# Why can't planes fly straight up?

+1 vote
asked Dec 5, 2020 in Aircraft
Why can't planes fly straight up?

answered Dec 5, 2020 by (7,630 points)
Planes cannot fly straight up because of the force of gravity that pushes down on the plane.

The plane does not have enough fuel or power to be able to fly straight up like a rocket does as a rocket uses a lot more power and fuel to get into the air and defy gravity.

A plane can only fly partially straight up to get into the air and then basically the planes engines act like a vacuum to suck the plane through the air until it reaches it's destination.

The temperature at 35000 feet is on average of negative 60 degrees F which is very cold and the higher up in altitude you get the colder it gets.

It's very cold up in the air at 35000 feet and the further up you go the colder it gets.

The reason planes fly at 35000 feet in the air is the air is much thinner at 35000 feet so the plane flies easier and with less drag which also saves on fuel.

Less fuel is needed at 35,000 feet to hit the same speed as it would if the plane flew below 35000 feet.

A plane cannot fly faster than the earth rotates as the earth rotates at least 2 times faster than a plane can fly.

The plane is also affected by the earths spin as well and as the Earth itself rotates, it takes the air with it (thanks, gravity!).

That also includes the air through which planes fly.

At the equator, the Earth spins about twice as fast as a commercial jet can fly.

That rate slows the closer you get to the poles, but regardless, it's always going to be faster than a plane.

The reason planes don't fly straight across the Atlantic is due to math and physics.

Planes don't fly straight across the Atlantic because the circumference of the Earth is a lot further around the equator than it is at higher or lower latitudes towards the poles of the earth, such is the spherical shape of our planet.

Flying around the smaller circumference of the Earth is called the “Great Circle Route” and also very noticeable for flights from the U.S. to Asia that will fly far above Alaska and Siberia rather than what would appear to be a straight line.

If you think about drawing a line around a globe in the middle where it is widest, versus towards the North or South poles, the differentiation of distance begins to become apparent, and it not only saves a huge amount of time but also fuel.

It makes much more sense to not fly straight across the Atlantic.