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fly boy316/03/2014 12:09:55
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3535 forum posts
18 photos

Hi all just been told of this aircraft tracking web site, Great, Can any one explain the following "track 290 degrees" I think it may be a silly question, but hey, have to ask. Cheers

Gavin Livsey16/03/2014 12:19:47
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113 forum posts

FB3, the track is the direction of travel, or rather the compass bearing.

John Privett16/03/2014 13:43:26
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5988 forum posts
239 photos

Exactly as Gavin says, so in your example the plane would be travelling approximately in a WNW direction. Now don't ask whether that would be the magnetic compass bearing or the actual - I suspect the latter...

Paul Jefferies16/03/2014 14:22:42
254 forum posts
39 photos

Track is the direction of travel OVER THE GROUND which, if there is any wind, may not be the same as the aircraft's Heading, which is the direction in which the nose is pointing.  The difference between Heading and Track is called DRIFT and is caused by the wind coming from one side or the other.

Paul

Edited By Paul Jefferies on 16/03/2014 14:26:17

fly boy316/03/2014 21:26:17
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3535 forum posts
18 photos

Thanks all, knew it would have a simple answer, So an aircraft heading eg 270 degrees, would be on the same track as a plane on 90 degrees but heading in opposite directions ? Cheers

C Norton16/03/2014 22:14:45
170 forum posts

Yup! Assuming they were near each other and so affected by any wind in the same way.... And that they were equally affected by that wind..... etc

Andrew Ray17/03/2014 01:58:23
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719 forum posts
19 photos
Posted by C Norton on 16/03/2014 22:14:45:

Yup! Assuming they were near each other and so affected by any wind in the same way.... And that they were equally affected by that wind..... etc

Not quite. An aircraft would have drift applied into the wind, so one heading 270 with 10 degrees drift due to wind from the north would be making good a track of 260 while an aircraft heading 090 would be making good a track of 100, i.e. track over the ground. That is also assuming they are travelling at the same speed, for example, an aircraft travelling at 240 knots will have half the drift of one travelling at 120 knots.

As has already been said, don't confuse track with heading, heading is the compass direction, track is the path over the ground, very different. One degree difference in one hour at the cruise speed of an airliner is about 8 miles but as airliners are flying to waypoints or on headings adjustments are constantly being made.

Edited By Andrew Ray on 17/03/2014 02:01:33

C Norton17/03/2014 08:11:32
170 forum posts

Errrrrm, isn't that what I said? Perhaps I was being slightly pedantic but aircraft on reciprocal headings but 100 miles apart may very well be on different tracks as the wind may be quite different at those locations. As for the airspeed element.... "Assuming they were both equally affected by that wind"......

Andrew Price 217/03/2014 12:42:50
815 forum posts

Hi FB3. You are probably already aware of all this, but, boring is my middle name!!

When you have highlighted an a/c click on the small pic on the left. Up will come a full screen version of that pic, with options of other pics. Scroll down to find a box headed "Airline & Aircraft" Look for and click on "(Airframe info)". Up will come loads of, sometimes surprising, history and info will appear. Some of this is very interesting with some of the airframes almost as old as me!! Been around more than me also! Andy.

Andrew Ray17/03/2014 14:11:34
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719 forum posts
19 photos
Posted by C Norton on 17/03/2014 08:11:32:

Errrrrm, isn't that what I said? Perhaps I was being slightly pedantic but aircraft on reciprocal headings but 100 miles apart may very well be on different tracks as the wind may be quite different at those locations. As for the airspeed element.... "Assuming they were both equally affected by that wind"......

Hmm, not quite, at least it doesn't read that way.

C Norton17/03/2014 14:58:32
170 forum posts

We shall have to agree to disagree then, in the nicest possible way of course!

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