Why should the plane avoid the Himalayas? After listening to the expert’s explanation, I understand

This paper takes part in the series essay competition of “great science” of Recordunkown.

Human beings have been able to travel around the world freely since they knew nothing about the earth thousands of years ago, relying on more and more fast means of transportation. In ancient times, people’s travel basically depended on walking, and the fast means of transportation were just carriages. Naturally, the areas that such backward means of transportation could explore were also very limited. Therefore, in the eyes of the ancients, the earth was a vast world that could not be seen at a glance.


When mankind entered the era of science and technology hundreds of years ago, with the rapid development of industry, one by one rapid means of transportation appeared. With these means of transportation, we are able to walk more and more widely, especially after the emergence of aircraft, we are able to cross the ocean and quickly reach farther places.

Nowadays, aircraft has become the most common means of transportation for people to travel. According to a statistical data in 2017, there are more than 100000 aircraft flying over the earth every day. If the average flight time is 2 hours, the number of aircraft flying in the air at any time during the day will reach more than 10000.

There are so many planes flying in the air. Because of the high altitude, we can’t feel so many planes passing by when we stand on the ground. So are so many planes able to fly around and cross any air area on earth?


It may be seen by many people that the altitude of the plane has reached more than 10000 meters, which is in the stratosphere. Theoretically speaking, it is a very safe area. Since the plane can fly more than 10000 meters, there should be no problem in any airspace on earth.

Theoretically speaking, any place high above the earth can fly. As long as it reaches the stratosphere, every high-altitude corner can not pose any threat to the aircraft. Theoretically, it is true, but if you carefully observe and study it, you will find that airplanes do not dare to fly in the air everywhere, especially for passenger planes. Considering safety factors, airplanes have to avoid in several places, such as Antarctica and Himalayas.


Antarctica is the southernmost tip of the earth. It’s cold and deserted. It’s understandable that airplanes don’t pass by. But the Himalayas are different, and the surrounding areas are still very densely populated. But to reach such a dense area quickly, it is the shortest route and takes less time to cross from the Himalayas.

But in the actual flight, the plane is to avoid crossing the Himalayas as much as possible. It would rather take a little more time to make a detour than pass over the Himalayas. Why? Is there any dangerous area here? Someone may have heard of the Bermuda Triangle in the Pacific Ocean, where there have been many cases of missing ships and planes in the past half century.

The Bermuda Triangle has become a dangerous and mysterious area, and airplanes dare not easily pass through it when they cross the sea. Some scientists speculate that the marine environment here may be relatively special, which will cause greater interference to electronic equipment, so the mysterious disappearances will appear. So the plane has to avoid the Himalayas, is it because the special environment here will cause interference to the plane?


In fact, the reason why the plane has to avoid the Himalayas is not the special environment here, nor the technical reason for the plane. The main reason is that the East-West span of the Himalayas is too long, reaching 2400km, and its average altitude is more than 6000 meters.

Such a high altitude has a great impact on the aircraft. If it is just a mountain, even if the altitude reaches more than 6000 meters, the aircraft will not be afraid. But the span of Himalayas is too large, thousands of kilometers long and hundreds of kilometers wide, which will pose a great threat to the safety of aircraft. Some people may not understand: what threat does the altitude of the Himalayas pose to aircraft? There are several main reasons.


The first reason is that the space for troubleshooting is too small. As we all know, there will inevitably be some minor faults in the process of flight. When these minor faults occur, it is not easy to deal with them at an altitude of tens of thousands of meters. It needs to descend to a relatively low altitude. For example, if the aircraft needs to depressurize, it needs to descend below 3000 meters to be safe.

But the average altitude of the Himalayas is more than 6000 meters. Where can I find a sky below 3000 meters? In addition, the engine of the aircraft is the core, and this is also the place where small faults are prone to occur. Once the engine fails, to deal with the fault in time, the aircraft also needs to be reduced to more than 3000 meters, where the atmospheric pressure can ensure the normal operation of the engine.

The average altitude of the Himalayas is 6000 meters, which seriously limits the disposal space after the aircraft failure. Therefore, airliners do not dare to cross the Himalayas. They need to avoid it as much as possible. Only fighter planes may pass over the Himalayas when they need to.


The second reason is that there is too little chance of landing in an emergency. When an aircraft, especially an airliner, flies at an altitude of tens of thousands of meters, it is necessary to make an emergency landing for the sake of people’s safety in case of failure. And the landing of the plane is not random, need flat professional runway, generally landing in the nearby airport.

If the situation is really dangerous and there is no airport nearby, we can only use satellite navigation to find a relatively flat place for forced landing. These conditions cannot be met in the Himalayas. We should know that the whole Himalayas area is high mountains, high mountains, almost no flat land, and there are only two decent airports.


If there is any emergency problem during the flight in the Himalayas, it may be fatal for the plane. In plain areas, if an aircraft fails, it is necessary to lower the altitude first, and then try to find a way. However, in the Himalayas, when an aircraft drops 1000 meters from an altitude of 10000 meters, it may fly close to the top of the mountain. What a dangerous thing it is.

The third reason is the problem of turbulence. Due to the less pollution near the Himalayas, the turbulence in the atmosphere is very clear. In this state, the recognition ability of radar will be affected. If the radar has the wrong identification, then the aircraft is easy to directly rush into the turbulence, which will cause turbulence and bring harm to the people on the aircraft.

I believe many friends have encountered this kind of sudden turbulence when they are flying. This is actually the result of air turbulence. According to the report of the Federal Aviation Administration of the United States, air turbulence can be ranked first in non fatal accidents of aircraft, which shows its threat to people. Therefore, in the process of flight, the aircraft needs to avoid the air turbulence area in time according to the radar scanning information.


In addition to the above three main reasons, the aircraft chose to avoid the Himalayas, another reason is the freezing of fuel. You should know that the Himalayas itself is a relatively cold region. If you fly over this region for a long time, the possibility of fuel freezing is very high. Aircraft in the flight process, is to reduce the altitude to avoid the occurrence of this situation. But in the Himalayas, lowering the altitude is a very difficult thing.

Through the analysis of the above reasons, I believe friends also understand why the plane should choose to avoid the Himalayas. Of course, this is not an absolute result. In fact, with the continuous development of human science and technology, the future aircraft will be more advanced and safer. At that time, we don’t need to avoid the Himalayas, but we need to pass over it and enjoy this beautiful landscape.


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