Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University


Global range air navigation implies non-stop flight between any two airports on Earth. Such effort would require airplanes with the operational air range of at least 12,500 NM which is about 40-60% longer than anything existing in commercial air transport today. Air transportation economy requires flying shortest distance, which in the case of spherical Earth are Orthodrome arcs. Rhumb-line navigation has little practical use in long-range flights, but has been presented for historical reasons and for comparison. Database of about 50 major international airports from every corner of the world has been designed and used in testing and route validation. Great Circle routes between many major international airports have been generated and waypoints designed for both GC and rhumb-line routes. Some global-range flights including to polar crossings and/or long flights over open water with not many alternate landing sites available may be ETOPS limited. Additionally, we summarized short-lines navigation theory with particular emphasis on Polar Regions and very short distances elsewhere on the Earth. Working equations and algorithms have been coded into several high-level programming languages, such as, Fortran 90/95/2003/2008, Matlab, and True Basic. Considerable testing of programs have been conducted and compared with the publicly-available geodesic computations over the surface of the terrestrial reference ellipsoid. Distance computations usually were no more than 0.3% in error, while the angles and courses discrepancies were mostly within few angular minutes. Further development will include computations of gliding distances from any altitude under arbitrary winds depending on the type of aircraft and the calculations of PET and PNR for every segment of the route and arbitrary wind conditions.