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September 22, 2008 8:59 AM   Subscribe

The AirTraffic Team at zhaw has posted a video depicting global flight activity over a single day to their site: windows media link / quicktime link. that's all.
posted by krautland (30 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
Damn. Look at Europe. Y'all do a lot of flying over there, huh?
posted by billysumday at 9:04 AM on September 22, 2008




Is this the same video?
posted by Plutor at 9:21 AM on September 22, 2008


That's really nifty. Interesting to watch the flight density decrease as it gets dark.
posted by leahwrenn at 9:22 AM on September 22, 2008


Poor, lonely Antarctica is the only continent with NO flyover love.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 9:25 AM on September 22, 2008


That's insane. Jumbo jets burn what 100 gallons a minute? 50? Wiki says "1 gallon per second" for 747, but many planes are smaller and presumably use less. But, takeoff can use 3000 gallons alone.

Let's just assume 50 gal/min in the aggregate. That's 9,000 gallons for a 3 hour flight to Vegas. (Which sounds like a lot, but with 3000 being used just in takeoff, I guess it's certainly possible.)

I use about 15 gallons every 2 weeks in my Mazda.

So, that's 390 gallons per year. Let's round up to 400.

9,000 / 400 = 22.5

So, the airplane that took me to Vegas used more gasoline than I will use driving my car every day for the next 22 and a half years.

Insane.

Yes, I realize that there were 200 people on the airplane with me. That means that we collectively used as much fuel in that one flight as all 200 of us will use in the next year or year and a half.

So in 3 hours we used the fuel that 200 people will use in the next year.

INSANE.

Air travel should cost 4x more than it does. And be 10x as rare.
posted by Ynoxas at 9:35 AM on September 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


That's really damned neat.
posted by cortex at 9:37 AM on September 22, 2008


correction: 200 of us will use in the next month

Still, that's a lot of fuel to use in 3 hours.
posted by Ynoxas at 9:38 AM on September 22, 2008


Ynoxas: your average 747-400 has a typical seating capacity between 416 and 524, not 200. it usually transports its passengers at around 570 mph for up to 7,260 nmi for which it tends to carry up to 63,705 US gal (241,140 L) of kerosene.

in short: your numbers are way off.
posted by krautland at 9:53 AM on September 22, 2008


God, that's beautiful.
posted by mediareport at 9:55 AM on September 22, 2008


Ynoxas: The real question is: how much fuel would it take you to drive to Vegas?
posted by mkb at 9:57 AM on September 22, 2008


Pretty sure the video is not just airline traffic. I haven't spoken German in many years, but from their FAQ it looks like they're aggregating transponder data. Which would mean that any airplane on an instrument flight plan should be on the map. John Q. Pilot flying his Cessna in the clouds will be on the map.

Granted, the US has an overwhelming majority on general aviation traffic, so what you see outside of North America and western Europe is probably pretty exclusively airline traffic.
posted by backseatpilot at 9:59 AM on September 22, 2008


Also, overlaying air traffic with NEXRAD imagery is fun.
posted by backseatpilot at 10:01 AM on September 22, 2008


Ynoxas, a more reasonable metric is is passenger-mile per gallon; modern aircraft are on average are more efficient than an average passenger vehicle. Also, jet aircraft burn kerosene, not gasoline.
posted by theclaw at 10:04 AM on September 22, 2008


Soon, there will be no more of this foolish transport of meat from place to place. The skies will be blue and silent, the air will smell fresh and we'll all be devoured locally, the way the Ancient Ones intended. Ia! Ia! Cthulhu Ftagn!
posted by seanmpuckett at 10:08 AM on September 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


Ynoxas: "Still, that's a lot of fuel to use in 3 hours."

It's also a long distance to travel in three hours. If you had driven the 1500 miles, even your Mazda3 would have burned 51 gallons of gas. If all 200 of you had driven such fuel-efficient cars (unlikely), that'd be more than 10,000 gallons. Flying wins.
posted by Plutor at 10:20 AM on September 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


Fascinating.

I just sit there scrolling back and forth. It's like watching a tiny world go about its business. It's like playing god.... he he [menaces grimly]
posted by Lacking Subtlety at 11:28 AM on September 22, 2008


modern aircraft are on average are more efficient than an average passenger vehicle.

Just that people rarely drive from London to Tokyo as casually as they fly. That's the same logic as proving that a Hummer is more fuel efficient per HP than a Golf: Who cares, bottom line is, it burns more fuel at the end of the day.
posted by uncle harold at 11:30 AM on September 22, 2008


Also, awesome post.
posted by uncle harold at 11:31 AM on September 22, 2008


See, add this to the next release of Pandemic and it might actually be playable.
posted by The Whelk at 11:32 AM on September 22, 2008


Wow, that New York-to-London route is even more heavily traveled than I thought.

