Why Don’t Planes Fly Over Antarctica?
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Why Don’t Planes Fly Over Antarctica?

February 1, 2020

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 have you ever wondered why planes don’t
fly over Antarctica let’s find out hello Internet what’s going on and once again
welcome back to the most inquisitive channel on YouTube life’s biggest
questions as per usual I’ll be honest modify our voice Jack Finch’s today we
asked the question why don’t planes 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
really the same way well no not at all in fact ever since the dissolution of
the Soviet Union and the tentative relaxation of aviation agreements
between Russia and its Arctic neighbours 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 it goes without saying that 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 piston engine which was notoriously unreliable that’s the reason why for the
early days of transoceanic aviation most planes were literally 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 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 well there we have it folks our long as your answer to the question why
don’t planes fly over Antarctica what do you guys think do agree disagree you
have any more to add then let us know your thoughts down in the comment
section below as well as any intriguing insights you may have on the matter
before depart from today’s video let’s first take a quick look at some of your
more creative comments over the past few days lone wolf says what if Jack Finch
was really just a Finch that speaks into a microphone
cheep-cheep now well unfortunately it looks like my feathers have been well
and truly ruffled so on that note that’s we’ve got time for today’s video Cheers
sticking up all the way until the end if you were a fan of this video or just
life’s biggest questions we’ll then please be a tit and hit that
thumbs up and as well as I subscriber and I’ll be seeing you in the next one
as per usual I’ve ignored to somebody floating voice Jack Finch you’ve been
watching life’s biggest questions and until next time you take it

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