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Name: Avijit U.
Status: student
Age: 17
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 2000-2001

Dear Sir:

My question is as follows--

The earth takes 12 hours for a half rotation.That is it takes about twelve hours for the westernmost extrmety[say XX] of the world o receive light after the easternmost extremity[say YY].

I also assume it takes more than 36 hours by a plane to get to Tokyo from New York on a normal airliner.

Now if a plane,instead of flying towards YY after taking off form XX,flies opposite to that direction,with the same speed as the earth is rotating in that part of the world{abt .5km/sec.}..will it then,after 12 hours be over YY ??

Still slightly confused about the exact question, but on today's planes it is about 15 hours from NYC to Tokyo, at least it was only 12 hours from Detroit to Beijing the last time I went. As for the 36 hours-do not forget the time difference and the International Date Line-when flying east to west you "gain" time, west to east you "lose" time. All I mean is if you fly east to west and leave at 2pm-such as Europe to New York you would arrive at about 3 PM New York Time. to keep it all relative the journey is the "about" the same time except if you take the jet stream into the equation but anyway again if you left Europe at 2pm it would be 8am in New York-arriving at 3pm in New York (now 9 PM in Europe) would mean the journey took 7 hours. Flying the other way-New York to Europe is roughly about the same time but it feels like you lost time, leaving NYC at 2pm (9pm in Europe) you land in Europe at 4am the next day-meanwhile back in New York it is only 9 PM of the same day you left. Hope this did not confuse you anymore!

Michael Baldwin


A plane flies THROUGH THE AIR. The air rotates with the earth. As a result, it takes close to the same amount of time to fly from Tokyo to New York in either the east or west direction. Specific time depends on wind speed and wind direction along the trip. The plane's airspeed and direction, when combined with the motion of the air over the ground, determines the motion of the plane over the ground.

Dr. Ken Mellendorf
Illinois Central College

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