Re: longest flight?

From:         kls@ohare.Chicago.COM (Karl Swartz)
Organization: Chicago Software Works, Menlo Park, California
Date:         18 Sep 96 13:50:34 
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>Just like to know which flight is the longest scheduled in the world. Is
>it United's chicago-hong kong?

The longest schedule flight is a recurring theme, yet I couldn't find
the most recent version in the archives of sci.aeronautics.airliners

In terms of distance (not necessarily time), I suspect UA's ORD-HKG
flight (7786 miles) is indeed the longest non-stop that operates both
directions.  That qualifier is necessary because SAA flies, or flew,
a non-stop JFK-JNB (Johannesburg, South Africa; 7968 miles) flight
using a 747-400.  However, due to headwinds and reduced performance
due to altitude and heat at JNB, the westbound flight requires a fuel

(An interesting side-bar is that JFK-JNB is one of the few interesting
routes outside the Pacific between Hawaii and North America which needs
180 minute ETOPS to operate with a twin, assuming any twin had enough
range.  There's a "hole" in the Atlantic just north of the equator for
120 minute ETOPS, but most interesting flights can skirt the edges of
it and thus not require the more stringent 180 minute ETOPS rating.)

ORD-HKG is itself not with qualifications -- United will not operate
this flight year-round because winter headwinds preclude the west-
bound flight from operating non-stop.

The longest scheduled flight that operates both ways, all year, is
probably LAX-SYD (7487 miles), flown by United, Qantas, and probably
Air New Zealand.  SFO-SYD has a longer flight time but is actually a
bit shorter (7416 miles).

>BTW another great circle calculator is at

That's probably the nicest of several others I know of.  However, none
of them draw the maps -- that's what I really wanted, enough to write
it myself!

Also, the one you mention doesn't give the correct answers, at least
not when you specify airport codes.  It seems he is taking a value
like 41d 59m and interpreting it as 41.59, which is not the same!
(His database has a reasonably accurate location for SFO, but the
location displayed when you request a distance from SFO is in Portola
Valley, west of Palo Alto and about 25 miles WSW of SFO's true

Karl Swartz	|Home
Moderator of sci.aeronautics.airliners -- Unix/network work pays the bills