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Drifting Above the Planet

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You may have seen those scary maps of the United States that show thousands of aircraft over the country at any given time. Check out this page for a series of quicktime movies of flight pattern visualizations — a must for map lovers or stats addicts. They're part of a larger project called Celestial Mechanics. This was presented in 2006, so it's not new, but it's new to me.

This visualization, set to music, is particularly tranquil and hypnotic. If only that could be said for real air travel.

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  1. I don't understand why it should be scary....it's a beautifully choreographed dance. The dance is the product of thousands of people on the ground and in the air working together....and can be even more appreciated when you have flown "in the system."

    Listen to liveatc.net or United's channel 9 sometime to get a feel for what is going on behind the scenes.

    Posted by: anon_pilot | Nov 8, 2007 4:49:37 PM


  2. Andy,
    Yeah. It's scary if by "scary" you mean wonderful and beautiful. The pollution is sad - perhaps that's what you mean?

    Posted by: Marc | Nov 8, 2007 5:07:34 PM


  3. very beautiful Andy, thanks

    Posted by: Richie | Nov 8, 2007 5:12:23 PM


  4. wow, very cool.
    I love the one with music

    Posted by: gabriel | Nov 8, 2007 5:16:00 PM


  5. I'm with Andy. Freakin scary. Especially when you have to circle a major airport forever in the fog or clouds and you know there are 800 other planes all around you doing the same thing.

    Posted by: Jeff | Nov 8, 2007 6:44:45 PM


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