# Flight Myths Busted: Why Planes Don't Fly Straight!

## This is true for two-dimensional figures on a flat surface like a piece of paper.

By: Tupaki Desk | 26 Oct 2024 5:41 AM GMTIt's a common misconception that airplanes fly in straight lines. While it might seem logical to take the shortest path between two points, the reality is far more complex. The Earth's spherical shape and the nature of flight paths introduce a fascinating twist to this seemingly simple concept.

In Euclidean geometry, which we learn in school, the shortest distance between two points is indeed a straight line. This is true for two-dimensional figures on a flat surface like a piece of paper. However, our planet isn't flat. It's a sphere, and this introduces the concept of geodesics.

A geodesic is the shortest path between two points on a curved surface. On Earth, the shortest distance between two points isn't a straight line, but rather a curved path that follows the curvature of the planet. This is why airplanes appear to curve on maps, even though they are flying in the most direct route possible.

To understand this concept better, consider the image provided. It shows two paths between New York and Moscow. The straight line on the map is the shortest distance in Euclidean geometry. However, the curved path, which follows the Earth's curvature, is the actual shortest distance traveled by an airplane. This is because the airplane is flying along a geodesic, the path of least resistance on a spherical surface.

So, the next time you look at a flight map, remember that the seemingly curved paths are not a result of inefficient flight paths, but rather a testament to the fascinating interplay between geometry and geography. Planes may not fly in straight lines, but they do follow the most efficient path across our curved planet.