Longest possible flight on a single heading?

Discussion in 'Cool Places to Fly' started by IK04, Aug 10, 2019.

  1. IK04

    IK04 Pattern Altitude

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    After watching this guy take up a challenge to walk across an entire country in a straight line:



    I am wondering if there is somewhere in North America where you can take off and land and never deviate from a single heading. The planning for this challenge would require a reconnaissance that would take into consideration terrain, airspace, weather and aircraft performance.

    This would be a full fuel load, not some short hop. That would be cheating.

    Finding suitable landing surfaces might be an issue.

    I'll do some chart recon and see if this is possible.
     
  2. pdonahue

    pdonahue Pre-Flight

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    If the crosswinds cooperate, I'm sure there are lots of options. I'd be surprised if there are any where you can fly a particular course (including the two runways), though.
     
  3. EdFred

    EdFred Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Yeah....just follow one of the lines of variation. You'll always be N or S magnetically.

    Though I guess we need to define it as course because any change in wind would change the heading.
     
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  4. Arrow76R

    Arrow76R Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Check out "rhumb line" navigation.
     
  5. bflynn

    bflynn Final Approach

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    I know someone who claims to have taken off and landed at the same airport in a Cessna 150 and never changed course. It requires a slow airplane, a very heavy headwind and great big brass ones.
     
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  6. Greg Bockelman

    Greg Bockelman Administrator Management Council Member

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    Why “great big brass ones”? Very little risk in this.
     
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  7. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Touchdown! Greaser!

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    My closest came to mind immediately. Colorado Leadville LXV to Buena Vista AEJ. Takeoff LXV runway 16. Turn left 10 degrees, fly 25-26 miles, land AEJ runway 15.

    Better yet, since AEJ is 2000 feet lower than LXV, after climbing to an initial safe altitude, it's pretty much a 25 mile final with a gradual descent.
     
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  8. bflynn

    bflynn Final Approach

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    Because you will be landing into a head wind strong enough to push a 150 backwards. Any change in wind direction will cause strong directional changes.
     
  9. Ryanb

    Ryanb Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Not exactly. What happens aloft isn’t what happens at the surface. Not to mention ‘slow flight’ is very slow in a 150, it wouldn’t take that much wind to put the airplane in reverse.
     
  10. Greg Bockelman

    Greg Bockelman Administrator Management Council Member

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    Yeah, this.
     
  11. bflynn

    bflynn Final Approach

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    Something in the neighborhood of 50kts+ if all you did was take off, climb and then descend and land at minimum speed. I have never seen low level winds aloft at those speeds without significant gusts on the runway. Granted, that’s only 10 years of observation, so maybe there is some special circumstance I’m not aware of, but I don’t think you can get wind that strong and not have it be an impact to landing.
     
  12. Somedudeintn

    Somedudeintn Cleared for Takeoff

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    Now I have a new challenge for this winter.
     
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  13. azure

    azure Final Approach

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    There are airports where that would not even be a challenge. KOSC comes to mind.
     
  14. IK04

    IK04 Pattern Altitude

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    Using the same airport is totally cheating. Requires no route planning.

    That's the idea. With a Northerly wind, that scenario could be flown on a single heading...
     
  15. flyingron

    flyingron Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Except in certain degenerate cases, a constant heading doesn't take you in a straight line.
     
  16. IK04

    IK04 Pattern Altitude

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    Yep. That's why it is a planning challenge. Gotta do the TVMDC thing!
     
  17. denverpilot

    denverpilot Tied Down

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    Hmm yeah. Actually sounds fun. Especially if the runway is into the headwind.

    You know this but for others, this is also the “oh s*** this thing won’t climb” escape from LXV. Hahaha. Gentle turn down valley... go land at Buena Vista, and rethink your departure decisions today. It’s probably way too hot out for whatever you’re flying. :)
     
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  18. flyingron

    flyingron Ejection Handle Pulled

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    There's more to it than just the true vs. magnetic issue. Let's completely forget about magnetic for a moment. Get out a globe. Pick two points on the earth. Unless they are both on the same line of longitude (or both on the equatory), you'll find that the points on the line connecting them change bearing constantly.

    For example, pick two points on the 45 degree north latitude line. You'll see that the line isn't due east-west. It arcs up towards the north pole. and then arcs down towards the far point.
     
  19. bflynn

    bflynn Final Approach

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    at least around here, a headwind is never constant, especially near the ground.
     
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  20. IK04

    IK04 Pattern Altitude

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    Correct.

    Make the course an arc so that the magnetic heading remains the same. That is an added planning step that requires some backward planning from the destination.
     
  21. SkyDog58

    SkyDog58 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    It would have to be done in a Cirrus so you could do a straight in and not enter the pattern.
     
  22. alanbreck

    alanbreck Pre-Flight

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    That's not impressive. I've done 4 or 5 stop-and-go's "at the same airport ... and never changed course". A Quad City CH2 and a 6000' runway. It'll take off, fly straight a bit, and land, all in 1000'.
     
  23. MtPJimB

    MtPJimB Pre-takeoff checklist

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    KGSP to KAVP is 493nm taking off on Rwy 04 from GSP, heading 040, land on Rwy 04 at AVP.
     
  24. denverpilot

    denverpilot Tied Down

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    Well yeah, you might have to do some of that pilot s***. Haha.

    Taxiing out in the silliness will be harder than launching into it and then flying backward and then creeping back up on the runway and landing.

    It’ll all go wrong when the airplane is broadside to a wind like that. :)