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Earth's Curvature From Your Airplane Window?

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Post by Admin Wed Jun 29, 2022 6:06 pm

Earth's Curvature Visible from your Airplane Window?

When confronted with the question of the shape of the world, many people are quick to assert that they live on a globe because they believe they have personally seen the curvature of the Earth from their airplane window. Some people even believe when they visit the beach or climb atop a mountain that they are able to see the horizon curve downwards far in the distance. The reality is, however, that anyone thinking they can see curvature on the horizon from any altitude is suffering from a serious case of confirmation bias and cognitive dissonance.

To begin with, the glass used in all commercial airplane passenger windows is actually round, layered and slightly curved which distorts the edges giving the impression that the horizon and other straight lines curve downwards. These rounded windows have the effect of evenly distributing pressure and reducing the likelihood of cracks or breaks because they have no corners for stress to concentrate making them better at withstanding pressure. Unfortunately though, these windows also have the strange side-effect of causing people to believe that the Earth is a globe because they mistake the curvature of the glass for that of the horizon...

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Post by FE_AirlinePilot Sat Aug 13, 2022 6:41 am

Most commercial pilots won't ever see an altitude higher than 45,000' and the horizon is absolutely perfectly flat. Any pilot that says that he saw the "curvature" is full of shit or trying to impress a young lady at the bar. I remember the time I couldn't hold my laugh when a coworker used that one "Ohhh yeah I fly the dreamliner, it goes 10,000' higher than other airliners and at that height you can really see the curvature, trust me". Absolute bullshit. Actually the cockpit windscreen uses a completely different fabrication method that the cabin windows and there is no distortion, especially at your center point of view and especially when using a collimated heads up display. Pilots on landing during the flare have to judge height above runway and on a crosswind for example, have to de-crab the plane during the flare to align it with the runway and this is something that's usually done at 150-160knots and not something you'd want to do in heavy snow through a distorted fisheye glass.

But then again, allege rapist and NASA spokesman Neil Degrass Tyson also admitted that at the height of the Redbull jump and the Virgin Galactic (expensive roller-coaster for billionaires) you wouldn't get high enough to see the so-called curvature ... I guess we can only see it from the 'ISS' live feed Rolling Eyes


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