flying Ellen Hoffenberg-Serfaty
Flying Over the North Pole

A. We all know that it is possible for ordinary people to make their homes on the equator, although often they may feel uncomfortably hot there.  Millions do it.   But as for the North Pole – we know that it is not only a dangerously cold place, but that people like you and me would find it impossible to live there.  At the present time, only scientists and explorers can do so, and they use special equipment.  Men have been traveling across and around the equator on wheels, on their feet or in ships for thousands of years; but only a few men, with a great difficulty and in very recent times, have ever crossed the ice to the North Pole.

B. It may surprise you to learn, however, that when traveling by air, it is really safer to fly over the North Pole than over the equator.  Of course, this is not true about landings in the polar region (which passenger planes do not make), but flying itself is safer.

C. Why is this true?  First of all, at a height of 5,000 meters above the Pole, the weather is a delight.  At 4,000 meters and more above the earth, you can be sure that you will not see a cloud in the sky as far as the eye can reach.  In the tropics, on the other hand, you are not certain to keep clear of bad weather even at such heights as 18,000 or 20,000 meters.

D. Another reason is that neither airplanes nor clouds can climb as high or as quickly in cold air as in warm.  In practice, this is an advantage to the airplane, which is already at a good height when it reaches the polar region and does not need to climb, while at the same time cold air keeps the clouds low.
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Last updated  2008/09/28 05:18:27 PDTHits  151