you're flying a steel bird over 30,000 feet in the air with finite fuel to propel you along your journey the most direct route is probably always the safest bet right at the bottom of the world the southern hemisphere Achill continents of South America Africa and Australia form a rough triangle and the simplest passage along that triangle is that shortest leg between the three or four of their largest airport simply.

well it misses Antarctica it flies right over it given the fact that yeah the Pacific Ocean is kind of freaking huge the thing is though those routes are entirely hypothetical at this point also given the fact that once again the economics of aviation dictate just how sustainable a flight path needs to be before it's worthwhile running a regular commercial airliner that would be Sydney to Johannesburg when it's eros and all Santiago you see while there certainly are some direct flights that use those routes they're hella expensive and none of them you see travel over Antarctica.

Hey, now those annoying connecting flights are starting to make a little more sense right but there is one more deciding factor in this stick-in-the-mud of aviation and surprisingly other than the very clear-cut mechanics of you know geography guess who's to blame yeah of course you guessed it it's the United States of America wait what well yeah although the short answer to this question certainly is money the long answer to this question is the USA and before you get all uppity don't worry whine your neck in because it's a good thing let's cast that gaze back through the raging sands of time to the year 1964 a time where the United States Federal Aviation agency called

the shots and still do to this day up until that point in time there was a very strict aviation rule that stated twin-engine planes could not fly for more than 60 minutes away from a diversion Airport in the case of an emergency engine failure that makes sense right given the era, the rule came about down to the most common engine of the time the notoriously unreliable piston engine that's the reason why for the early days of transoceanic aviation most planes were flying boats it was way safer to make sure your plane had the ability to turn into a boat if you know one of their engines just gave up halfway across the Atlantic and also you'd only ever be sixty minutes away from the nearest airport given the law and that's great but then at the time of 1964 enter the jet engine and enter the Golden Age of civilian airliners gone are the days of planes being boats.

now it's the era of jet setting and enter an aviation law known as tops extended-range twin-engine performance of this law gradually over the mid-80s up until now has allowed airliners to increase their range over time first 120 minutes away from the nearest airport then a hundred eighty.

and now the furthest ETOPS rating is a staggering three hundred and thirty minutes now you can in aviation law fly with a single-engine for six hours poof Thank You ETOPS yay that means you could fly a single-engine plane from the southernmost tip of South America to Antarctica and then back again what for well I don't know just because we can to see the Penguins research I guess why else but wait hold on a minute how does a single-engine with a flight limit of six hours have anything to do with Antarctica well you see it doesn't unless you are as we said a research scientist and all penguin enthusiasts in fact given the parameters of this question just for the sake of flying over Antarctica on any one of the previously mentioned southern hemisphere called flight paths you'd need a commercial airliner with four engines just to make the trip possible and worthwhile and then guess

what we're back to the short answer again they cost a hell of a lot of money and not many people want to fly that route you see some flights do come quite close Auckland to Buenos Aires is of a similar distance but still it doesn't make any sense to fly over Antarctica it's the same with Sydney to Johannesburg or Sydney to Santiago close but no cigar you see whilst there is a lot more to this question in terms of logistics and more importantly, logic sometimes unless there's money involved things just don't happen the way that they could so sorry Antarctica until you're a sprawling polar metropolis no commercial airlines for you.

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