Hopping Across the Pond: How Pilots Find Their Way to the USA

The route between London and New York is the busiest in the world, with more than 30 flights a day in each direction. Airlines such as Virgin Atlantic, British Airways, American Airlines, United Airlines, Delta Air Lines and Norwegian fly a variety of aircraft types between the two cities. But how do they find their way between the two? Is it a matter of getting airborne out of London and just flying west?

In my article last week, I explained how pilots navigate from one airport to another. This is all done under the watchful eye of Air Traffic Control (ATC). Using the all-seeing eye of radar, controllers can monitor aircraft as they fly down a series of motorways in the skies. These airways are defined by a combination of navigation beacons and virtual GPS waypoints. These create a network of routes that crisscross the skies above your head, taking the aircraft to their destination.

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