Does anyone know what the major route from Europe to South America is? I couldn't tell if the latter destination was Rio or Buenos Aires, or what its northern terminus is.
posted by kittyprecious at 12:16 PM on September 22, 2008


It's really interesting how you can watch the flight cycles change with the day. You can see the wave of overnight transatlantic flights headed for Europe as night falls on the US, then a wave of daytime flights back to the US from Europe.

Similarly, you can see a bunch of red-eye flights from the west to the east in the US in the middle of the night, then rapidly spreading traffic as the sun rises.

You can see other interesting patters across the globe too, Brazil to Europe, Europe to Africa, etc. Very cool. There's so much information encoded in such a simple graphic.

On Preview: I'm apparently not the only person to notice this...
posted by dseaton at 12:20 PM on September 22, 2008


wow. That was unexpectedly amazing. Thanks krautland.
posted by nickyskye at 12:51 PM on September 22, 2008


Phone me when they're using something besides Microsoft™ WMV® or Apple™ Quicktime®.
posted by crapmatic at 7:06 PM on September 22, 2008


crapmatic, the open source VLC media player handles most Quicktime .MOVs just fine. I had no trouble downloading and playing that video on VLC.
posted by sdodd at 9:09 PM on September 22, 2008


a Hummer is more fuel efficient per HP than a Golf: Who cares, bottom line is, it burns more fuel at the end of the day.

a 747 is more efficient per occupant, not per hp. you burn less by flying to tokyo than you would were you using your car to get there.
posted by krautland at 6:06 AM on September 23, 2008


It's also a long distance to travel in three hours. If you had driven the 1500 miles, even your Mazda3 would have burned 51 gallons of gas. If all 200 of you had driven such fuel-efficient cars (unlikely), that'd be more than 10,000 gallons. Flying wins.
posted by Plutor at 12:20 PM on September 22


Yes, if everyone drove seperately. But, put 2 people in a car, and we're down to 5,000 gallons. Put 4 in a car and we're down to 2,500 gallons.

Throw in a few mini-vans and we could probably get to Vegas for under 1750 gallons.

That's not really my point though. My point is simply that's a lot of fucking fuel to burn through in 3 hours moving a few hundred people.
posted by Ynoxas at 11:25 AM on September 23, 2008


But, put 2 people in a car, and we're down to 5,000 gallons. Put 4 in a car and we're down to 2,500 gallons.

I'd be interested in seeing the 2-people-per-car example calculated out just because I am curious as to which would be more efficient (hey, asavage. isn't that a great idea for you?) and would even be willing to leave out all the other impacts such a long trip would have (you have to stay somewhere, eat, etc.) but four plus the luggage that everyone tends to take on such trips sounds unreasonable. three perhaps.

then again - most cars I see on the road are occupied by exactly one person. I'd be so bold and suggest their percentage to be as high as 90%, though I have no evidence to support that as fact.

My point is simply that's a lot of fucking fuel to burn through in 3 hours moving a few hundred people.
yes, but interesting would be to see if it's more or less per person than it would be were this person taking a car. to merely state that it's a lot is meaningless.
posted by krautland at 1:56 PM on September 23, 2008


a Hummer is more fuel efficient per HP than a Golf: Who cares, bottom line is, it burns more fuel at the end of the day.

a 747 is more efficient per occupant, not per hp. you burn less by flying to tokyo than you would were you using your car to get there.


Yes, but quoted out of context... I was comparing the kind of flawed logic in the arguments. The math is right, but the outcome is still wrong:

A Hummer is more efficient per HP, but the point is, it burns a shitload of unnecessary fuel.

A 747 is more efficient per person, but the point was, it burns a shitload of unnecessary fuel. In the sense that a large percentage of the passengers are leisure traveling and wouldn't go by car to Tokyo if the couldn't fly in the first place.
posted by uncle harold at 9:24 AM on September 29, 2008


A Hummer is more efficient per HP, but the point is, it burns a shitload of unnecessary fuel.
correct.

A 747 is more efficient per person, but the point was, it burns a shitload of unnecessary fuel.

you are directly contradicting yourself here. it is more efficient yet burns unnecessary fuel? you seem to forget that people do travel, be it for work or leisure. I don't see a more efficient way to travel this distance per gallon, cost or time.

wishing that we just wouldn't travel is half-hearted. you might as well go all the way then and wish we'd all stop driving cars, building houses, eating foods. heck, you might as well start putting on a tinfoil hat and begin eradicating the problem, which to you seem to be humans.
posted by krautland at 6:04 AM on October 1, 2008


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