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So here's the question: how fast can you circumnavigate the world on regularly scheduled,
commercial flights?
And before you you try to convince an airline to start a flight around the North Pole, which
technically would cross every line of longitude, there are some rules, and they're not even
my rules.
The good news is that I get to flex my French because these are the rules of the Fédération
Aéronautique Internationale.
The bad news is that to set a record you need to fly 22,750 miles—the length of the tropic
of cancer.
That number may seem rather arbitrarily set, but as the governing body of all aviation
competitions, the FAI gets to decide the rules, but those are really the only rules.
As long as you start and finish in the same place, travel that distance, and take only
commercial airlines, you can set this record.
So, strategy.
You're not going to want to go this way… at all.
You see, between here and here the winds blow strongly to the east while between here and
here they blow slightly less strongly to the west, and then that mirrors in the southern
So, you could fly all between the tropic of Cancer and Capricorn, that is, if you don't
want to break a record.
You see, not only are these easterly winds weaker than the westerly winds further north
and south, there's also just not much aviation in this area of the world.
More than half of the world's population lives north of the Tropic of Cancer which means
that, by sticking in this area, you get more flights flying faster.
But the biggest difficulty is scheduling.
You see, flight schedules are just arranged in a way that can make it really difficult
to find short connections.
For example, nearly all of the flights from North America to Europe leave in the evening.
If you factor in time change, these flights generally take 6 hours plus 5 or 6 hours of
time change from the east coast which means that you either have to leave in the early
morning or evening in order to arrive during the day in Europe.
Out of the hundreds of daily flights crossing the Atlantic, only 9 leave in the morning.
They generally leave between 8 and 11 am eastern then the evening departures leave between
5 and 11 pm.
That means there are only really eight hours per day when you can catch a transatlantic
If you want to connect on the US east coast, all your flights need to be arranged to get
you there in one of those eight hours.
But enough beating around the bush, here's the record to beat held by David Springbett—a
former insurance broker from the UK.
He flew from Los Angeles to London to Bahrein to Singapore, to Bangkok, to Manila, to Tokyo,
to Honolulu, to Los Angeles in 44 hours and 6 minutes, but spoiler alert—you're not
going to beat his record, because he did it in 1980 so he could use this—the Concorde.
The Concorde was known for shuttling passengers from London and Paris to New York in three
hours, but it did have a short-lived route between London and Singapore via Bahrain in
1979 and 80.
That meant David Springbett was able to fly this section of his trip in 8 hours and 40
minutes instead of the 13 hours it takes today non-stop.
So what's the fastest you can fly around the world today?
Well, perhaps 53 hours and 14 minutes.
This record was set on all subsonic flights by two Australians who flew from Sydney to
Los Angeles to London to Bombay to Perth to Melbourne to Sydney, but, I have a better
Let's say you start the very day this video comes out—October 19th, 2017.
You leave London Heathrow on the 11:25 AM Singapore Airlines Flight to Singapore arriving
at 7:30 AM the next morning, then just under two hours later you catch the 9:25 Singapore
Airlines flight to San Francisco.
Even though the flight is 15 hours, thanks to the International Date Line you arrive
just 15 minutes later at 9:40 AM, still on Friday, then you catch the 10:40 United flight
to Houston, connect to the 5:50 pm United flight to Mexico City, then get dragged off
at 8:05 with just enough time to hop onto the 9:40 PM British Airways flight to London.
If all goes well, that gets you back in London after having traveled 23,131 miles—more
than the required distance—at 2:10 PM on Saturday—50 hours and 45 minutes after you
left, beating the current record.
But there's probably a better itinerary than that, but I couldn't find it, so, since
I'm such a fan of free labor, you should go and find it, submit it to halfasinteresting.com/flight
and then, in a week, whoever has the shortest time will get a free t-shirt and year-long
membership to Skillshare, which happens to be the best place to learn whatever you want
to learn.
They have over 17,000 courses about anything and everything.
They even have a course by yours truly about how to make an educational video essay.
If you decide to attempt to break this record, you should definitely sign up for Skillshare
because their iPhone and Android apps let you download any one of their classes offline
so you can learn from anywhere.
The best thing is that you can learn for free for two months by being one of the first 200
people to sign up over at skl.sh/hai3 and then after that it's as low as $10 per month.
Now get out of here.


How Fast Can You Circumnavigate the World on Commercial Flights?

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juuuddddy 2019 年 8 月 27 日 に公開
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